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Interim budget 2024-25: UGC faces over 60 pc cut, budget for school education increased

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The University Grants Commission (UGC) has faced a budget cut this year with the Centre reducing its grant by over 60 per cent while the allocation for Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has been slashed for the second consecutive year.

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The budget for school education has been increased by over Rs 500 crore but the grant for higher education has been reduced by over Rs 9600 crore from the previous fiscal year's Revised Estimate (RE).

In the interim budget for 2024-25 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, the funding for UGC has been brought down to Rs 2500 crore from the previous year's RE of Rs 6409 crore, a 60.99 per cent drop.

The IIMs counted among the noted business schools in the country, have faced a cut in the budget for the second year in a row. Last year, the budget for IIMs was slashed from Rs 608.23 crore (RE) to Rs 300 crore.

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This year, the budget has been brought down further to Rs 212.21 crore from the Revised Estimate of Rs 331 crore.

The budget for Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has also seen a marginal dip from the RE last year. The grant to the top technology institutions has dropped from RE of Rs 10,384.21 crore to Rs 10324.50.

However, the support grant for Central Universities has increased by over 28 per cent.

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The budget for Central Universities has been increased to Rs 15472 crore from RE of Rs 12000.08 crore.

The budget for school education has increased from Rs 72473.80 crore (RE) to Rs 73008.10 crore.

However, the budget for higher education has dropped from Rs 57244.48 crore (RE) to Rs 47619.77 crore.

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In school education, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Navodaya Vidyalayas, NCERT, PM Shri schools and Grants-in aid to state governments and governments of Union Territories have seen a rise in the budget allocation.

Presenting the interim budget, Sitharamansaid that a large number of new institutions of higher learning, namely seven IITs, 16 IIITs, seven IIMs, 15 AIIMS and 390 universities have been set up since 2014 while 3000 new ITIs have been established.

"Our prosperity depends on adequately equipping and empowering the youth. The National Education Policy 2020 is ushering in transformational reforms. PM Schools for Rising India (PM SHRI) are delivering quality teaching and nurturing holistic and well-rounded individuals," the finance minister said.

"The Skill India Mission has trained 1.4 crore youth, upskilled and reskilled 54 lakh youth and established 3000 new ITIs. A large number of new institutions of higher learning, namely 7 IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS and 390 universities have been set up," she added. PTI GJS RT

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