Very good news to the education sector of the country. Observing that education is the key to reaping the benefits of the demographic dividend in the form of a young population, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced a 24 percent hike 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. 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." Mukherjee informed the Lok Sabha while presenting the budget.
The allocation for Right to Education was meanwhile hiked by 40 percent. 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. The minister also announced a scheme for scholarship for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students in classes 9 and 10. This would benefit about 40 lakh students.
Mukherjee also said that the proposed National Knowledge Network, which aims at connecting 1,500 institutes of higher learning and research across the country will connect 190 institutes 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) is well on course to achieve its mandate of creating 15 crore skilled workforce two years ahead of 2022, the stipulated target year.
Among other allocations in the education sector, 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 Animal Science University.
Also, Rs.10 crore each was allocated for setting up the Kolkata and Allahabad centres of the Wardha-based Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya. 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.