Saturday, March 06, 2010

Reduced budget allocation: IITs may hike fee

Higher educational institutions including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and central universities may soon be forced to raise their fees to meet a deficit in their budgetary allocations.
Budget 2010-11 has reduced the allocation for existing high-er education programmes and institutions. The non-plan budget has been cut from Rs. 6,437 crore (Rs. 64.37 billion) last year to Rs. 5,694 crore (Rs. 56.94 billion). This means that universities and technical institutions will have to tighten their belts. Resource crunch may also force many of them to raise funds through fee hikes and other charges such as accommodation and subsidised food.

Non-plan grants are used to pay salaries of teachers, maintenance of infrastructure and for day-to-day expenditure. This year's budget, while hiking the total allocation in higher education from Rs. 14,389 crore to Rs. 16,690 crore, has reduced the allocation for existing higher educational institutions. The sharp decline in non-plan allocation for the IITs and the IIMs negates the hike in the plan component meant for expansion, thus reducing the total allocation for these institutions. "No cut in funds is good news because we are dependant on the government for even day-to- day expenses. The cut may force us to hike fees or charge students for other amenities," an IIT director said.

The non-plan allocation for the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also been cut to Rs. 3,450 crore, down from Rs. 3,977 crore spent last year. "It will become difficult for us to operate. You cannot pay a teacher less than what he or she was hired for. We will write to the UGC," said a senior Delhi University official. Sources at the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) said the department did not have the money. "The government is focused on implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act. There is no money for allocating to universities and technical institutions," an official said. The ministry had earlier said the Centre and states would need more than Rs. 170 crore over five years to implement the right to education law. The budget hiked school education allocation from Rs. 25,338 crore last year to Rs. 33,214 crore this year.

Source: Hindustan Times, March 4, 2010

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