The Amarinder Singh government on Monday proposed an estimated expenditure of Rs 12,236 crore on education (school and higher education combined) and Rs 547 crore for technical education, as per the budget presented by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal at Vidhan Sabha Monday.
Compared to 2017-18 budget when the focus was on school education and government schools, this year thrust has been on higher education with budgetary allocations for 10 new degree colleges across the state.
Also, fifteen new Industrial Training Centres (ITIs) have been announced under technical education category for which Rs 15 crore has been proposed. The places where these new ITIs will come up include Raikot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Amargarh and Tarn Taran. The existing ITI Ropar will be turned into Model ITI, said Badal.
The proposed expenditure of Rs 12,236 crore on school and higher education (colleges and universities) is around 7.7 per cent of the total total proposed expenditure of the state which is pegged at Rs 1.58 lakh crore for 2019-20.
The government has claimed that budget for school and higher education has been increased by 9.75 per cent compared to last year. As per figures provided by the office of Finance Minister Manpreet Badal to The Indian Express, the allocation for education was Rs 11,149 crore in 2018-19 which has been increased to Rs 12,236 crore and amounts to 9.75 per cent increase.
Unchanged from last year, a six per cent increase has been announced in annual allocation for universities in the state (including Panjab University, Chandigarh).
Further, Punjabi University, Patiala which has been grappling with financial crisis since the past few years, has again been given an additional grant of Rs 50 crore, as last year. An additional grant of Rs 7 crore for GNDU has been announced. No new scheme has been announced for school education, but an amount of Rs 75 crore has been proposed for upgrading school infrastructure.
Under school education, Manpreet Badal claimed that 2,387 government schools have turned English medium and with a plan to make 2,010 more schools English medium in this session. A sum of Rs 750 crore has been announced for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (Elementary) and Rs 323 crore for Samagra Shiksha (Secondary) — the new schemes of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) which will now subsume Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), vocational education and other schemes.The total sum proposed for Samagra Shiksha is Rs 1,073 crore. A sum of Rs 25 crore has been proposed for smart government schools. ‘Padho Punjab’ programme will continue to run, said Manpreet Badal, but without specifying budgetary allocation for it.
Under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), ten new degree colleges have been proposed at Bhucho, Baluana, Dharamkot, Chhabewal, Dasuya, Samrala, Nabha, Mohali, Malout and Khem Karan for Rs 50 crore.
For 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Rs 10 crore has been announced for Bebe Nanki Girls College and Sultanpur Lodhi. An open university will be established at Patiala for which Rs 5 crore have been proposed.
New polytechnic colleges will be also established in districts where none exist. For skill development of SC/STs, women and persons with disabilities, a new centre of excellence has been proposed for Rs 11.87 crore. The minister also said that four laboratories will be established at Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda to improve ‘communication skills’ of youths with help from British Council.
Dr B S Ghuman, vice-chancellor Punjabi University, Patiala said that additional grant of Rs 50 crore this year too, has come as a breather. “We are not doing any new recruitment due to financial issues,” he said.
Other important announcements for the education sector:
A new residential school up to 12th standard for special children (with speech or hearing disabilities) will be set up at Ludhiana for which Rs 15 crore has been proposed.
Rs 15 crore has also been allocated to establish a Training College for ‘Special Needs Educators’ to create a pool of teachers for special children.
Badal reiterated that girls in government schools will get free sanitary napkins as announced in last budget. The scheme, however, is yet to take off.
21,000 smart classrooms with projectors and e-content in government schools. E-content for pre-primary classes in government schools.
Rs 5 crore for new building of government senior secondary school for girls at Malerkotla.
Proposal to set up Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Chair, Satguru Ram Singh Chair and Sant Baba Prem Singh Ji Murale Wale Chair at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar with funding later in the year.