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Budget 2015 report card: Here’s how Smriti Irani-led HRD Ministry fared

Budget 2015 report card: Here’s how Smriti Irani-led HRD Ministry fared
Smriti Irani-led HRD Ministry is boasting of a slew of decisions and initiatives taken and also accomplished.

The education ministry claims that it has achieved 100% target completion of construction of separate toilets for boys and girls in schools under Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan during the year 2015.

Under several initiatives taken by the HRD ministry, higher education gains prominence as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced more allocation for higher education.

In 2015-16 budget, Jaitley had marginally reduced overall allocations towards education but had increased the planned higher education budget by nearly 22%.

Jaitley proposed to set aside Rs.69, 074.76 crore for education in 2015-16 and higher education was given a plan allocation of Rs.15, 8555.26 crore as against Rs13,000 crore pegged in the revised budget for 2014-15.

Here are some initiatives take by the HRD ministry under higher education till December 31, 2015

Campus connect programme
All the central universities in the country are going to be connected through WIFI network at a cost of approximately Rs320 crore. Under this, all the classrooms, libraries, laboratories, hostels and places frequented by the students would be connected through a secured WIFI hotspots providing access to the educational and information resources to the students on 24x7 basis. This project will be implemented by ERNET and is expected to be completed by June 2016.

Promoting start-ups
37 new startup parks/research parks would be set up this year with the coordination of Dept of Science and Technology (fund sharing on 50:50 basis) covering all the IITs, NITs and some IIITs/Central Universities. These would incubate the start-ups and handhold them till they reach the stage of commercialization, normally for a period of five years. IIT Madras Research Park has already become fully functional.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan
This was launched connecting higher education and society to enable technology and its use for development of rural areas. Under this all technical and higher education institutions have been asked to adopt five villages each; identify technology gaps and prepare plans for innovations that could substantially increase the incomes and growth in the rural areas.

Ucchtar Aavishkar Abhiyaan
For promotion of innovation, All the IITs have been encouraged to work with the industry to identify areas where innovation is required and come up with solutions that could be brought up to the commercialization level. For this purpose, it is proposed to launch a scheme Ucchtar Aavishkar Abhiyan by investing Rs 250 crore every year on identified projects proposed by IITs and NITs.

Engineering skills to unemployed youth
An initiative as a part of the PMKVY is being launched to encourage all the 10,000 technical institutions (engineering and polytechnic) to provide engineering skills (through part-time courses of 6 to 8 months duration) to at least 100 unemployed youth using their infrastructure after college-hours. The training costs would be met by the central government and the placement of the trained youth is the responsibility of the institution. This is expected to provide high quality skilled persons required for the Make in India campaign.

Imprint India
Imprint India, Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative, aims at direct research in the premier institutions into areas of social relevance. Under this, 10 domains have been identified, which could substantially impact the living standards of the rural areas, including healthcare technology, nano technology, computer science and ICT, manufacturing technology and environment/climate change. The research in each of these areas is being coordinated by one IIT.

Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN)
It was launched as an initiative to attract the best foreign academics to Indian Universities of Excellence. The programme has been launched to facilitate the partnership between higher education institutions of India and other foreign universities. Under this, 352 courses are being offered by foreign faculty from 38 countries. The cost of the travel and honorarium ranging from $8,000 - $12,000 is being met from the scheme funds.

Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM)
The web portal is the Indian electronic e-education platform which proposes to offer courses from the high school stage to post-graduate stage in an interactive electronic platform. The IT platform for SWAYAM is going to be built and is expected to be operationalized by March 31, 2016 with a capacity to host nearly 2,000 courses. This would provide the best quality education to more than three crore students across the country. SWAYAM-MOOCs project is intended to address the needs of school level 9-12 to Under Graduate and Post Graduate students, covering all disciplines.


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