“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
The Indian government introduced the ‘New Education Policy’ focusing on a 5+3+3+4 structure at school level education, more seats in IITs and IIMs, more universities by the year 2030 etc. in its 2014 manifesto since the current one is nearly 30 years old. In its first term, even after setting up a panel to prepare the policy and after 4 deadline extensions, the policy was not made. Now in its second term, the policy is still a work in progress and struggles for funds.
The HRD (Human Resource Development) minister had stated in December last year that funds for the policy would be estimated after the finalisation of the policy, but that might have to wait now.
As per a report by The Print, our government is “likely to cut the school education budget for 2019-20 by Rs 3,000 crore’’. The move will be taken into consideration to handle the country’s ‘funds crunch’. The report also added that the HRD Ministry’s official spokesperson had dismissed such rumours but a few senior-level ministers concurred.
The budget of the HRD ministry has increased over the last few years, but so have the revised estimates; the amount that the ministry spends in a particular year has increased as well. Thus, despite an allocation of INR 56,536 crores for school education budget in the year 2019, a deduction of INR 3,000 crores finance department will be detrimental to the ministry. At a time when teachers need to be paid, New Education Policy requires funds, Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas need money and Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, a scheme for holistic and equitable approach to education requires funds, a deduction of any kind will not be good for the sector. No report regarding the deduction has been announced by either of the departments yet.
This step by the government was highly criticized by many people. After this report surfaced, netizens reacted with comments like - an educated society might cause inconvenience to the government, why does the government deduct funds from education when it has ample funds to build statues, etc.
In the past six years, the HRD has seen a rotation of 3 ministers which makes the current government highly controversial and fragile ministry.
Human Resource Development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank after his appointment had said that his department is the backbone of the country. But currently, he struggles to claim the funds for his department.
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