Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday hiked the budget funding for education by 24% but significantly snipped the increase requested by the human resource development (HRD) ministry for the implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE).
He has also hiked the funding for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), but by 40% and not 100% as had been requested by the HRD ministry for the implementation of the landmark law, which is in its second year now.
The SSA is the vehicle for the implementation of the RTE Act.
The HRD ministry is officially maintaining that it is happy with the 24% hike - from Rs 42,042 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 52,057 crore this year.
"I am happy with the allocation made to the education sector," HRD minister Kapil Sibal said.
This hike, however, is higher than the average social sector fund hike of 17%.
But officials conceded that the 40% hike in SSA funding - from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 21,000 crore, as opposed to Rs 30,000 crore sought by the ministry - would mean that the government will need to reassess and possibly scale down its plans for this year.
School education has received Rs 38,957 crore as plan funding, which makes for a nearly 25.5% increase over last year's. It also includes significant boost to the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), aimed at universalising secondary education.
Plan allocations for higher education have been increased from Rs 10,996 crore to Rs 13,100 crore this year, mostly for institutions in key poll-bound states.
These include a massive Rs 200 crore grant for the IIT-Kharagpur on its 60th anniversary, and special grants for the IIM-Calcutta and Aligarh Muslim University centres in Murshidabad (West Bengal) and Mallapuram (Kerala).
Mukherjee has announced special grants for the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Pookode (Kerala), and for the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu).