Observing that education is the key to reaping the benefits of the
demographic dividend in the form of a young population, Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday announced a 24 percent hike in
the budget allocation for education. He also announced more funds
for Maulana Azad Education Foundation and Aligarh Muslim
University (AMU) off campus centers in West Bengal and Kerala.
"For education, I propose an allocation of Rs.52,057 crore, with
an increase of 24 percent over the current year," Mukherjee
informed the Lok Sabha while presenting the budget.
"Our demographic dividend, a relatively younger population
compared to developed countries, is as much of an opportunity as
it is a challenge. Over 70 percent of India will be of working age
by 2025. In this context universalising access to secondary
education, increasing percentage of our scholars in higher
education and providing skills training is necessary," he said.
The allocation for Right to Education was meanwhile hiked by 40
"The operational norms of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan have been revised
to implement the right of children to free and compulsory
education which came into force from April 1, 2010. For the year
2011-12, I propose to allocate Rs.21,000 crore which is 40 percent
higher than Rs.15,000 crore allocated in Budget 2010-11," he said.
The finance minister announced
grants of Rs.50 crore each for Aligarh Muslim University's
upcoming campuses at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in
Kerala along with Rs.100 crore as a one-time grant to Kerala
Veterinary Animal Science University.
The minister also sanctioned Rs.20
crore to the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata for setting
up a financial research and training laboratory and Rs.200 crore
for the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
Also, Rs.10 crore each was allocated for setting up the Kolkata
and Allahabad centres of the Wardha-based Mahatma Gandhi
Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will get Rs.200
crore as a one-time grant.
The Delhi School of Economics and Madras School of Economics have
also been allotted Rs.10 crore each.
The finance minister also said that vocationalisaton of secondary
education will be implemented from 2011-12 as a centrally
sponsored scheme to improve employability of youth.
The minister also announced a scheme for scholarship for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes students in classes 9 and 10.
"Empowerment flows from education. While the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes students have access to post-matric scholarship,
there was so far a lack of pre-matric scholarship scheme.
"In 2011-12, I propose to introduce a scholarship scheme for needy
students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
studying in class 9th and 10th. This would benefit about 40 lakh
students," the minister said.
Mukherjee also said that the proposed National Knowledge Network,
which aims at connecting 1,500 institutes of higher learning and
research across the country will connect 190 institutes by March
this year while the rest will be brought into the network by March
The minister also informed that the National Skill Development
Council (NSDC) is well on course to achieve its mandate of
creating 15 crore skilled workforce two years ahead of 2022, the
stipulated target year.
"It has already sanctioned 26 projects with a total funding of
Rs.658 crore. These projects alone are expected to create more
than four crore skilled workforce over the next ten years.
"In the current year, skill training has so far been provided to
20,000 persons. Of these, 75 percent have found placements. I will
provide an additional Rs.500 crore to the National Skill
Development Fund during the next year," he said.