The education sector today received a 17 per cent jump with an allocation Rs. 65,867 crore for 2013-14 fiscal, but HRD Minister M.M. Pallam Raju termed it as a “little” increase and said he would be asking for more to meet the goals.
He said that with the RTE deadline coming to an end on March 31 for fulfilling all provisions, States would be asking for more the central share and the Government has to be prepared for that.
“I think there has been little bit of increase. But the important factor is that the deadline for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act is coming up and subsequent to that, there will be a lot of demand from the States for Central share of money and I think that is what we should be prepared for,” Mr. Raju told reporters outside Parliament, reacting to the Budget.
Most of the States are reportedly yet to fulfil the RTE provisions. Schools face the prospects of being derecognised in the event of not meeting the norms.
Noting that capacity-building in secondary education and higher secondary education is also imperative, Mr. Raju said, “We will definitely be asking for more money” for that.
In his Budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said as education is the other high priority for the Government, “I propose to allocate Rs. 65,867 crore to HRD Ministry, which is an increase of 17 per cent over the revised estimate of the previous year.
“The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the RTE are firmly in place. I propose to provide Rs. 27,258 crore for SSA,” he said.
The plan expenditure for Department of School Education has been kept at Rs. 49,659 crore while the plan expenditure for Department of Higher Education has been put at Rs. 16,198 crore.
In 2012-13, the school education department had got Rs. 45,969, which was scaled down to Rs. 42,729 in the revised estimate. Similarly, the higher education department had got Rs. 15,438, but it was also cut down to Rs. 13,479 in the revised estimate.
The Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan programme, which aims at universalisation of secondary education, has got Rs. 3983 crore for 2013-14, an increase of Rs. 25.6 per cent over the revised estimate.
The mid-day meal programme has been allotted Rs. 13,215 crore.