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The Finance Minister said, this year's Budget will particularly focus on strengthening agriculture and rural economy, provision of good health care to economically less privileged, taking care of senior citizens, infrastructure creation and working with the States to provide more resources for improving the quality of education in the country.
The Finance Minister said that estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18.
Ekalavya Model Residential School
Mr. Jaitley announced setting up of Ekalavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment by 2022 in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons with special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE)
To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions, a major initiative named "Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022" with a total investment of Rs.1,00,000 crore in next four years was announced.
Read: Union Budget 2018 Education Sector Highlights: Eklavya Schools, Medical Colleges, Prime Minister Fellowships Announced
A survey of more than 20 lakh children has been conducted to assess the status on the ground, which will help in devising a district-wise strategy for improving quality of education.
To improve the quality of teachers an integrated B.Ed. programme for teachers will be initiated.
Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF)
Mr Jaitley said, the Government would launch the "Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF)" Scheme this year. Under this, 1,000 best B.Tech students will be identified each year from premier institutions and provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship.
Allocation on National Social Assistance Programme this year has been kept at Rs. 9975 crore.
In order to take care of the education and health care needs of Below Poverty Line (BPL) and rural families, The Budget proposes to increase the cess on personal income tax and corporation tax to 4 percent from the present 3 percent. The new cess will be called the "Health and Education Cess" and is expected to lead to a collection of an estimated additional amount of Rs. 11,000 crore.
The Finance Minister announced that his Ministry will leverage the India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) to help finance infrastructure projects including investment in education and health infrastructure.
Referring to the initiative of setting up Institutes of Eminence, Mr Jaitley said in his Budget 2018 address that more than 100 applications have been received.
"We have also taken steps to set up a specialized Railways University at Vadodara", the Finance Minister said.
He added that 18 new Schools of Planning & Architecture (SPAs) will also be established in IITs and NITs as autonomous schools.
Budget allocation for education
The allocation for education during 2018-19 is increased by 6.68 per cent from last year to Rs 85,000 crore but its share has shrunk in relation to the total outlay.
The total budget allocation for education -- higher and school education -- was an increase from last year's Rs 79,685 crore. However, the education sector was accorded 3.48 per cent of the total budgetary allocation for the fiscal, against last year's 3.71 per cent.
School education was allocated Rs 50,000 crore up from last year's Rs 46,356 crore. This section comprises Centrally-sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Mid Day Meal.
For the higher education, the amount allocated was Rs 35,010 crore, increasing from last year's Rs 33,330 crore.
A major funding spike was witnessed in the fund set aside for the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA), which was accorded Rs 2,750 crore, up from Rs 250 crore previous year.
The government cut down slightly on the budget for the Indian Institutes of Technology to Rs 6,326 from Rs 7,856 crore of last year, while keeping it same for the Indian Institutes of Management (almost) at Rs 1,036 crore from Rs 1,030 crore in 2017-18.
The allocation for scholarships for college and university students was increased by Rs 20 crore to Rs 340 crore.
(With Inputs from IANS)
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