Creation of a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to finance educational institutions to ensure 20 such places of learning emerge as world class and opening of 62 Navodaya Vidyalayas are among the announcements of the Union Budget 2016-17 presented on Monday.
The Union HRD Ministry also witnessed a sharp increase in its budgetary allocation.
The Department of School Education and Literacy has got an allocation of Rs 43,554 crore in the financial year 2016-17 as compared to Rs 42,186 crore as per the revised estimates for 2015-16.
The Department of Higher Education was allocated Rs 25,399 crore for the year 2015-16 while it Rs 28,840 crore for the year 2016-17.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced creation of a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) with an initial capital base of Rs 1,000 crore which will leverage funds from the market and work to create infrastructure in India’s top institutions like IITs.
HEFA, Jaitley said, will be a not-for-profit organisation that will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR funds.
“These funds will be used to finance improvement in infrastructure in our top institutions and will be serviced through internal accruals,” he said.
Jaitley also spoke about creating a regulatory architecture for ten public and ten private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.
He said that after universalisation of primary education throughout the country, the government wants to take the next big step forward by focusing on the quality of education.
An increasing share of allocation under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be allocated for this, he said.
“An enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class Teaching and Research Institutions. This will enhance affordable access to high quality education for ordinary Indians. A detailed scheme will be formulated,” he said.
The Finance Minister also proposed to establish a digital depository for School Leaving Certificates, College Degrees, Academic Awards and Mark sheets on the pattern of a Securities Depository.
“This will help validate their authenticity, safe storage and easy retrieval,” Jaitley said.
He also declared that 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas will be opened in the remaining uncovered districts over the next two years.