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Education Sector in India

There are two ways to express the government expenditure:
  1. As a percentage of the total government expenditure
  2. As a percentage of educational expenditure of the GDP
The percentage of educational expenditure in both the total government expenditure and in GDP shows the fact that the government is committed to improve the educational status of our country. During 1952-2002, the percentage of educational expenditure in the total government expenditure increased from 7.92% to 13.17% with the increase in the percentage of GDP was .64% to 4.02. Through this period the increase in the expenditure towards education was not uniform, it has its rises and falls. If we add the individual expenditure on education during this period, then the total amount spent on education would be much more.

Out of the total expenditure on education, elementary education takes the maximum share. Intermediary or tertiary education ( colleges, polytechnics etc) take the minimum share. Though the tertiary education share is lesser, the expense per student is higher than that of elementary education. Obviously, this does not mean funds have to be transferred from tertiary education to elementary education. The expansion of school education needs more teachers who have had collegiate education. Therefore, the expenditure on all levels of education should be increased.

The per capita education expense varies across all states. While it is Rs,384 in Bihar, it is Rs.3440 in Lakshadweep leading to disparities in the opportunities and attainments in education.

The inadequacy of the amount spent on education can be understood by studying the desired level of educational expense which has been recommended by the various commissions. The Education Commission during 1964-66 recommended that atleast 6% of the GDP should be spent on education so as to attain significant growth in educational achievements.

Through the 86th Amendment of the constitution, the government made education free and compulsory for all children within the age group 6-14 in the year 2002. In 1998, the Government of India appointed the Tapas Majumdar committee which estimated a cost of Rs.1.37 lakh crore over 10 years between 1998-99 to 2006-07 in order to bring all the Indian children belonging to the age group between 6-14 within the purview of school education. The current levels of 4% of GDP has not been enough for education and in the coming years 6% of GDP has been viewed as very essential.

The government levied a 2% education cess on all taxes in the Union Budget 2000-2005. The government estimated to churn a revenue of around 4000-5000 Crore rupees through this and earmarked the whole amount for elementary education. Apart from this, the government also announced new loan schemes for students to pursue higher education and also promoted the need for higher education.

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