The education sector in the city and the state received a raw deal in this Union Budget. After announcing an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for the state in last year's budget, the only new project that came the state's way this year is the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER). Though experts believe this institute will boost available drug research facilities in the state, they said a central university would have benefitted a larger section of the student population.
V K Maurya, principal of the Government Pharmaceutical College said the state has for long waited for a NIPER. “Maharashtra is the largest generator of revenue in the pharma sector. Even in the last budget, a NIPER was not announced for the state.“ Maurya said a NIPER is equivalent to an IIT or an IIM. “A pharma institute of national importance will boost to jobs too but it is essential for the government to give this NIPER all the advanced facilities.“
However, a long pending demand of the state for a central university offering general education was not met even this year. Satish Modh, director, Vivekanand Education Society Institute of Management Studies and Research, said, “We have enough capacity in the IIT and IIM system. What the government needs to do is to improve basic science, arts and fine arts education at the tertiary level so that we produce skilled and educated students from our institutions. Rather than setting up more IITs and IIMs the government should scale up the general education system at the university level may be by setting up 100 new central universities across the country, one university for every one crore of the population.“ Though the state has a central university, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwa Vidyalaya in Wardha, it caters to a niche segment.
Besides, the Maharashtra government has failed to revive the State Council for Higher Education and Development. The Centre will disburse funds under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shikshan Abhiyan (RUSA) only after a functional state council is in place. “Some states have already set up the council and are already enjoying the benefits of the scheme from the Centre. But the state has failed to reconstitute,“ said the V-C of astate university.