Budget 2014: Jaitley loosens the purse strings to boost education

July 10, 2014

New delhi :During his campaign, Narendra Modi had constantly spoken about the need to improve education facilities in the country and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today set aside a considerable amount of funds to boost education in the country.

Yesterday's Economic Survey stressed on the need to address qualitative issues in the education sector, apart from just increasing expenditure. A shocking statistic that came out of the survey was that the Indian performance in mean years of schooling (4.4 years) is even below that of Bangladesh and Pakistan which have lower per capita incomes.

The Finance Minister said primary education is a major priority for the Modi government and that steps would be taken to provide basic school infrastructure facilities.

However, the budget also targeted higher educational institutions, proposing to set up multiple IITs and IIMs across India.

Here are the various education measures proposed by Finance Minister Jaitley:

-The government will strive to provide toilets and drinking water in all the girlsschool in first phase.

- Rs 28,635 crore has been allocated to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme, the government's program to achieve universal elementary education.

- Rs 4,966 crore has been set aside for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan program, aimed at improving the access to and quality of secondary education.

- Rs 30 crore has been allocated to a school assessment programme.

- The Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme has been introduced to infuse new training tools and motivate teachers. An initial sum of Rs 500 crore has been allocated to this scheme.

- Continuing with the Modi government's theme of becoming IT-friendly, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for setting up virtual classrooms as Communication Linked Interface for Cultivating Knowledge (CLICK) and online courses.

- Jaitley also proposed to increase the number of centres of higher learning and allocated Rs 500 crore for the same. Among the new institutions are a Narayan National Centre for Excellence in Humanities in Madhya Pradesh, five more IITs in the Jammu, Chattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and five new IIMs in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra.

- The Budget also proposed to ease and simplify norms to facilitate education loans for higher studies.

- As regards the education cess, this continues to remain at 3 percent.

- A National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools, training in IT skills has been proposed.Rs 500 crore has been set aside for this purpose.

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