Govt cuts funds for higher education, IITs worst hit

  • Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 15, 2015 00:28 IST

The government has reduced funds for higher education to the tune of Rs 3,900 crore in its revised budget estimates for the financial year 2014-15. The government has revised the figure to Rs 13,000 crore, as against Rs 16,900 crore for the plan allocation.

The revision, say officials, will hit the eight new IITs that were scheduled to move to their permanent campuses this academic year. The government has reduced the Rs 2,500 crore originally allocated to the 16 IITs for the year 2014-15, to Rs 2,337 crore, initiating a cut of Rs 163 crore.

“The reduction of 163 crore will affect the new IITs as the HRD ministry will not be able to disburse the funds for the final phase of construction of their new campuses,” an official said.

The eight IITs announced by the UPA government during 2008-12 were operating out of temporary campuses and six of these (except IIT Ropar and Jodhpur) were to move to their permanent campuses by July this year.

Additionally, the IITs will have to bear the burden of Rs 150 crore due to the recent hike in junior and senior research fellowships which have been increased from Rs 16,000 to Rs 25,000 (JRF) and Rs 18,000 to Rs 28,000 respectively.

The government has also initiated budget cuts for the five IITs and five IIMs announced in last budget session of the Parliament. Out of Rs 500 crore allocated for these, the government will now disburse only Rs 65 crore.

Funds for new initiatives including have also been cut. While the government has revised the allocation for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from Rs 100 crore to Rs 5 crore, the allocation for the Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers Training has been revised to Rs 15 crore as against the original Rs 100 crore.

The government has also revised allocation for Rashtriya Uchcha Siksha Abhiyan — which seeks to improve overall quality of higher education in the country — to Rs 397 crore as against Rs 2,200 crore in the original budget.

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