Home / Politics / Policy /  Education expenditure aimed at 6% of GDP: Smriti Irani

New Delhi: India will strive to increase public spending on education to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) from less than 4% currently, new human resource development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani said on Tuesday.

Irani, who took charge on Tuesday, said the government will try to fulfil all promises made in the election manifesto of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had promised a national commission on education to devise ways to reform and revise the sector to make India a knowledge hub. The party also intends to implement a national education policy in the context of the changing dynamics of education.

Irani told reporters that all decision will be taken after due consultations with all stake holders. The ministry has been facing criticism for taking arbitrary decisions without due consultations with concerned stakeholders in the last few years.

When asked about her comment on getting an important portfolio that’s significant for the future of the country, the 38-year-old Irani, the youngest minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, said she would not work for power but to serve the people.

Going by the BJP manifesto, she has a tough task at hand from pushing reforms pending for years to universalize secondary education and restructuring the University Grants Commission (UGC). The party has also promised “to review and revise...the salary structures associated with the teaching staff".

India has a shortage of half-a-million teachers in schools; in higher educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and central universities, the shortage ranges between 20% and 45% of the required faculty strength.

Though Irani did not touch upon specifics on the first day, she said her ministry would establish a national e-library to empower school teachers and students.

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