In a bid to give school education and the expansion of higher education a boost, the government is expected to reduce the plan budget allocation for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) by around 29 per cent in fiscal 2009-10.
The government is likely to allocate Rs 850 crore to the seven existing IITs — in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Roorkee, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Kanpur — as against Rs 1,171 crore allocated this financial year. A Planning Commission official, who requested anonymity, however, explained “there is no reduction in regular plan funds” and the proposed cut is on account of reduction in the allocation for implementation of 27 per cent OBC quota.
The quota is being implemented in the IITs in three phases, starting 2008, with the Oversight Committee — tasked with preparing a roadmap for the implementation — recommending an additional grant of Rs 3,334 crore for the premier institutes. “Last year, Rs 771 crore was given to implement the recommendations of the committee. For next year, we have proposed to allocate Rs 400-450 crore,” he said.
The IIT directors said it would be difficult to examine the impact of the fund reduction till they have all the details. “It would be difficult for me to comment unless I see it in fine print,” said IIT Delhi director Dr Surender Prasad. “The reduction will impact our development but it can be gauged only after we know under what sectors the grant is being reduced,” said Dr S.C. Saxena, director, IIT Roorkee.
“We have to build hostels, classrooms and infrastructure facilities for additional intake of students. If the plan allocation is reduced, these projects may get hit,” said an IIT director who didn’t want to be named.
The idea behind the cut is to sustain government funding for school education, which saw huge growth with enrolment under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan crossing 95 per cent in 2007-08. To sustain this, school education is expected to get Rs 26,800 crore the next fiscal, the same as this fiscal. Funds for higher education would also be increased to initiate projects to set up 16 new central universities.