New Delhi: The sum of Rs 2,122 crore allocated in Budget 2007-08 towards implementation of the Oversight Committee recommendations for enhancing number of seats in IITs, IIMs and NITs should be spent anyway, irrespective of the court stay on 27% reservation for OBCs.
The Union Budget provided Rs 2,122 crore to the Department of Education for creating additional infrastructure for implementation of recommendations of the Oversight Committee chaired by Mr M Veerappa Moily. The committee recommended implementation of 27% reservation over a period of three years and simultaneous increment of the overall number of seats to a level whereby the number of seats available to the general category are maintained at the present level.
IITs received the maximum provision of Rs 988 crore followed by All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) Rs 780 crore. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) and IIMs were allocated Rs 90 crore and Rs 80 crore respectively.
Other institutes that received assistance included Indian School of Mines, Indian Institute of Information Technology, The Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Indian Institutes of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, School of Planning and Infrastructure, National Institutes of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research, and National Institute of Foundry and Forge Technology.
According to President Assocham, Mr V Dhoot, “Scarcity of quality education is at the root of the whole debate about reservation.” The Chamber is of the view that it is imperative for India to invest in higher education to meet the ever-increasing demand of the skilled workforce in service sector.
The annual requirement of skilled workers to sustain the growth momentum of the economy is close to 25 lakh. Against this ITIs can train only seven lakh of the 100 lakh students passing out of the schools. Even these ITIs need to be upgraded.
With just 350 universities at present, achieving the targeted gross enrollment ratio 15% in higher education by 2015 is a mammoth task. It is thus crucial to utilize allocated sum to enhance the number of seats without further delay.
Close to 1,40,000 Indians fly abroad for education, which is the highest globally. This clearly underlines the lack of quality education in the country. A hike in the number of seats in India would not only result in better affordability, but will also help in domestic retention of the talent. Besides the crisis of number, the country is also confronted with scarcity of quality workforce.
For India to emerge as a global knowledge society, imparting quality education commands emphatic importance. It therefore presents a strong case of augmenting the student intake in premier institutes urgently.
The talent crunch has already started creating an upward pressure on wage rates. A continuation of this trend will ultimately impact India’s core competitiveness. India growth story is largely dominated by service sector which has been growing at over 10% contributing nearly 55% in the GDP. A slowdown in services would ultimately act as a deterrent to the growth of the economy as a whole.
With more than half of India’s 1.1 bn population being less than 25 years, India will be able to reap the demographic dividend only if it is able to provide adequate skills to its youth. A failure on this front could well result in a huge burden on the country’s resources. It is to be understood that the while the social rate of return on investment in university education is high, an abeyance would result cost prohibitively.
The present enrollment rate into higher education is merely 9-1% while 35% of the population in the age group of 20-25% aspires for higher learning. The ratio is as high as 45-85% in case of developed countries.