This year’s allocation is the lowest to be granted to the education sector in the past three years.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not announce any measures that would provide relief to schools.
Education spending in Budget 2021-22: The allocation to the Ministry of Education in Union Budget 2021-22 has been slashed by Rs 6,000 crore as compared to last year. The reduction in proposed spending has come at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the entire education system, likely having resulted in learning loss among students and higher school dropout rates, according to a report in IE.
In 2020-21, the total budget for education was Rs 99,311 crore, and this has now been cut by about 6% to Rs 93,224 for the upcoming financial year. This amount, the report has said, is the lowest to be granted to the education sector in the past three years.
Among this total budget, the higher education sector has been allocated Rs 38,350 crore this year, marking a cut of about Rs 1,000 crore from last year. On the other hand, the school education sector has taken the biggest cut of around Rs 5,000 crore, with an allocation of Rs 54873.66 crore in 2021-22.
What’s more is that this reduced allocation has come just before the Union Ministry of Education is set to begin the implementation of the National Education Policy of 2020, which talks about increased government spending on education.
The Finance Ministry, under the budget, has allocated Rs 31,050 crore of the school education allocation to the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, down from Rs 38,750 crore that was allocated in 2020-21. On the other hand, the spending on Midday Meal Scheme has been augmented by Rs 500 crore this year, with an allocation of Rs 11,500 crore. Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas have also been slated to receive an increased spending, rising by Rs 1,284 crore and Rs 500 crore respectively.
Apart from this, the Centre also announced the decision to establish 100 new Sainik Schools in collaboration with state governments, NGOs and private schools.
However, the speech delivered by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not announce any measures that would provide relief to schools after the losses they incurred due to remaining shut for about six months. Nor were any measures in terms of re-enrolment campaigns were announced to bring back students who are at risk of not returning to schools.