Union Budget 2021 for college education for the upcoming fiscal year dropped to Rs 54,873.66 crore, rock bottom in two years. Last year the budget allocated to the Department of faculty Education and Literacy was Rs 59,845 crores. This drop happened despite the huge reform project the central government announced under the National Education Policy 2020, cleared by the Union Cabinet in July.

The cuts come after the revised estimates for 2020-21, the year COVID-19 impacted schooling severely, dropped sharply from the budget estimates.

The country’s biggest school education scheme, the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, saw funds reduced to Rs 31,050.16 crore from 38,750.50 crore last year. Funds for the National Scheme for Incentive to women for education shrivelled to Rs 1 crore from Rs 110 crore last year.

The National Education Policy 2020 had proposed a gender inclusion fund to market girls education.

Activists saw the choice to chop funds for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan a move to inaugurate privatization.

Ambarish Rai, national convenor of RTE Forum, said: “If you check out the budget allocation for this year, why is that the allocation for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan but the particular budget spent for an equivalent scheme in 2019-20. albeit the govenrment claims that there are not any funds thanks to COVID-19 how can the estimated budget be but what it actually spent in 2019-20.”

“If the allocation for SSA is so small then where will the govt find money to spend on strengthening 15,000 schools for the National Education Policy 2020. this is often a highly disappointing budget that only helps to inaugurate privatization,” Rai said.

However, funds for the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas saw a rise . Kendriya Vidyalayas get Rs 6,800 crore for the fiscal year and Navodaya Vidyalayas saw a rise of Rs 500 crores to require funds earmarked for it to Rs 3,800 crores for the year.

The minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman also announced that 15,000 schools are going to be strengthened consistent with the National Education Policy 2020. The Budget 2021 also allocated funds for 750 Eklavya Model Residential Schools in tribal areas and 100 Sainik schools.

The Ministry of Education’s Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS), which involves partial funding from the planet Bank, is allocated Rs 485 crore, under the Umbrella Programme for Development of Minortiies.

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