Budget 2018 Reinforces Scheme Of Replacing Grants By Loans And Graded Autonomy: DUTA

The Budget Speech of the Finance Minister reinforces scheme of replacing grants by loans and Graded Autonomy, claimed Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA).

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Budget 2018 Reinforces Scheme Of Replacing Grants By Loans And Graded Autonomy: DUTA

Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley presented his government's last Budget today


New Delhi:  The Budget Speech of the Finance Minister reinforces scheme of replacing grants by loans and Graded Autonomy, claimed Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA). Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley presented his government's last full Budget today and said education will be treated in a holistic manner from pre-nursery to Class 12. 

Presenting the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament today, the Finance Minister expressed the Government's resolve to increase the digital intensity in education.

The Teachers association, while commenting on Budget 2018's education announcements, said it ignores huge infrastructural deficit and increased student-intake accompanied by lack of teachers. 

DUTA criticised Mr Jaitley's announcement of RISE (Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022), which is to be funded through HEFA. 

"That means", DUTA said, "that infrastructural needs of the institutions of higher learning will have to be met through loans, which, in turn, requires educational institutions to commercialise their activities toward revenue generation in order to raise revenue to repay loans". 

DUTA claimed the introduction of RISE and HEFA will shift the burden of sustaining public funded higher education on parents and students, increasing their expenditure towards education. 

The association alleged that the "NITI Aayog Three Years action agenda" is being put in place by the Budget 2018 announcements. 

"What NITI Aayog does explicitly, the budget speech does implicity: it assumes that adequacy of inputs is irrelevant for quality and that what matters is outcome measurement and outcome based rewards and penalty," said a statement from the teacher's body. 

By commercialising education, DUTA said, "access to quality higher education will be crippled and standards as well as content of education will take a hit. Determination of quality and content of higher education by the market will undermine the character of higher education, independent thinking and democracy". 

It also said there is all round decline in allocation to higher education (UGC specifically, also for IITs, IIMs, NITs, etc.) accompanied by huge allocation of 2750 crores (last budget 250 crore) to HEFA and 250 crores to Institutes of Eminence, though the statement claimed, there is only a marginal increase in the fund allocation of Rashtriya Uchatar Shikcha Abhiyan (RUSA), which funds higher education in the states' sector.

Read: Digital Classrooms, Teacher Training: Educators Respond To Union Budget 2018

Contrary to the claims made in the Budget speech, the teachers association argued that, the budget allocation to higher education reflects lack of commitment to public funded education in the country and disregard for the aspirations of the youth. "It will entail continuing neglect of the pitiable state of most of education institutions save those which are commercially viable," the statement said.

Read: Union Budget 2018 Education Sector Highlights

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