Higher Education Current Affairs

Cabinet approves creation non-lapsable Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh

The Union Cabinet has approved creation of a single corpus fund non-lapsable known as Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK).

Under it, all proceeds of secondary and higher education cess will be credited and utilised for the government’s schemes in education sector.

Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh (MUSK)

The funds arising from MUSK will be utilised for schemes in education sector, which will be available for benefit of students of secondary and higher education all over the country. It will be administered and maintained by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

The MUSK will be maintained as a Reserve Fund in the non-interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India. It will be operationalised as per the present arrangements under Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (PSK) wherein the proceeds of cess are used for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Schemes.

The expenditure on ongoing schemes of the HRD Ministry will be initially incurred from the gross budgetary support (GBS) in any financial year and the expenditure will be financed from MUSK only after the GBS is exhausted.

Background

During the 10th Plan, an education cess of 2% was levied on all central taxes from 2004 to make available additional resources for basic education/elementary education to augment the existing budgetary resources. Later in 2007, additional cess of 1% on central taxes (called Secondary and Higher Education Cess) was levied through Finance Act, 2007 to give fillip for universalizing access to secondary education and expanding the reach of the higher education sector. In February 2016, HRD Ministry had sought the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs for creation of non-lapsable fund in the Public Account called MUSK.

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Fact Box: QS World Universities Ranking 2018

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2018 has been released. In the list, three Indian universities have featured among the top 200 universities.

Salient Highlights

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have featured in the top 200 global universities. For the first, three Indian institutions have found a place in the list of top 200 universities in the QS Rankings.

IISc Bangalore has been placed at 190 from the152nd place secured last year. Similarly, IIT Delhi have climbed from 185 to 172 and IIT Bombay has jumped from 219 to 179 this year.

IISc has been placed at 6th position among 959 universities for ‘Citations per Faculty’ in the 2018 rankings. It is measured by calculating how many times research papers from a university is cited in the research work of others and is then calibrated against its faculty strength.

For the first time, the Delhi University (DU) has entered the top 500 group.

Other Indian Universities that find a place in the list are: Jadavpur University (ranked in the 601-650 band), University of Hyderabad (601-650), Anna University (651-700), Manipal University (701-750), Aligarh Muslim University (800-1000), Birla Institute of Technology and Science (800-1000)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been ranked as the world’s best university for the sixth consecutive year. The second and third place in the overall rankings has been occupied by Stanford University and Harvard University respectively.

This year’s ranking surveyed 26,000 universities across the globe. In total, 20 Indian institutions have been included in the ranking table this year. The list has a total of 959 top universities.

Background

In the recently released NIRF Rankings for Indian educational institutes, IISc was ranked as the country’s best university. IIT Madras was ranked as the best institute in the category of engineering institutes.

The Quacquarelli Symonds is a British agency that annually ranks higher educational institutes across the world based on six performance parameters such as Research, Teaching, Employability and Internationalisation, in addition to a 40 point weightage to the institute`s stature.

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