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Meeting the needs of Aspirational India in which all the sections of the society seek better standards of living with access to education, health and better jobs is one of the key themes of the Union Budget 2020-21. The Budget lays special emphasis on the employability and quality aspects of education.

Presenting the Budget for the financial year 2020-21 in the Parliament today, the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman said that a total outlay of Rs.99,300 crore has been earmarked for the education sector in 2020-21 and Rs.3000 crore for Skill Development. “By 2030, India is set to have the largest working age population in the world. Not only do they need literacy but they need both job and life skills”, the Finance Minister explained.

Smt Nirmala Sitharaman announced that about 150 Higher Educational Institutions will start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2020-21. This will help to improve the employability of students in the general stream (vis-a-vis services or technology stream). The government will also start a program whereby urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period of up to one year. National Skill Development Agency will give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities, the Minister explained.

The Finance Minister, in her speech also said that the New Education Policy will be announced soon. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman stated that steps will be taken to enable sourcing External Commercial Borrowings and FDI to ensure greater inflow of finance to attract talented teachers, innovate and build better labs.

Degree level full-fledged online education programme will be started to provide quality education to students of deprived sections of the society as well as those who do not have access to higher education. However, these shall be offered only by institutions who are ranked within top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework.

The Finance Minister observed that India should be a preferred destination for higher education. Therefore, under its “Study in India” programme, an Ind-SAT is proposed to be held in Asian and African countries for benchmarking foreign candidates who receive scholarships for studying in Indian higher education centres.

In order to meet the requirement of qualified medical doctors, it is proposed to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode. Viability gap funding will be made available to the States that fully allow the facilities of the hospital to the medical college and provide land at a concession.

The Government will also encourage large hospitals with sufficient capacity to offer resident doctors DNB/FNB courses under the National Board of Examinations. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman stated that a huge demand exists for teachers/nurses/para medical staff and care givers abroad. Therefore special bridge courses may be designed jointly by the Ministries of Health and Skill Development along with professional bodies to match the employer’s standards as well as meet the language requirements of various countries.

A National Police University and a National Forensic Science University have also been proposed in the domain of policing science, forensic science, cyber-forensics etc. in the Budget.

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21st India – Russia Annual Summit
December 07, 2021
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President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, paid a working visit to New Delhi on 06 December 2021 for the 21st India – Russia Annual summit with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

2. President Putin was accompanied by a high level delegation. Bilateral talks between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin were held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the sustained progress in the ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ between both countries despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. They welcomed the holding of the first meeting of the 2+2 Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers and the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military-Technical Cooperation in New Delhi on 6 December 2021.

3. The leaders underscored the need for greater economic cooperation and in this context, emphasized on new drivers of growth for long term predictable and sustained economic cooperation. They appreciated the success story of mutual investments and looked forward to greater investments in each others’ countries. The role of connectivity through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the proposed Chennai - Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor figured in the discussions. The two leaders looked forward to greater inter-regional cooperation between various regions of Russia, in particular with the Russian Far-East, with the States of India. They appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the fight against the Covid pandemic, including humanitarian assistance extended by both countries to each other in critical times of need.

4. The leaders discussed regional and global developments, including the post-pandemic global economic recovery, and the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed that both countries share common perspectives and concerns on Afghanistan and appreciated the bilateral roadmap charted out at the NSA level for consultation and cooperation on Afghanistan. They noted that both sides shared common positions on many international issues and agreed to further strengthen cooperation at multilateral fora, including at the UN Security Council. President Putin congratulated Prime Minister Modi for India’s ongoing non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council and successful Presidency of BRICS in 2021. Prime Minister Modi congratulated Russia for its ongoing chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

5. The Joint Statement titled India-Russia: Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity aptly covers the state and prospects of bilateral ties. Coinciding with the visit, several Government-to-Government Agreements and MoUs, as well as those between commercial and other organizations of both countries, were signed in different sectors such as trade, energy, science & technology, intellectual property, outer space, geological exploration, cultural exchange, education, etc. This is a reflection of the multifaceted nature of our bilateral partnership.

6. President Putin extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Russia for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit in 2022.