The education sector today got a hike of about 18 per cent in the budgetary allocation for the next fiscal with a plan outlay of 61,427 crore in which 22 per cent increase has been announced for the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
Rs 15458 crore has been earmarked for higher education while school education has received Rs 45969 crore.
Hailing the Budget as a “road to empowerment”,HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said “in a difficult year like this,it is commendable that the Finance Minister has continued to invest in education”.
The Finance Minister also announced a 29 per cent increase for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Both the RMSA and SSA programmes are aimed at increasing enrolment levels in schools.
The budget for Department of school education and literacy has seen a hike of nearly 18 per cent to Rs 45,969 crore from Rs 38,957 crore.
The Finance Minister also announced 11937 crore for the flagship mid day meal programme in schools,a rise of about 11 per cent from last year’s outlay of Rs 10380 crore.
In an indication of the government’s enhanced focus for the education sector for the 12th Plan Period,the Finance Minister also announced 6000 model schools which would be set up at the block level to benchmark excellence. Of these,2500 will be set up under PPP mode.
Focusing on the skill development issue,the Finance Minister proposed to set up a separate credit guarantee fund to improve flow of institutional credit for skill development.
He also announced an allocation of Rs 1000 crore to the National Skill Development Fund to give further push to the initiatives of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which has approved 26 new skill development projects.
The NSDC partners have opened 496 permanent and 2429 skill mobile centres in 220 districts across 24 states. More than 89,500 persons have been trained and almost 80 per cent employed,he said.
He said a new scheme titled “himayat” introduced in Jammu and Kashmir last year aims to provide skill training to one lakh youth in the next five years and the entire cost of this programme is being borne by the government.