Free laptops for meritorious students, which was one of the poll promises of the BJP, today found no place in the first budget presented by the Yogi Adityanath government, which also drastically cut allocation for secondary and higher education. The BJP, in its ‘Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra’, had promised free laptops to meritorious students. In the budget, presented by Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal, there was no mention of the free laptops. The government has also cut the budgetary provisions for secondary education and higher education compared to that of previous government dispensation. In the 2016-17 budget presented by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government, a provision of Rs 9,990 crore was made for secondary education, which has come down to only Rs 576 crore in the Yogi Adityanath government, a reduction of Rs 9,414 crore.
The higher education sector also saw a significant cut this year. Last year’s budget had a provision of Rs 2,742 crore, while this year it was Rs 272.77 crore, marking a shortfall of Rs Rs 2,469.73 crore. Basic education, however, saw a rise in fund allocation of Rs 5,867 crore from last year’s Rs 15,632 crore to Rs 21,499 crore now. The previous Samajwadi Party government had distributed bags, laptops and other study material and even dinner plates to school children in Uttar Pradesh. Last year, Samajwadi Party government had sanctioned 1.8 crore school bags for students from Class 1 to Class 8. Midway through the distribution, assembly polls were announced in the state and the distribution had to be stopped under the model code of conduct.