New Delhi: In a boost to higher learning with a stress on "world class" centres of learning, India Thursday earmarked Rs.27,656 crore (Rs.276.56 billion) for higher education, an increase of almost 13 percent over 2013.
For the year 2014-2015, the government allocated Rs.27,656 crore to the department of higher education under the human resource development (HRD) ministry compared to Rs.24,485 crore in 2013-14, registering an increase of 12.9 percent.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, presenting the budget for 2014-15, said the country needed a large number of "world class" centres of higher learning.
"I propose to set up the Jai Prakash Narayan National Centre for Excellence in Humanities in Madhya Pradesh," he added.
The allocation for the department of school education and literacy saw an increase of 9.93 percent over 2013-14. The government has set aside Rs.55,115.1 crore for the department for 2014-15.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani in a statement said the focus of the budget has been on education and skill development.
"In particular, the plan budget on higher education has been considerably increased in 2014-15. In the school education and literacy sector also, the increase has been substantial," she said.
The government allocated Rs.28,635 crore for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which aims to achieve universilisation of elementary education in a time-bound manner, and Rs.4,966 crore for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). The RMSA is aimed to enhance access to secondary education.
"This (the allocation to SSA and RMSA) would strengthen the elementary and secondary school infrastructure in the country and will improve access and quality of education across the school sector and will benefit nearly 23 crore children in schools," Irani said.
"To infuse new training tools and motivate teachers, the 'Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme' is being launched. I am setting aside an initial sum of Rs.500 crore for this," Jaitley announced.
The government also announced the setting up of five new IITs and IIMs.
While the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were proposed to be set up in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) would be set up in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra.
The government further announced that a school assessment programme was being initiated at a cost of Rs.30 crore. (IANS)