The Union Budget 2014 has many aspects which would promote education in the country: Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
The Minister feels that:
- The focus of the Budget has been on education and skill development. In particular, the Plan Budget of Higher Education has been considerably increased in 2014-15. In the School Education and Literacy sector also, the increase has been substantial. Overall, the Budget of the Ministry of HRD (Plan & Non-Plan), of both the Departments of Higher Education and Department of School Education & Literacy taken together, will witness an increase of 12.3 per cent from Rs. 74,621 crores in RE 2013-14 to Rs. 83,771 crores.
- The Budget has specially focused on education of girl child which is one of the major priorities of this Government.
- The Budget highlights the resolve to provide the residual one lakh girls toilets and drinking water facilities in schools which will benefit 100 lakh girls in the first phase. This would enable girls to not only enrol in schools but also stay in schools. When girls get the needed sanitation facilities in schools, they would demand similar facilities at home, leading to a cleaner India.
- The Beti Bacho Beti Padhao scheme announced in the budget would not only improve the adverse sex ratio but also ensure that girls are educated.
- The Budget has emphasised on gender mainstreaming. The school curriculum will have a separate chapter on gender mainstreaming. This will sensitise students, teachers and the community at large to be more sensitive to the needs of girl child and women and will promote growth of a more harmonious society. This will benefit all girls in the country.
- Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya's Teacher Training Programme has been provided Rs.500 crore in the budget. This would enable the Government to better train students who aspire to become teachers in our professional colleges. This will improve the quality of teachers that we would produce and will ultimately lead to improvement in learning outcomes of the students in our school system. This will benefit nearly 20,000 teacher trainees studying in Teacher Education Institutions.
- The Budget provides for madarsa modernisation. An additional amount of Rs.100 crore has been provided for this. The madarsa modernisation would enable 10 lakh Muslim children to get education of national standards which is certified through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). This would enable Muslim students to progress to higher education or vocational education depending on their choice.
- The Budget provides for Rs.30 crore for School Assessment Programme. The assessment of the quality of schools through various parameters, such as levels of student learning outcomes, quality of teaching by teachers etc., and public display of such school performance would enable parents to make a more informed choice about schools. This will ultimately benefit all children, parents and stakeholders.
- The Budget has announced support to States to set up 15 braille presses. This would allow publishing of Braille books that would help our visually challenged students.
- The Budget provides for Rs.28635 crore for SSA and Rs.4966 crore for RMSA. This would strengthen the elementary and secondary school infrastructure in the country and will improve access and quality of education across the school sector and will benefit nearly 23 crore children in schools.
- The announcement of 5 IITs, 5 IIMs and the National Centre for Himalayan Studies in Uttarakhand in the Budget speech is a welcome step. The new IITs would come up in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. The new IIMs would be established in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra and Odisha. A provision of Rs. 500 crores has been made for the new IITs and IIMs in the Budget.
- Setting up virtual classrooms and Massive Open Online Courses are planned for which a provision of Rs.100 crore has made in the Budget. A national e-library will also be created which will be a repository for all educational resources.
- The Budget proposes the setting up of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash National Centre for Excellence in Humanities to be set up in Madhya Pradesh– a first of its kind initiative.
The Minister was of the view that the budgetary announcements reflected the developmental strategy of the Government and its mandate of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas".
MC/DS – BUDGET HRD SECTOR