The eagerly awaited Interim Budget 2024-25 is set to be presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. This budget will encompass the estimated receipts and government expenditure until the formation of the new government post the general elections. Educators and industry experts have voiced their expectations for the education sector’s inclusion in this pivotal budget. Let’s delve into the wish list of the education sector and the aspirations tied to the ambitious Viksit Bharat vision.
Viksit Bharat Vision and Integration of AI and Technology
Galgotias University CEO, Dr. Dhruv Galgotia, is looking forward to a budget that prioritizes education, seamlessly aligning with the Viksit Bharat vision. He stresses the significance of integrating AI
and technology into education for a progressive and inclusive learning environment.
Bridging the Digital Divide and Fortifying Educational Institutions
On behalf of Infinity Learn, CEO Ujjwal Singh emphasizes the pivotal role of Indian youth in achieving Viksit Bharat 2047. Integral to this goal is bridging the digital divide and reinforcing the digital infrastructure of educational institutions. The plea includes substantial support to ensure accessible and inclusive education for all, calling for tax exemptions, reduced GST rates, and lower interest rates on educational loans to narrow the educational gap.
Online Higher Education and Inclusive Economic Strata
UNIVO Education CEO, Siddharth Banerjee, highlights the significance of online higher education
, which transcends socio-economic strata and reaches across metro and tier 2-3-4 cities. Expectations lie in the government’s consideration of tax exemptions, lower GST rates, and reduced interest rates on educational loans to address the skill gap and continue supporting online higher education.
Alignment with the National Education Policy 2020
Chairman and co-founder of NIIT Group, Rajendra S Pawar, anticipates the budget aligning with the National Education Policy 2020. A substantial increase in the budgetary allocation for education, from 2.9% to 6% of the GDP, is envisioned to ensure the policy’s full potential and realize national objectives on the path to global leadership.
Enhancements to the Mid-Day Meal Scheme
Madhu Pandit Dasa, the Chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, proposes further enhancements to the Mid-Day Meal programme. Extending the scheme to include breakfast, in addition to the current lunch offerings, is suggested to benefit children with the necessary energy and nutrition to start their day. There is also a call for expanding the programme’s scope to cover students in higher grades, specifically 9th and 10th.
Prior Budget Allocations
In the financial year 2023-24, the education sector received its highest-ever allocation of ₹1.12 lakh crore. This allocation encompassed ₹68,804 crore for school education, ₹44,094.62 crore for higher education, and ₹37,453 crore for the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
This wishlist reflects the education sector’s aspirations tied to Budget 2024. The expectations are aligned with driving inclusive education, leveraging technology, aligning with policy frameworks, and extending the reach of crucial programmes. The impact of the upcoming budget on these expectations remains to be seen.