Higher Education Budget 2023 Highlights: Outlay rises by 8% to Rs 44, 094 Cr; IIMs face steep cut

Education Budget 2023: IIMs have had their funds halved; budgets for central universities, IITs, NITs, IISERS and IIITs have risen.


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Budget Speech 2023: FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced the launch of new-age course coding, AI, IoT, mechatronics, drones and other soft skills. (Picture: PTI)Budget Speech 2023: FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced the launch of new-age course coding, AI, IoT, mechatronics, drones and other soft skills. (Picture: PTI)

R. Radhika | February 1, 2023 | 02:25 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced an outlay of Rs 44, 094.62 crore for the higher education sector, with an increase of Rs 3,266.27 crore—an 8% hike from current year’s budget estimates.

Overall, the education sector has been allotted Rs 1,12,899.47 for the next financial year - an increase of 8.27 percent from the current year’s Rs 1,04,277.72 crores.

In the Union Budget 2023, allocations towards interest subsidy, contribution for guarantee funds and scholarship for college and university students have dropped to zero from Rs 1,400 crore and Rs 252.85 crore, estimates for the current year, respectively.

Similarly, Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir have also slashed to nil from Rs 225 crore in the current year. The “student financial aid” schemes are now under the umbrella scheme Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Protsahan (PM-USP) Yojana which has been allocated Rs 1,554 crore in Union Budget 2023.

Also Read | Union Budget 2023 Live Updates

Higher Education Budget 2023: Skills education

Financial Year

2020-21 (in Rs Cr)

2021-22 (in Rs Cr)

2022-23 (in Rs Cr)

2023-24 (in Rs Cr)

Total Budget


93, 224.31



Higher Education Department





Presenting her fifth budget speech, Sitharaman also announced the launch of new-age courses for industry 4.0 like coding, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, mechatronics, drones and other soft skills. The minister said that 30 Skill India International Centres will be set up across states.

To reduce imports and encourage indigenous production, the centre will also provide research and development grants for a period of five years to one of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). In addition, the minister announced the creation of 500 labs for 5G in engineering institutes across India. The government will also set up 157 new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014, the minister announced on Wednesday.

Education Budget 2023 Analysis: Research funding cuts

Among the various research schemes funded by the centre, Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) in budget allocation this year saw an allocation of Rs 50 crore, down from Rs 74 crore in the current budget.

Budget for the research scheme IMPRINT, a pan-IIT and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) joint research initiative, has been further reduced to Rs 5 crore from Rs 10 crore this year. Meanwhile, the Scheme for Transformational and Advanced Research in Sciences, or STARS saw no change in the budget allocation with Rs 25 crore.

The Multidisciplinary Education and Research Improvement in Technical Education (MERITE) scheme saw a significant increase with Rs 100 crore in budget allocation, up from Rs 2 crore in the current financial year. In August 2022, the centre released a draft framework for MERITE which is set to run for five years, from 2022-2023 to 2027-28 and will be co-financed by the World Bank and ministry of education.

Education Budget Estimates: Research schemes

Name of the scheme

2020-21(in Rs Cr)

2021-22 (in Rs Cr)

2022-23(in Rs Cr)

2023-24 (in Rs Cr.)





















Also Read| Union Budget 2022: Several scholarship, fellowships schemes for marginalised students face cuts

Budget 2023: IITs, IIMs, IISc, NIT

The Central Universities will receive Rs 2,108.9 crore more in the upcoming year as the budget rises to Rs 11,528.90 crore. However, Rs 276.34 crore of this budget is for repaying infrastructure loans from the Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA).

The lending scheme has been allocated nothing for the upcoming year after facing massive cuts for consecutive years. The 2020-2021 actual budget shows an allocation of Rs 200 crore, however, the budget estimate for the lending scheme dropped to Rs 1 crore in the next budget. This amount was further reduced to just Rs 1 lakh in the current financial year.

Also Read| Centre released less than half of HEFA loans sanctioned to institutions

The IITs have been allocated Rs 9,661.50 crore, an increase of Rs 1,166.5 crore over the 2022-23 budget estimates. The budget is also higher than the revised estimates. The centre has allocated Rs 4,820.60 crore to the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), an increase of Rs 456.6 crore.

The budget for Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) has dropped drastically, from Rs 653.92 crore to Rs 300 crore in next year's budget. The oldest IIMs, including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta are largely financially autonomous institutions. Of the total budget allocation to IIMs, Rs 284.83 crore has been earmarked for the repayment of HEFA loans. The revision in budget allocation indicates declining support of the government in running the IIMs.

Also Read| IIM Rohtak fees ‘exorbitant’; institute violates not-for-profit motive: CAG report

The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) has been allocated Rs 1,462 crore and India’s top research institute IISc has been allotted Rs 815.40 crore in the upcoming financial year.

Allocation to the higher education regulatory body, University Grants Commission, has also increased by almost Rs 400 crores with Rs 5360 allocated in Budget 2023.

Name of the Institution

2020-21(in Rs Cr)

2021-22 (in Rs Cr)

2022-23(in Rs Cr)

2023-24 (in Rs Cr)





















Central Universities





Higher Education Budget 2023 : RUSA, digital e-learning

The centre has also reduced the budget for the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) by almost Rs 500 crore with Rs 1,500 crore allocated down from the current budget of Rs 2,042.95. In 2021-22, the budget estimate allocation was drastically reduced from Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 793 crore at the revised estimates stage. RUSA, a centrally sponsored scheme, aims to improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions.

Also Read| Education ministry spent only 8.3% of budget estimate for RUSA in 2021-22

Budget for the centre's ambitious Digital India-e-learning scheme saw a marginal decrease of Rs 1 crore with Rs 420 allocated in the 2023 Union Budget. The scheme is meant for setting up virtual classrooms and launching massive open online courses (MOOCs) and, PM eVidya which did not receive any funds in this budget. The PM e-Vidya scheme was allocated only Rs 1 lakh in the current financial year. Another new scheme, the New National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) has been allocated Rs 440 crore in the upcoming year.

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