Education gets 24 percent hike (Lead)

February 28th, 2011 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) Calling education as the tool of empowerment to reap the benefit of India’s demographic dividend of a young population, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday announced a hike of 24 percent in the budget allocation for education. “For education, I propose an allocation of Rs.52,057 crore, with an increase of 24 percent over the current year,” Mukherjee said while presenting the budget for 2011-12.

“Our demographic dividend, a relatively younger population compared to developed countries, is as much of an opportunity as it is a challenge. Over 70 percent of India will be of working age by 2025. In this context universalising access to secondary education, increasing percentage of our scholars in higher education and providing skills training is necessary,” he said.

The total allocation to school education has increased to Rs.38,957 crore while higher education has been allocated Rs.13,103 crore.

The allocation for implementing the right to education law has been hiked by 40 percent.

“The operational norms of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan have been revised to implement the right of children to free and compulsory education which came into force from April 1, 2010. For the year 2011-12, I propose to allocate Rs.21,000 crore which is 40 percent higher than Rs.15,000 crore allocated in budget 2010-11,” he said.

The mid-day meal scheme has got Rs.10,380 crore, including Rs.1.038 crore for the northeast. The finance minister also said that vocationalisaton of secondary education will be implemented from 2011-12 as a centrally-sponsored scheme to improve employability of youth.

Describing education as a means of empowerment, the minister announced a scheme for scholarship for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students in Class 9 and 10.

“Empowerment flows from education. While the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students have access to post-matric (Class 10) scholarship, there was so far a lack of pre-matric scholarship scheme.

“In 2011-12, I propose to introduce a scholarship scheme for needy students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes studying in Class 9 and 10. This would benefit about 40 lakh students,” the minister said.

Talking about the proposed National Knowledge Network, which aims at connecting 1,500 institutes of higher learning and research across the country through optical fibre, Mukherjee said 190 institutes will be connected by March this year while the rest will be brought into the network by March 2012.

The minister also informed that the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) was on course to achieve its mandate of creating 15 crore skilled workforce two years ahead of 2022, the target year.

“It has already sanctioned 26 projects with a total funding of Rs.658 crore. These projects alone are expected to create more than four crore skilled workforce over the next 10 years.

“In the current year, skill training has so far been provided to 20,000 persons. Of these, 75 percent have found placements. I will provide an additional Rs.500 crore to the National Skill Development Fund during the next year,” he said.

The finance minister announced grants of Rs.50 crore each for Aligarh Muslim University’s upcoming campuses at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in Kerala and Rs.100 crore as a one-time grant to Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

Also, Rs.10 crore each were allocated for setting up the Kolkata and Allahabad centres of the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya based in Maharashtra’s Wardha.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will get Rs.200 crore as a one-time grant.

The minister also sanctioned Rs.20 crore to the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata for setting up a financial research and training laboratory and Rs.200 crore for the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.

The Delhi School of Economics and Madras School of Economics have also been allotted Rs.10 crore each.

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