Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed a 12.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in the FY20 allocation for school education to Rs 56,536.63 crore in Budget 2019. On the higher education front, the same has risen 14.3 percent to Rs 38,317.01 crore.
This is a substantial increase from last year, when the allocation for school education was upped by 6.2 percent, and that for higher education was increased by 0.4 percent.
Figures from the expenditure budget documents for 2019-20 showed that areas like research and innovation and and teacher salaries have been given a fillip through additional allocation of funds.
In the area of school education, the National Education Mission saw an 18.2 percent rise in allocation to Rs 36,447.4 crore.
National Education Mission, also called Samagra Shiksha, consists of schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (elementary education), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (secondary education) and teachers training, adult education.
As per the expenditure budget documents, there has been a 10.5 percent increase in allocation for the mid-day meal scheme in schools to Rs 11,000 crore in FY20. This scheme provides free and nutritious meals to under-privileged students.
In the area of higher education, there was a whopping 326.3 percent YoY increase in the allocation for the improvement in salary scale of university and college teachers. The funding allocation has been hiked to Rs 2,000 crore in FY20 budget estimate compared to the Rs 469.18 crore in the revised estimate 2018-19.
Similarly, higher education institutes like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have seen a 12.2 percent hike and a 20 percent hike in funding respectively.
During her budget speech, the Finance Minister said the government will bring in a new National Education Policy to transform India’s higher education system to one of the global best education systems.
She added that the new policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education among others, better governance systems and brings greater focus on research and innovation.
In tune with this announcement, the allocation for research and innovation has been increased by 150 percent to Rs 608.87 crore in FY20.
The government has also proposed to establish a National Research Foundation (NRF) to fund, coordinate and promote research in the country. NRF will assimilate the research grants being given by various ministries independent of each other.