Updated February 2nd, 2024 at 11:01 IST
Interim Budget 2024: Rs 1.24 Lakh Crore to Education, Raises Concerns on GDP Ratio; Experts React
Union Budget 2024 allocates Rs 1.24 Lakh Cr to Education, a 10% increase. Mixed reactions on women empowerment, skill development, and innovation initiatives.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has revealed the Interim Budget for 2024, allocating a substantial Rs 1,24,638 Crore to the Education Ministry, marking a commendable 10% increase from the previous year's budget of Rs 1.16 lakh crore. The Department of School Education secured an allocation of Rs 73,008 crore, reflecting an increase from the previous budget's Rs 68,804 crore. Simultaneously, the Higher Education Department witnessed a marginal uptick with an allocated budget of Rs 47,619 crores, compared to Rs 44,090 in the last budget.
Despite these allocations, concerns persist as the education budget remains below 3% of GDP, falling short of the National Education Policy's recommended 6% of GDP. Industrialists and educationalists have shared mixed responses regarding the interim budget 2024.
Prof. Abhradeep Maiti, Chairperson – Admissions, Economics, IIM Kashipur, emphasized the successful adoption of the Skill India Mission and the government's commitment to governance, development, and performance. The mission has achieved notable milestones, including training 1.4 crore youth, upskilling and re-skilling 54 lakh youth, establishing 3000 new ITIs, 7 IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS, and 390 universities. The union government's strong emphasis on funding the National Research Fund and establishing the Higher Education Commission bodes well for the ed-tech sector's growth.
Dr. Prabina Rajib, Director at Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), lauded the focus on empowering women, youth, farmers, and the impoverished in the budget. The surge in women's enrollment in higher education by 28% in the last ten years and the increased funding for education, especially in 2023, showcase the government's commitment to supporting multi-mode access to education and incorporating digital education.
Mamta Shekhawat, founder of Gradding.com, praised the proposals for empowering women, making education affordable through schemes like Mudra Yojana, and the rise in female enrollment in higher education, especially in STEM courses.
Dr. Maithili Tambe, CEO of The Academy School (TAS), Pune, highlighted significant changes and reforms in the education sector, emphasizing the Skill India Mission's success and the remarkable increase in female enrollment in STEM courses.
Anand Sri Ganesh, CEO of NSRCEL IIM Bangalore, expressed excitement about the government's support for women's entrepreneurship and the 28% increase in female enrollment in higher education over the past decade.
Prateek Maheshwari, Co-Chair of India Edtech Consortium (IEC) and Co-Founder of Physics Wallah (PW), noted the transformative reforms in the education sector fueled by the NEP 2020 and Skill India Mission. The increase in female enrollment in higher education reflects India's commitment to breaking gender barriers.
Dr. Sasangan Ramanathan, Dean & HoS, Amrita University, welcomed the announcements in the budget, especially the creation of a corpus fund for research and development, which would be a game-changer for the research and education ecosystem in India.
Rajesh Bhatia, founder of TreeHouse Education and Accessories Ltd., expressed hope that increased funding in 2024 would lead to a network of schools across rural India, positively impacting education in rural areas.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice-Chancellor of the World University of Design, commended the government's focus on 'Nari Shakti' and efforts to advance female education, especially in STEM courses. The allocation for research and innovation is seen as a big opportunity for India's tech-savvy youth.
Dr. Adya Sharma, Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies (SCMS) Pune, highlighted the need to invest in teachers and faculty capacity building to ensure the quality of education aligns with the demands of the digital age.
