The major schemes announced by govt focus on higher education, including reforms in University Grants Commission
Despite the Finance Minister in his Budget speech laying importance on "empowerment of youth through education", the allocation to the education sector remains at a stagnant 3.7 per cent of the total budget.
Also, there is no significant announcement for school education this year as the government is shifting its focus towards higher education. The major schemes that the government has announced also focus on higher education including reforms in University Grants Commission.
As per the budget analysis report of Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), in 2017-18, Ministry of Human Resource Development has been allocated Rs 79,686 crore, 58 per cent of which is for Department of School Education and Literacy and 42 per cent for Department of Higher Education.
While the allocation for school education has been more as compared to higher education, an analysis of budget allocated to these two departments over the years shows a clear sign of re-prioritisation towards higher education.
For school education, this year, the National Education Mission (NEM) has received an additional allocation of Rs 1,226 crore from 2016-17, primarily on account of an increase in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) budget by Rs 1,000 crore.
"Many of the promises made in the 2016-17 for the education sector do not get substantial resource support in this budget. The promises for setting up of 62 'Navodaya Vidyalaya' in uncovered districts has been supported only by an additional allocation of Rs 229 crore," the CBGA report says.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), received Rs 23,500 crore in 2017-18. As compared to last year's allocation, there has been an increase of Rs 1,000 crore.
CBGA's analysis however says that this increase is insufficient to address the gaps in resource requirement in financing Right To Education (RTE). For the last six years, the allocation of Union Government for SSA acutely falls short of the central share approved by Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) based on the annual work plan and budgets prepared by the districts and submitted to the Ministry by the States.
When it comes to higher education, the budget allocation has increased by 15.6 per cent as compared to last year.
"This increase in allocation is on the account of higher budgetary provision for technical education over general education. The cabinet has approved the IIM Bill, 2017 and IIMS are declared as institution of national importance," the analysis says.
Higher education budget has also increased on account of IITs, where Rs 2,500 crore increase has been increased as compared to the last year.