Education

Higher edu: Budget proposes central varsity for Leh, enhanced collaboration with foreign insts – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The higher education sector in the country is set to get a boost with the Union Budget 2021-22 promising a central university for Leh, a legislation to set up Higher Education Commission of India, and increasing academic collaboration with foreign institutions among other measures.

“For accessible higher education in Ladakh, I propose to set up a Central University in Leh,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech Monday.

“In Budget 2019-20, I had mentioned about the setting-up of Higher Education Commission of India. We would be introducing a legislation this year to implement the same. It will be an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding,” she added.

The finance minister announced that nine cities will create formal umbrella structures so that these institutions can have better synergy, while also retaining their internal autonomy.

“Many of our cities have various research institutions, universities, and colleges supported by the Government of India. Hyderabad for example, has about 40 such major institutions. In nine such cities, we will create formal umbrella structures so that these institutions can have better synergy, while also retaining their internal autonomy. A Glue Grant will be set aside for this purpose,” she said.

The budget also proposed increased academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions.

“To promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions, it is proposed to put in place a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements and other such mechanisms,” she said.

The higher education department has been allocated Rs 38,350.65 crore for 2021-22, registering a dip of Rs 1115.87 crore.

The budget for the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been reduced from Rs 2200 crore to Rs 1 crore.

The allocation for world class institutions has been increased from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,710 crore. Similarly, the fund for scholarships for college and university students has been increased from Rs 141 crore to Rs 207 crore.

“In my Budget Speech of July 2019, I had announced the National Research Foundation. We have now worked out the modalities and the NRF outlay will be of Rs 50,000 crores, over 5 years. It will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with focus on identified national-priority thrust areas,” Sitharaman said.

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