Mr. Krishan Mishra, CEO, FPSB India, commented on the initiatives of the Indian Government over the last decade, emphasizing their role in reshaping the economic landscape and fostering growth and innovation. He particularly commended the emphasis on the Global Financial Hub at GIFT IFSC, which serves as a robust gateway for global capital and financial services, positioning the Indian economy on the global map. The Budget's allocation of resources to the Skill India Mission aligns seamlessly with the vision for a skilled workforce in India. Mr. Mishra highlighted the success of the mission, resulting in the training of 1.4 crore youth. He also praised the Government's commitment to fostering entrepreneurial aspirations, citing the remarkable 43 crore loans sanctioned under the PM Mudra Yojana. He appreciated the extension of tax benefits to startups and investments made by sovereign wealth funds/pension funds, along with the tax exemption of some IFSC units until March 2025. FPSB India looks forward to the details of the forthcoming Budget contributing to a financially resilient and empowered nation.
Ms. Arpita Katyal, CEO, Reperro, expressed satisfaction with the progressive stance on women empowerment shown by the Government over the past decade. She highlighted the disbursement of 30 crore in loans as part of the Mudra Yojana to women entrepreneurs, aligning seamlessly with the broader vision of fostering economic independence and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit in women.
Ms. Katyal noted the significant increase of 28% in female enrollment in higher education, particularly in STEM courses, as a positive shift towards gender inclusivity. She also applauded the provision of reservations for women in Lok Sabha and State assemblies, steps toward ensuring equal representation and protection of women's rights. The allocation of houses under Awas Yojana to women in rural areas further contributed to marking the past decade in supporting women entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, and e-commerce platforms. Ms. Katyal congratulated the Government on its commitment to supporting a socially equitable and empowering.
Sachin Jain, Country Manager, ETS India and South Asia “The Finance Minister's recent budget presentation reveals a strong commitment to enhancing India's educational landscape and skill development. Highlighting an impressive milestone, over 14 million students have benefited from the Skill India Mission. This move aligns with the government's focus on fostering a skilled workforce ready for the challenges of the modern economy. The budget prioritizes the upskilling of the youth and endorses the spirit of 'Jai Anusandhaan,' envisioning a future where Indian youth lead in innovation and research. This strategic investment in education and research is poised to empower the next generation, ensuring they are well-equipped to navigate a rapidly changing world. The government's dedication to this cause is evident, and we look forward to the comprehensive budget details for the education sector.”
Manisha Zaveri, Joint Managing Director, Career Mosaic “I commend the government for its achievements over the past year and appreciate the budget's focus on inclusive growth. The remarkable increase in women's higher education enrollment, with significant representation in STEM, is a major step towards gender equality. The budget's alignment with modern data and technology use reflects a forward-thinking approach. The introduction of a substantial fund for interest-free loans to support private sector research and innovation is a positive development. This budget is foundational for empowering India's youth in shaping the country's technological advancements and international stature. We eagerly anticipate the details the full budget will unveil for the higher education sector.”
"I applaud the government for its commendable achievements over the past decade and express gratitude for the Budget's unwavering focus on fostering inclusive growth. In this era where new-age technologies and data are transforming lives and businesses, the budget recognizes their role in creating economic opportunities and providing high-quality services at affordable prices, particularly for those at the 'bottom of the pyramid.' The expanding global opportunities for India are being driven by innovative solutions and entrepreneurial spirit. With Rs 73,008 crore allocated to the School Education, strategic investments and accomplishments in the education sector, this budget lays a crucial foundation for empowering India's youth, enabling them to aspire for higher education avenues beyond boundaries and elevate India’s international standing." - Saurabh Arora, CEO, University Living.
Alison Barrett MBE, Director India, British Council, said, "The Interim Budget 2024 underlines the importance of quality education and access to equal opportunities at all levels to achieve inclusive and holistic development. The NEP has paved the way for strengthening of India’s primary, secondary and tertiary level education, and we are proud to have been a part of India’s journey to internationalise curriculums and bring in global best practices. We are confident that the continued focus on quality, equality and access in education and skilling will accelerate India’s plan of becoming a global knowledge hub, and we remain committed to partnering the government and education sector in India to create opportunities that spark success for young Indians.”
Published February 1st, 2024 at 18:29 IST