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Oppn targets Govt over cuts in education budget, minister says no decrease

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, “There has been no decrease. As a matter of fact in some sectors, such as higher education, there has actually been an increase of over Rs 6,000 crore.”

Written by Harikishan Sharma , Deeptiman Tiwary , Esha Roy | New Delhi |
March 17, 2021 3:54:55 am
Ramesh Pokhriyal, education news, IIT news, iit gandhinagar news, education newsRamesh Pokhriyal Nishank

EXPRESSING CONCERNS over the cut in education budget, the Opposition targeted the government on Tuesday, saying the Ministry of Education needs more resources than it has been provided in the Demands for Grants for 2021-22.

However, replying to the remarks made by Opposition MPs, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, “There has been no decrease. As a matter of fact in some sectors, such as higher education, there has actually been an increase of over Rs 6,000 crore.”

Pokhriyal said that Rs 47 crore had also been kept aside for the setting up of institutes that will teach professional courses such as engineering and medicine in Indian languages and the establishment of the National Research Foundation was well underway.

Opening the discussion on the demands for grants under the Ministry of Education for 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the government has not allocated adequate money to implement the New Education Policy. “The Education Ministry needs more resources than are provided for in the Demands for Grants before us,” he said.

Addressing Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, he said: “You have done your job but the money the Finance Ministry has provided is not enough to fulfill your dreams.”

“At a time when the ministry is seeking to roll out the serious and broad policy framework, that would be the cornerstone of sweeping change in our education system, it is indispensable that there be adequate budgetary allocation to facilitate the smooth implementation of the policy,” Tharoor said.

“The budget has been characterised by a bizarre series of cuts to the overall budget of the Ministry of Education. Instead of allocations commensurate with the soaring ambitions of the National Education Policy, we have shocking and evident disconnect between the targets outlined in the NEP and the financial support being offered by the Honorable Finance Minister,” said Tharoor.

Tharoor also questioned the government’s proposal to set up 100 Sainik schools. “I challenge the government to fulfill this announcement by providing adequate funding to rescue the existing Sainik Schools that are in distress and then to establish even just 10 new Sainik Schools without renaming any of the Navodaya Vidyalayas,” he said.

Countering the charges, BJP member Sanjay Jaiswal said Tharoor himself had been a minister but he did not tell what was the allocation for education during the UPA government and what is the allocation now. On Tharoor’s observation that money has not been allocated for opening of 100 new Sainik Schools, he said, “Please read the budget carefully. The responsibility to open the Sainik Schools is not of the Education Minister. It is the responsibility of the Defence Minister.”

Jaiswal described the budget as a major direction in making India Vishwa Guru by 2047. “The education budget and the New Education Policy are the major steps towards making India the Vishwa Guru by 2047,” he said.

Attacking the Congress for not changing the old education policy, Jaiswal said the only changes they made – in 1986 – were aimed at excluding the study of Sanskrit as well as works of several Hindi writers. If India has to become the Vishwa Guru, it can move forward only by study of its languages and knowledge of its writers and poets, Jaiswal said.

YSRCP member Chinta Anuradha and Shiv Sena’s Arvind Ganpat Sawant raised the issue of digital divide. Sawant said not many students have laptops and smartphones, and even if these are given, where is the network and electricity. NCP’s Faizal P P Mohammed said nearly 70 per cent of population does not have Internet connectivity.

JD(U) MP Dulal Chandra Goswami appreciated the government’s efforts in handling of education during the coronavirus pandemic.

AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi accused the government of imposing its ideology on education and not doing enough for the education of minorities.

“Why have you left out Jamia Milia Islamia, one of the finest universities in the country, from the list of eminent institutions? It shows your bias. I strongly object to the homogeneity being pushed by the government through NEP. It does not talk about uplift of Urdu,” he said. “You have introduced Ramayana and Gita in NIOS curriculum. I have no problem. But why have you not included Quran, Bible and Gurugranth Sahib. Also, I ask, by teaching Ramayana and Gita, are you not violating of Article 28 of the Constitution. You want to impose your ideology.”

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