Expectations of the Education Leaders from the Union Budget 2023

By Pratik Ghosh

The Union Budget 2023 is going to be presented by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. There is a lot of expectations and anticipations for this budget across the nation. Moreover its going to be the last full budget of the present government before 2024 elections. Here’s an insight on what the education leaders are expecting from this year’s Budget.

Kanak Gupta, Group Director, Seth M.R. Jaipuria Schools shares his expectations from the budget especially on the education sector by saying, “I’ve always believed that it would take a very strong-willed finance minister to have 6% of GDP for education. The objective of quality education is to increase the pace of sustainable economic development of the nation. Generally, education is linked with the professional career of the students. For quality of education to be enhanced, there is spending required in the Budget towards upskilling of educators, beyond the mandatory usage of technology tools. Perhaps INR 1200 Crores needs to be earmarked for this. Even to meet the requirements as laid out in the NEP2020, there is infrastructure required. Quality higher education can be imparted only if the appropriate changes are made in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment of school education. Many of the education institutes have already introduced outcome-based education system. These require processes, systems and training. For sustainability and growth, there are investments required, and we hope at least doubling of the investment promised for education over the last year, as we are coming into mainstream and hybrid learning after two years. Education services are burdened with taxation and ease needs to be provided there with reduction of GST, or gaining input credit.

I am a strong believer that the future of the country is knowledge-led, technology-enabled, with more and more communication in vernacular languages. I am hoping for allocation of INR 50,000 crores to promote R&D to spur innovation, and efforts to make available all documents in major Indian languages is desired. I am hoping for greater collaborations of Government with private players, focus on governance, and ease of running that will be beneficial to the sector.”

Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff, MD, Kalorex Group says, “Since education is a key development sector, we have huge expectations from the upcoming budget. It should address the core aspects of education with a view to enhance quality of learning, improve teacher professional skills, build robust infrastructure, and promote skill development. Today, education systems continue to face challenges on how to effectively support learning in the current context and overall student development in an increasingly challenging world.

  1. We urge the government to focus on expanding access to education and technology, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
  2. India’s education sector needs higher budget allocation for the segment, special tax incentives, and enabling a conducive environment for digital learning. The announcement of new schemes to promote teacher upskilling, effective implementation of NEP 2020, and achieving its objectives will also go a long way in ensuring quality and affordable education across the country.
  3. Multiple policy reforms are required from an education and up-skilling perspective to achieve this vision.
  4. GST exemption on the supply of goods (including TVs/tablets for digital education, currently @28% GST) and services (used for teaching and learning applications and content, currently @18% GST) to educational institutions and intermediaries can reduce the overall cost that is currently passed on to schools and parents. This will make goods and services for education more affordable, and will foster the implementation of NEP across the country.
  5. GST exemption on printing of school textbooks will make these books more affordable for low-income parents.
  6. The budget allocation towards the education sector was only 2.6 per cent of the total funding, with Rs 40828.35 crore set aside for higher education, while a fund of Rs 63449.37 was granted for school education, It should be increased as the school education is pillar of the nation.
  7. By law, educational institutions are not public entities and cannot operate solely for profit-making. They are not allowed to have large surpluses, as they are not intended to generate profit for shareholders or owners.
  8. Allow Public investment in education sector with better opportunity to reduce tax burden and growth for India for better qualities. Through these nationally and making them centrally available to institutions will go a long way in transforming the education ecosystem and making international learning resources accessible.
  9. The current National Education Policy (NEP) of India recognises the role of education in the country’s economic growth. It is a progressive and visionary policy for building a sustainable higher education ecosystem in India.
  10. Government should envisage a framework that promotes the collaboration of startups with government agencies.

Dr. Niyati Chitkara, Director, Chitkara International School, Chandigarh & Panchkula shares her views by saying, “Education plays a paramount role in a country’s development and growth. For the same, the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) was framed to overhaul education system and it is being followed in our country rigorously. A country’s higher literacy rate leads to a lower unemployment rate and greater GDP growth. Therefore, the allocation towards educational sector under Union Budget 2023 is being awaited with bated breath.

Listed hereunder are the expectations from the said budget-

  1. Increased allocation of funds towards education to enhance its development and quality.
  2. Reforms for improving the overall education system, making it more accessible and inclusive.
  3. Emphasis on the integration of technology and digital education for better delivery of education.
  4. Support for research and innovation in the field of education.
  5. Policies for teacher training and development to ensure a highly skilled workforce.
  6. Adequate provisions for infrastructure development in educational institutions.
  7. Introduction of tax incentives for companies that invest in education-related CSR activities.
  8. Reduction in GST on education services to democratize education and increase reach among students, especially those who cannot afford quality education.
  9. Focus on bridging the gap between urban and rural education by providing support to disadvantaged students.
  10. Increase in budget allocation for vocational training programs to bridge the skills gap and improve employability.

