BENGALURU: Education sector received the highest fund allocation in 2017-18 budget but the budget did not provide any new initiatives for the sector.
The total allocation for education has increased by just Rs 600 crore. During the 2016-17 budget, total allocation for the setor was increased by Rs 2,000 crore. In this year’s budget, education received Rs 22,667 crore while it was Rs 22,024 crore during 2016-17 and Rs 20,100 crore in 2015-16.
Though the budget mentions that world class infrastructure should be developed to provide quality education, no fund has been set aside nor a plan has been devised. “To fill the gap in the basic infrastructure, medium term financial plan will be formulated and implemented,” the CM said in his speech.
Many announcements that have already been made at public functions either by the Chief Minister or by Higher Education Minister have been mentioned again in the budget. For example, providing milk for school kids under Ksheera Bhagya scheme for all five days, distribution of salwar kameez uniforms for girls in Classes 8 and 10, free laptops for first year undergraduate students, common act for universities are repetitions and looks like they will remain on paper as funds have not been allocated.
A few announcements made by the Chief Minister have been regarded as a waste of funds.
Prof R S Deshpande, director of Centre for Development Studies, PES university, said, “The Chief Minister tried to please everyone eyeing the upcoming election. He chooses to set up a university at Raichur to attract North Karnataka youths, but he has to see the condition of existing universities which have no infrastructure and staff. Some universities don’t have enough students as they prefer private universities. There is no necessity of starting a new university.”
Without providing a clear picture, the CM also announced that a Karnataka School Education Policy will be formulated to regulate infrastructure norms, fee, teaching resources and safety and security of students in all schools.