Mumbai: With the Centre allocating nearly Rs. 1.13 lakh crore to the school and higher education sector in the annual Union Budget 2023 compared to 1.04 lakh crore in 2022-23, some of the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have not received any funding in the current fiscal year, according to budget estimates released by the government.
Though Sitharaman emphasised initiatives such as the National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents, which will be set up for facilitating the availability of quality books across languages, geographies, genres, and levels, and devising agnostic accessibility, it has drawn a blank on expenditure in Budget 2023-24. While the programme, which is part of the Digital India e-learning initiative, received an amount of Rs. 4.88 crores in 2021-22, no funds have been provided in the subsequent years.
PMKVY 4.0 yet to see numbers next to it
The Modi government’s launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 4.0 has also missed out on any funding in Budget 2023-24 compared to a whopping Rs. 1,611 crores in 2022-23. The project aims to cover new-age courses for industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and other soft skills. Launched in 2015, PMKVY 4.0 will focus on training students within the next three years in the concerned areas.
However, the plunge in PMKVY has been offset by a large allocation to the Skill India programme, which has attracted an estimated Rs. 2278. 37 crores in revenue. Moreover, revenue for the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) in Budget 2023 stood at Rs. 440 crores which is double the funding PMKVY’s National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) received in 2022.
Eklavya Model schools biggest gainers in Education Budget 2023
On the other hand, Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS), which bear the responsibility of imparting education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) children in remote areas, have turned out to be the biggest winners as they have received an estimated Rs. 5943 crores in revenue compared to Rs. 2000 crore in 2022-23.
“The Centre will recruit 38,800 teachers and support staff for 740 schools, serving 3.5 lakh tribal students in Eklavya Model Residential Schools, over the next three years,” Sitharaman stated in the parliament.
The budget also included a couple of other measures for education in the form of teachers’ training, which could be reformed through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, continuous professional development, dipstick surveys, and ICT implementation; five-year research grant for the indigenous production of lab-grown diamonds in IITs; 100 labs in engineering institutions in collaboration with various authorities, regulators, banks, and other businesses to develop applications utilising 5G services.
The last full budget of Modi government 2.0, before the next parliamentary elections in 2024, was also Sitharaman’s fifth time presenting it with the speech being her shortest in history. The total duration of the speech was 1 hour and 27 minutes.
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