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Analysis On The Union Budget 2018-2019: Education

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Education is a priority area for the government this year. The Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley has allocated 85,010crores to the education sector for the year starting from April 1. The Budget allocation for 2018-19 is, however less than 4% higher than the revised budget estimate for the current year. The low hike in the education outlay was hinted at in the economic survey presented last month. The Union Budget focused on two key areas of education namely, Integration and Fiscal Accountability. This year’s Union Budget aims at treating education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to class12. This may mean that the government is working to integrate the school education sector –from pre-school to class12 -implying the merger of several school schemes in the future.

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Mr. Jaitley announced a new scheme called Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education or RISE. Higher education financing agency (HEFA) was restructured and was functioning as a non-banking financial company (NBFC) for the last two months. The higher education financing agency will be financing the new scheme namely Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education. HEFA aims to lend low cost funds to government higher educational institutions.

In the 2017-2018 Union Budget HEFA was allocated with 250crore but this year HEFA is allocated with 2750crore. This year’s union budget has an increase in funds for HEFA as the government is planning to expand HEFA which will put in place a system where higher educational institutions will be borrowing dedicated organization instead of depending on grant money for each of their expense. The HRD ministry is working on a plan to integrate several flagship school schemes ,including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) , Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and teacher education. In the school sector SSA has been allocated a budget of 26,128crore up from 23,500crore in the previous budget. Similarly, RMSA is allocated with a budget of 4213crore ,up by 200crore from previous budget. The Union budget also talks about setting up of a chain of special schools for tribal students.

To increase the number of educated tribal children Mr. Jaitley announced setting up of Eklavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalays to provide best quality education to tribal children in their own environment by 2022 in every block more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal person with special facilities for preserving local art and culture. The government is also going to launch “Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)” scheme this year. Under this,1000 best B-Tech students will be identified each year from premier institutions and provide them facilities to for Ph.D in IITs and in IISc.

With the help of the union budget, the government has focused on the fundamental need of education in India. The budget rightly focuses on movement form traditional blackboards to digital boards which offer enhanced learning experience to students. The promotion of digital platforms and use of technology in the education sector will increase reach and ensure superior outcomes.

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