The government has announced a mega budget for the education sector with an outlay of 3.3 per cent of the total budget. A budget of Rs 38,572 crore has been announced for the National Education Mission which comprises the centrally sponsored schemes for primary, secondary and senior secondary education. This allocation for education sector in Union Budget 2019 is Rs 5959 crore more than what had been proposed in the last budget.
The government has allocated Rs 93,848 crore ~ 3.3 per cent of the total budget expenditure ~ for the education sector, over Rs 10,000 crore hike from the revised estimate of Rs 83,626 crore last year. This is one of the highest allocations for education so far. Piyush Goyal in his budget speech said that this is double the amount that was allocated in 2014. “The total expenditure for education will be 1.25 lakh crore which is the highest ever,” said HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Most part of this entire allocation is for school education for students from pre-primary to class 12. This amount is meant to be allocated for schemes which include Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan ~ formed by the merger of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan last year ~ and teacher training.
The 2018 budget aimed to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions and proposed to launch a major initiative named ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’ with a total investment of Rs 1,00,000 crore in the next four years. Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA), set up by the HRD Ministry, was supposed to provide this funds.
Despite the government’s repeated claim on its stress on improving higher education, the allocation for HEFA has been reduced from Rs 2,750 crore last year to Rs 2,100 crore this year. HEFA, though, had approved proposals of Rs 24430.25 crore last year.