Funds assured to professional institutions

To provide impetus to higher and professional education, the finance minister on Thursday proposed to set up IITs, IIMs and AIIMSs in all states. The government will set up five IITs, five IIMs and four AIIMS-like institutions as part of this fiscal year’s budget plan.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction that AIIMSs at Jodhpur, Bhopal, Rishikesh, Patna, Bhubanes­war and Raip­ur, which are part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, have become functional. A plan to set up four more AIIMS-like institutions in AP, West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Poorvanchal in UP is under consideration. I propose to set aside Rs 500 crore for this. Presently, 58 government medical colleges have been approved. It is also proposed to add 12 more government medical colleges. Dental facilities would also be provided in all these hospitals,” he said.

IITs in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and IIMs in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan are also in the offing. The government has set aside Rs 500 crore for the plan.

Industry experts’ opinion has been mixed about the announcement. While some applauded, others were openly critical.

“No mention of more vocational institutions and community colleges across the country disappointed me. Average Indian children need formal vocational training to make livelihood rather than more of the elitist IIMs and IITs, which fewer can get into. Farm to non-farm transition can’t happen through IIMs and IITs,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, president of Indian Staffing Federation.

On the elementary education front, the government has also committed to a school assessment programme at a cost of Rs 30 crore and teacher training programme at Rs 500 crore. Rs 100 crore is being provided for setting up virtual classrooms as communication-linked interface for cultivating knowledge and online courses.

Moreover, a national multi-skill programme called ‘Skill India’ is proposed to be launched. It would impart skill to youth with an emphasis on employability and entrepreneurship. It will also provide training and support for traditional professions including welding and weaving. Convergence of various schemes to attain this objective is also proposed.

“The government has started with a strong commitment to develop a robust and sustainable skill ecosystem. The finance minister has provided full support to build the Skill India Mission and the National Multi-skill Mission. How this unfolds in the coming months is something we need to wait and watch,” said Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of NSDC.

(With inputs from Trushna Udgirkar in Hyderabad)


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