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HRD ministry gets a setback on allocation for education

The HRD ministry's demand for 139 per cent increase in allocation for education has been rejected by the Govt, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2007 15:25 IST

The HRD ministry's demand for 139 per cent increase in allocation for education has been rejected by the government and instead, only 30 per cent increase has been envisaged.

For the first year of the 11th plan, 2006-07, the Planning Commission has decided to increase the allocation for education by only 30.2 per cent by increasing the overall budget from Rs 20,735 crore to Rs 27,099 crore.

But, the government's flagship programme Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, now being rechristened as National Siksha Abhiyan, will lose about Rs 3,200 crore --- from Rs 11,000 crore the allocation is being reduced to Rs 8,800 crore. "It is because the government has decided to reduce Centre's share from 75 per cent to 50 per cent as it is essential to create room for secondary education," a commission official explained.

The HRD ministry's proposal for higher allocation for SSA and the midday meal scheme has not found favour with the commission. The commission officials, however, say that the reduction in allocation in SSA is being compensated through increase in allocation for the states by about 25 per cent.

The change in thinking to improve funding for secondary education is visible in the plan document for 2007-08 as allocation for secondary education has been increased to Rs 4,719 crore from current Rs 1067 crores, an increase of about 341 per cent, higher for any of the education sectors.

Reduction in allocation for SSA would, however, mean increased allocation for higher education and for implementation of Moily committee recommendations on the implementation of 27 per cent reservation for OBCs. Higher education is expected to get Rs 6,354 crore in 2007-08 as against Rs 2,550 crore in the financial year 2006-07. This amount includes money for more opening new technical education institutes including IITs and IIMs. The ministry had planned three IITs in Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

The government will also provide special allocation for further affirmative action through merit scholarship schemes for which a special fund of Rs 120 crores is being given to the HRD ministry. The commission has proposed a mean test for giving scholarship to all educationally backward classes including Muslims, OBCs and girl child.

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First Published: Jan 16, 2007 15:25 IST