Budget 2019: Sitharaman announces 400 Cr for World Class Institutions; 94,853.64 for education

Abhay Anand | 5th Jul, 2019 - 2:48 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, JULY 05: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting her maiden Union Budget in the Parliament has announced an amount of Rs. 400 crore to create “World Class Institutions” in the field of education. Sitharaman said that the proposed fund is more than three times the revised estimates for the previous year.

The Government has allocated a total of Rs 94853.64 crore for both the schools and higher educational institutions, which is 10,000 crore more than the 2018-19 Budget. Last year, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 85,010 crore for the education sector.

The Government has allocated Rs. 56,536.63 for Schools education and Rs. 38,317.01 crore for higher education.

In the first Budget of the Modi Govt 2.0, the Finance Minister assured that the Government will also bring in a New National Education Policy (NEP) to transform India’s higher education system to one of the global best education systems. The new Policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education among others, better Governance systems and brings greater focus on research and innovation.

National Research Foundation

To achieve the objectives of research and innovation, the Finance Minister also announced setting up of a National Research Foundation (NRF) to fund, coordinate and promote research in the country. NRF will ensure that the overall research eco-system in the country is strengthened with focus on identified thrust areas relevant to our national priorities and towards basic science without duplication of effort and expenditure, the Minister explained. The funds available with all Ministries will be integrated into NRF and would be adequately supplemented with additional funds.

Dr. Yajulu Medury, Director, Mahindra Ecole Centrale, Hyderabad said, “We welcome the budget and look forward to the continued focus on ensuring that we reap the demographic dividend. The FM has rightly focused on the youth of the country and education is the tool for development. The commitment to bringing in the new education policy and make sweeping changes in how education is imparted with the focus on learning outcomes will play a big role in bettering the education level. The focus on research and innovation and the setting up of a National Research Foundation with access to research funds from all Government schemes will help fund and promote research in the country. Bringing in legislation for finally setting up the Higher Education Commission of India is a step in the right direction. With all the sweeping changes in the education system, I will not be surprised to see the roaring success of the proposed Study in India programme.”

Study in India

Nirmala Sitharaman also announced the programme ‘Study in India’, that will focus on bringing foreign students to study in our higher educational institutions. The Finance Minister disclosed that draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be presented in the year ahead. This will help to comprehensively reform the regulatory system of higher education to promote greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes.

Dr Rupamanjari Ghosh, Vice-Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University said, “The various initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2019 for education augur a definite transformation for the sector and will play a pivotal role in nation building. We are enthused by the Government’s focus on establishing India as a ‘Hub for Higher Education.’ The creation of the National Research Foundation to create world-class multidisciplinary institutions with strong research capacity is also very welcome. It will need more investment & sustainable partnerships though. We are already participating in the ‘Study in India’ initiative. The roll-out of the New National Education Policy (NEP) shows that the government is serious about transforming education, and the focus on skill-building - which has to reside within the formal higher education sector - highlighted in the budget will also go a long way in increasing employability and improving livelihoods.”

Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services said, “creating a ‘Study in India’ program will help create awareness and open new avenues in the education sector. However, to emerge as a leading academic nation globally, we need to ensure the availability of relevant infrastructure, quality training programs, advanced research, upgraded technological intervention and trained teaching staff at both scale and geographical spread.”

National Sports Education Board

Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Khelo India Scheme will be expanded to provide all necessary financial support and a National Sports Education Board for Development of Sportspersons would be set up under Khelo India Scheme to popularize sports at all levels.

“The announcement of promoting greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes by setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is also a welcome Initiative. Education is a much broader concept and should lead to all round development of a student, hence the importance of sports can never be ignored, setting up of a National Sports Education Board for Development of Sportspersons under Khelo India Scheme is a welcome step,” Achin Bhattacharyya, Founder & Ceo, Notebook.

Highlighting the recent achievements, Nirmala Sitharaman said that while there was not a single Indian institution in the top 200 in the world university rankings five years back, there are three institutions now – two IITs and IISc Bangalore – in the top 200 bracket. This has been achieved due to concerted efforts by the institutions to boost their standards and also project their credentials better.

Giving further details, the Finance Minister said that Massive online open courses through the SWAYAM initiative have helped bridge the digital divide for the disadvantaged section of the student community. To up-grade the quality of teaching, the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) programme in higher education was started, aimed at tapping the global pool of scientists and researchers, she explained. The IMPRINT or IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology scheme began as a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in selected domains needed by the country. It is because of this that Higher Educational Institutions are now becoming the centres of innovation, the Minister said.

Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, Vice Chancellor, SRM University, AP-Amaravati commenting on the Union Budget 2019 said, “We welcome this year’s budget and its focus on research, innovation, technology-enabled teaching, and transformation of Indian higher education to global best practices. Allocation of Rs. 400 crore is also a welcome initiative. It will enable Indian institutions to build truly international student bodies, launching a new generation of graduates to cement India's leadership position on the internationals stage. We look forward to support Government’s initiative and provide impetus to higher education in India.”

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