3 centres of excellence for AI, 100 labs in engg colleges for developing 5G apps
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
NEW DELHI: Three centres of excellence for artificial intelligence in top educational institutions and 100 labs in engineering institutions for developing applications using 5G services will be set up, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Wednesday.
The finance minister made the announcement in her budget speech in Lok Sabha, and announced the biggest ever budgetary allocation of Rs 1,12,899 crore in the education sector.
Re-envisioning teacher training through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, continuous professional development, dipstick surveys, ICT implementation and a research and development grant for indigenous production of Lab Grown Diamond (LGD) seeds and machines to one of the IITs for five years were among other major announcements for the education sector.
The education budget for 2023-24 is an increase of Rs 13,018 crore from the current fiscal, with Rs 38,953 being the budget estimate for the core National Education Mission.
However, estimated expenditure on education by the Centre would be 2.5 pc of total allocations, down from 2.6 pc in 2021-22.
In the budget allocation for school education, there has been an overall increase of Rs 9752.07 crore (16.51 pc) and for higher education, an amount of Rs 44,094.62 crore has been made as compared to Rs 40,828.35 crore in RE 2022-23, an increase of 8 per cent.
"For realising the vision of 'Make AI in India' and 'Make AI work for India', three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set-up in top educational institutions.
"Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. This will galvanize an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field," she said.
Sitharaman said a total of 100 labs will be set up in engineering institutions in collaboration with various authorities, regulators, banks and other business for developing applications using 5G services.
"One hundred labs for developing applications using 5G services will be set up in engineering institutions to realise a new range of opportunities, business models, and employment potential. The labs will cover, among others, applications such as smart classrooms, precision farming, intelligent transport systems, and health care applications," she added.
To address learning loss incurred during the pandemic years, a national digital library for children and adolescents will be set up for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages and genres, the finance minister announced.
"A National Digital Library for children and adolescents will be set-up for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels, and device agnostic accessibility.
"States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources," she said.
To build a culture of reading, and to make up for pandemic-time learning loss, the National Book Trust, Children's Book Trust and other sources will be encouraged to provide and replenish non-curricular titles in regional languages and English to these physical libraries, Sitharaman announced.
"Collaboration with NGOs that work in literacy will also be a part of this initiative. To inculcate financial literacy, financial sector regulators and organisations will be encouraged to provide age-appropriate reading material to these libraries," she said.
As many as 38,000 teachers and support staff will be recruited in the next three years for 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools serving 3.5 lakh tribal students, she said.
Sitharaman also announced that teachers training will be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, continuous professional development dipstick survey and ICT implementation.
"Teachers' training will be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, continuous professional development, dipstick surveys, and ICT implementation. The District Institutes of Education and Training will be developed as vibrant institutes of excellence for this purpose," she said.
Noting that Lab Grown diamonds (LGD) is a technology and innovation and energy driven sector with high employment potential, Sitharaman said to encourage indigenous production of such diamonds, a research grant will be provided to one of the IITs for five years.
According to the Ministry of Education, in order to implement the New Education Policy (NEP), 2020 in true spirit, the best institutions and universities of the country under the central government have been given an additional Rs 4,235.74 crores, which is an increase of 12.8 per cent over their allocation last budget.
The grant for University Grants Commission (UGC) has been increased by Rs 459 crores (9.37 pc). Grants to Central Universities have been increased by 17.66 per cent, Deemed University by 27 per cent, support to IITs have been increased by 14 per cent, and to NITs by 10.5 per cent as compared to BE 2022-23.