The Centre on Friday allocated Rs 400 crore for setting up world-class education institutes and announced ‘Study in India’ programme that will aim at attracting foreign students to the country. Presenting the first Budget of the NDA government in its second term, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will bring in a new national education policy to transform India’s higher education system to one of the best in the world.
The policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education, improve governance and gives more focus on research and innovation, for which a National Research Foundation (NRF) would be set up to coordinate and promote research in the country, she said.
“NRF will ensure that the overall research ecosystem in the country is strengthened with focus on identified thrust areas relevant to our national priorities and towards basic science without duplication of effort and expenditure,” the minister explained.
The funds available with all ministries will be integrated in NRF and would be adequately supplemented with additional funds, she said. Sitharaman said to build “world-class institutions” in the field of education, Rs 400 crore has been allocated for the 2019-20 fiscal, which is over three times the revised estimates for the previous year.
The finance minister also announced the ‘Study in India’ programme that will focus on attracting foreign students to the country’s higher education institutes.
A draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be presented in the year ahead, she said, adding, “This will help to comprehensively reform the regulatory system of higher education to promote greater autonomy and focus on better academic outcomes.”
The minister also said the Khelo India Scheme, aimed at reviving sports culture in India at the grass-root level, will be expanded to provide all necessary financial support.
Also, a National Sports Education Board for Development of Sportspersons would be set up under the Khelo India Scheme to popularise sports at all levels.
Sitharaman highlighted that three institutes—two IITs and IISc Bangalore—are in the top 2,000 institutions in world university rankings, which, she claimed, was not there five years back.
This has been achieved due to concerted efforts by the institutions to boost their standards and also project their credentials better, she said.