India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has emphasised on the need to strengthen the higher education sector by attracting more foreign students. In her maiden budget speech, she said that Modi’s new government has set the ball rolling, aiming to turn India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025.
Outlining her plans, she said the government will draft a National Education Policy, to bring the higher education at par to the international standards. She said the government will also focus on improving skills of youngsters in emerging fields including Big Data, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Finance Minister also stressed on upgrading the quality of teaching in the country, adding that GYAN would bring a global talent pool of researchers and scientists to India. She also announced that the government plans to make India a hub of higher education, proposing ‘Study in India’ plan to bring more foreign students to country.
The allocation for the education sector in the Budget was Rs 1,000 crore, more than the funds that were provided in the Interim Budget. According to the Revised Estimates (RE) for 2018-19, almost Rs 83,626 crore was spent on education, however it was given Rs 11,000 crore more in the new Budget.
Of the Rs 94,854 crore, Rs 38,317 crore was given to the higher education department while Rs 400 crore would be expended on the establishment of new institutions in the country. The Indian government also plans to set up a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) which will regulate the education sector and will replace the University Grants Commission.
The Budget also proposed to align all research projects under the banner of National Research Foundation (NRF). Also to provide quality sports education, the finance minister proposed to establish National Sports Education Board, under the Khelo India scheme.
In Budget, support to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) was the highest in the last three financial years, at Rs 1,671 crore. The Budget also allocated Rs 56,536 crore for the Department of School Education and Literacy.