No funds release by Education Ministry for UTs of J&K, Ladakh in 2021-22 under RUSA

VIKAS SHARMA

JAMMU : The Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are among the 17 other States/UTs which have not received a single penny for the year 2021-22 from the Union Ministry of Education under the centrally sponsored scheme Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).

Apart from J&K and Ladakh UTs, the central ministry has not released funds to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana and Tripura for the year 2021-22. Only Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha and Uttarakhand received Rs 20 crore and above in 2021-22.

Overall, funds to the tune of Rs 93.39 crore for J&K have been released by the Education Ministry under the flagship scheme RUSA in the last three years. In 2019-20, the UT received Rs 88.45 crore followed by only Rs 4.94 crore in 2020-21.

In 2021-22 no funds were released by the ministry.  Similarly, the UT of Ladakh received funds to the tune of Rs 1.55 crore in 2019-20 whereas no funds were released by the Education Ministry in favour of Ladakh for the year 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Higher Education experts have expressed concern over the decline in higher education RUSA funds from 1272.46 crore to 249.14 crore from 2019 to 2022 respectively. “As the New Education Policy (NEP) is in its implementation stage across the country, such reductions definitely have a devastating effect on higher education. Already the higher education institutes in J&K UT are grappling with paucity of funds/inadequate infrastructure, drastic decline in RUSA funds will make things even worse”, experts said.

“Higher education institutes in J&K are heavily dependent on central funds to run their affairs smoothly, be it the strengthening of infrastructure in universities and colleges or to run the skill/vocational/job oriented courses which are mandatory under the NEP 2020. The colleges affiliated with the State Universities in J&K are still struggling to run the skill courses either due to paucity of funds or non-engagement of experts/specialists to run these specialized courses”, they added.

However, the Government has approved the scheme of RUSA for continuation till March 31, 2026  or till further review, whichever is earlier. The proposal entails an expenditure of Rs. 12929.16 crore out of which Central Share is Rs. 8120.97 crore and the State Share is of Rs. 4808.19 crore. It has been envisaged to support around 1600 projects under the new phase of the scheme.

The new phase of the scheme has been designed to implement some of the recommendations and aims of the NEP, which suggests some key changes to the current higher education system to revamp and re-energize it and thereby deliver quality higher education, with equity and inclusion.

State/UT Governments will be supported for Gender inclusion, Equity Initiatives, ICT, Enhancing employability through vocationalisation and skill upgradation. States will also be supported for creation of new Model Degree Colleges. State Universities will be supported for Multi-Disciplinary Education and Research. Grants will be provided for strengthening both accredited and non-accredited Universities and Colleges for undertaking various activities including teaching-learning in Indian languages.