Budget 2024: Higher Education Budget Takes a Hit, While Schools See Boost

New Delhi: In the interim budget for 2024-25, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed a substantial reduction in the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) funding by over 60%, dropping from the previous year’s Revised Estimate (RE) of Rs 6409 crore to Rs 2500 crore.

This marks a second consecutive year of budget cuts for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), with their allocation decreasing from Rs 331 crore (RE) to Rs 212.21 crore. Similarly, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) experienced a marginal dip from last year’s RE of Rs 10,384.21 crore to Rs 10,324.50.

While the budget for school education received a boost of over Rs 500 crore, higher education witnessed a significant reduction of over Rs 9600 crore, falling from Rs 57,244.48 crore (RE) to Rs 47,619.77 crore.

Surprisingly, Central Universities saw a positive shift, experiencing a 28% increase in their budget, reaching Rs 15,472 crore from the RE of Rs 12,000.08 crore.

During the budget presentation, Minister Sitharaman highlighted the establishment of new institutions of higher learning, including seven IITs, 16 IIITs, seven IIMs, 15 AIIMS, and 390 universities since 2014. She emphasized the transformative reforms brought about by the National Education Policy 2020 and the success of initiatives like PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) and the Skill India Mission, which has trained and upskilled a significant number of youth.

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