Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has allocated Rs. 61,427 crore for education in his budget — 18% more than last year’s Rs. 52,057 crore.
Of this, Rs. 45,969 crore has been earmarked for school education and literacy while R15,458 crore has been allocated for higher education.
HRD minister Kapil Sibal told HT: “It is commendable that the finance minister has continued to invest in education in a difficult year like this. This is the surest road to empowerment.”
The allocation to implement the Right To Education (RTE) Act for children between 6 and 14 years was hiked by 21.7%.
“The RTE Act is being implemented with effect from April 1, 2010 through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and we propose to increase the allocation to R25,555 crore,” Mukherjee told Lok Sabha.
Lauding the role of mid-day meals in enhancing enrolment, retention, attendance and improving the nutrition levels among children, the minister said the budget for the scheme was being hiked from Rs. 10,380 crore to Rs. 11,937 crore — an increase of 15%.
Underlining the pivotal role played by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan in improving secondary education, Mukherjee said R3,124 crore had been allocated for it — nearly 29% higher than last year.
Stressing on the need to set up model schools at block levels, he said in the 12th Plan, there was a proposal to build 6,000 such schools. “Of these, 2,500 will be set up under Public Private Partnership,” he said.
To improve the flow of credit to deserving students, a credit guarantee fund would also be set up, he added.