In a Surprise Move, Education Ministry's Budget Hiked by 5%

The revised estimates also showed that the ministry utilised 100% of its last budget allocation.

Jaipur: India’s education sector has been allocated Rs 99,312 crore in Budget 2020, a 5% increase from last year, according to official documents released on Saturday afternoon.

What is more interesting, and perhaps even curious, is that the revised estimate (RE) for FY’20 stood at Rs 94,854 crore, which is exactly the same figure compared to the fiscal year’s budget estimate. This implies that the ministry spent exactly the whole amount allocated to the sector by the government in July 2019’s budget.

The 5% increase is also surprising, considering that media reports had indicated that the ministry would see its budget slashed by Rs 3,000 crore.

However, when it came to the centrally-sponsored National Mid Day Meals in schools, the Union government could spend only Rs 9,912 crore in the year 2019-20 against the allocated Rs 11,000 crore. For the year 2020-21, Rs 11,000 crore has been set aside for this scheme.

In the National Education Mission scheme too, the government spent Rs 37,672 crore, as against Rs 38,547 crore allocated last year. For 2020-21, the government has allocated a slight increase of Rs 39,161 crore.

Also read: Budget 2020: How did Nirmala Sitharman Manage to Rein in Fiscal Deficit at Only 3.8%?

The National Education Mission includes Saakshar Bharat programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teachers’ training.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced the introduction of ‘Ind-SAT’, an exam for Asian and African countries’ students to help make India a higher education destination. “It shall be used for benchmarking foreign candidates who receive scholarship for studying in Indian higher education centres,” she said in her budget speech.

The government also proposed to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital on public-private-partnership mode. It further asked states to provide land for the same at a concession to receive viability gap funding.

For deprived sections, the government proposed a degree level full-fledged online education programme, to be offered only by institutions who are ranked within the top 100 in the national institutional ranking framework, mentioning further limitations.

In other announcements in the education sector, the government said that about 150 higher educational institutions will start apprenticeship embedded courses, one-year internship opportunities to fresh engineering graduates with urban local bodies and special bridge courses for teachers, nurses and para-medical staff, designed by ministry of health and skill development, to improve skill sets of those seeking employment abroad will also be launched. It also proposed a national mission on quantum technologies and applications with an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore. However, it didn’t list any details.

Sitharaman said that the Centre would announce a new education policy, but did not provide any more details.