Thus, with aforementioned and beyond, the Union Budget 2023 presents an indispensable prospect for the government to take substantial steps towards improving the education sector in India.”

Tijay Gupta, Co-Founder and COO Bachpan & AHPS Group of Schools says, “Digital learning is the need of the hour, so unless our government allocates an adequate percentage of the country’s GDP to this area, the pace of our economic development is most likely to slow down over time. The Union Budget for the upcoming financial year should take this into consideration and facilitate the effective implementation of NEP 2020. To integrate the digital infrastructure in schools across India in accordance with the NEP, GST incentives and exemptions could possibly act as a driving force. And that is something that the education sector should be able to anticipate from the Union Budget 2023-24, as digital learning can help us bridge the learning gap and meet the contemporary needs of new-age students.”

Dr. Pranati Tilak, Chairperson, Tilak Mahrashtra Vidyalaya shares her expectations by suggesting some pointers in accordance with the NEP framework.

  1. There should be substantial budget allocated for teacher training as this will lead to the adoption and easy implementation of quality teaching – learning practices.
  2. Reduction in GST on educational services to make high quality education more affordable and accessible to everyone.
  3. There should be a separate fund allocated for the Anganwadi workers to be trained in ideal ECC – Early Childhood Care education.
  4. Specific funds should be allocated to ensure strengthening of Internationalisation of Higher Education.
  5. Attractive loan schemes and scholarships for tertiary education.
  6. Funds allocated to special schemes to enhance education of the girl child.

Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society also shares her expectations in few pointers:

  1. Retirement benefits for the teachers.
  2. Tax/ GST exemptions in Technology related hardware and software so that more students can get the benefit.
  3. Tax benefits for teachers.
  4. Easy loan process for establishing educational institutions.

Prof. Ujjwal Anu Chowdhury, Strategic Adviser & Professor, Daffodil International University, Dhaka shares his expectations from the overall budget by saying, “The budget has to be growth oriented on one side, given challenges in the global market, and also to an extent populist with elections in 11 states and then national elections ahead.

Hence the following suggestions:

  1. Total expenditure in current financial year was around 44 lacs crores, which need to be hiked up to nothing less than 50 lacs crores, though it’s a tall order (will suggest on income side below).
  2. Of this total expected annual budget of 50 lacs crores, minimum 10 lacs crores should be in capital expenditure, which was 7.5 lacs crores this year. This enhanced Capex will create direct and ancillary jobs, higher purchasing power in the hands of the workers, and overall higher demand in the economy to boost growth.
  3. Keeping the usual 8 to 10% for defence, Rs.5 lacs crores can be allocated, ensuring some modernization and additional facilities for our armed forces.
  4. Subsidies, pensions, support to rural jobs through MNREGA, support to startups and MSMEs in various ways together accounted for 14% last time, but needs a huge push to 20%, that is, around Rs.10 lacs crores. This will completely change the face of the economy at the lower half and make real growth behind stocks and share values.
  5. Education, health and housing together accounted for around 8% of the budget last time, should now be at least 10%, at Rs.5 lacs crores. Education to 1.5 lacs crores from 1.06 crores. Health to 1.2 lac crores from 0.9 lac crores. Rest PM Awas Yojana.
  6. States share of income was 17% last time, to be hiked up to 20% for more Capex and development expenditure at states level. So Rs.10 lacs crores there.
  7. Interest servicing on debt shall be min 20%, that is Rs.10 lacs crores.

On the income side, minimum 40% from debt (currently 36%), that is, Rs.20 lacs crores. 20% from GST with better MSME and business push (currently 16%), so Rs.10 lacs crores here. Direct taxes with income tax relief to the middle class but much higher revised HNI and corporate taxes can go up to Rs.8-10 lacs crores. Another 2-3 lacs crores from products and services from the govt of various types. Some deficit financing and other various means for the remaining part of revenue.”

Prof. Dr. B. Sendilkumar, Dean & Director -Allied Health Sciences, VinayakaMissions Research Foundation-Deemed to be University, Salem says, “Budget 2023 is most awaited by all citizens irrespective of the profession they are in and also their economic status.

Start Ups should be given a major boost up through credits and subsidiaries to bring a stable economy. This will also help in creating better employment opportunities especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme is also likely to attract more funding as it is another important scheme that has the potential to generate employment and increase the share of the manufacturing sector in total capital formation.

Considering the sustainable Development goals, more budget can be allocated towards prioritizing the use of Renewable energy.

An improvised budget compared to last year is needed in the Education sector to support in effective implementation of NEP 2020. Internationalization of education and Digitalization needs greater attention and better allocation to sustain ourselves in the Global map.”

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