Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented his seventh federal budget for 2012-13 on Friday, March 16, with a total spending of $296 billion (14.9 trillion rupees). He told the Indian Parliament that the economy is expected to grow at 7.6% in the new financial year as against the 6.9% growth estimated for 2011-12.The fiscal deficit is projected at 5.9% of GDP for the financial year 2011-12, compared to the previous target of 4.6%. It is expected to narrow to 5.1% of GDP in fiscal 2012-13.
Allocation for the education sector was raised to $12.28 billion, 18% more than last year. Of this, $9.14 billion has been allocated for elementary and middle school education and literacy and $3.07 billion for higher education. The National Skill Development Fund has been allocated $19.9 million for 2012-13. This funding is for the National Skill Development Council which promotes initiatives for the creation of a skilled workforce in the country.
The government also announced the setting up of 6,000 new elementary and middle schools as "model schools" to promote excellence. Of these 2,500 schools will be set up under public-private partnerships.
Institutions of higher learning, research and development which were identified for funding included the Delhi School of Economics ($1.9 mn), which was established in 1949 and comprises the departments of economics, commerce, geography and sociology. The department of economics was designated as a Centre of Advanced Study by the University Grants Commission and in 1993, the Centre for Development Economics was created within this department to enhance its research capabilities.
A funding of $129.35 million was announced for the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) which seeks to nurture curiosity and creativity in an intellectually charged environment. Five IISERs have been established in India to integrate teaching and education with state-of-the-art research activities. Each IISER is an autonomous institution awarding its own Master’s and Doctoral degrees.