The Union Budget 2023-24 was presented by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February. The Industry leaders from the Education and Healthcare sector share their views and reaction to the Budget with ArdorComm Media.
Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Pro-Chancellor, Chitkara University, Punjab shares her views on Budget 2023 with the following pointers:
- Union Budget 2023 with clear focus on research and upskilling set the ball rolling. We welcome step of establishing national digital library for children and adolescents for covering learning loss during pandemic.
- Recruitment of 38,800 teachers and support staff for the 740 model Eklavya Model Residential Schools which are serving 3.5 lakh tribal students will bring them into mainstream and strengthen nation’s commitment to social equality.
- Mention of Teacher Training, Capacity Building and Culture of Reading are the newest and welcoming steps for education sector.
- 30 Skill Indian International Centres, Industry players to partner with educational institutions will strengthen “Make in India” initiative.
- Launching new three centres of excellence for artificial intelligence is not the only reform needed. Access and Outreach of these centres to all kinds of HEIs will determine its success.
Rupak Barua, Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals; Chairman, CII Healthcare Committee (Eastern Region), and President, Association of Hospitals of Eastern India says, “The Union Budget 2023, presented by Union Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February, has mostly been a positive and balanced budget for the healthcare sector, addressing some crucial areas like research & development, skills training, raising awareness of a hitherto ignored disease like sickle cell anaemia, stress on nutrition, and a focus on large scale digitalization, among other things.
The Budget outlay pointed at a willingness on part of the Government to plan a roadmap in the right direction that will eventually benefit the country’s healthcare sector. While the increased budgetary allocation of over 13 percent is expected to help develop better healthcare infrastructure, both in terms of instrumentation and human resources, a stress on R&D, and the understanding to allow research in the PPP mode will largely help in reaching India’s millennium goals.
However, the sector had expected some tax break for medical devices, and would have welcomed a reconsideration of GST imposition on beds at private hospital above a certain tariff, since these would go a long way to relieve the burden of high medical bills on the common man. Also, some provisions to help in proliferating the scope and awareness of health insurance would have also been an even more positive move, since this would help reduce out-of-pocket expenditure for patients.”
Kanak Gupta, Group Director, Seth M.R. Jaipuria Schools shares his reaction to the Budget by saying, “Hon’ble Finance Minister has taken a leaf out of Schools’ books: she continues to present the budget paperless, completely digital. This was perhaps a tip of the hat to millions of teachers who shifted to in-person education of children when the pandemic struck: from face-to-face at School building to face-to-device, and now in a phygital manner, trying to make the best of both worlds.
- Delighted to hear about quantitatively strengthening of schools and Higher-ed
- The first Budget proposed under Amrit Kaal is revolutionary in many ways and encompasses 3 major themes: care, green, and digital. Again, a theme which concurs with most Schools where there has been impetus on SDG (Sustainable development goals), SEL (socio-emotional learning) and 21st century skills with focus on digital.
- I do believe that we have capabilities in the country to provide learning & development of the highest level, at par with anywhere in the world. Glad that FM spoke about upskilling of teachers, the most essential element of the pedagogical interactions at Schools.
- There is spending in this Budget. We require that. I had said recently that it would take a brave FM to outlay 6% of GDP to education. Notably, this is the highest allocation granted to the ministry ever. School Education Department’s outlay stands at ₹68,804.85 crore, while the Higher Education Department has been allocated ₹44,094.62 crore, a positive step, and hopefully we’ll come close to the desired spending levels.
- Even to meet the requirements as laid out in the NEP2020, there is infrastructure required. For sustainability and growth, there are investments required. Being the year that was with the schools just coming out of pandemic, uncertainty looming large and schools progressively marching towards Next-Gen learning, there have been massive expenses and even greater revenue losses. The strange stance taken by certain segments of society not paying fees has hurt millions of educators and schools whose livelihood depends on the fees payment by parents.
- The Indian education system has always complained about the non-availability of quality teachers. The current impetus on recruiting a large number of teachers and creating a sustainable teachers’ training programme equipping them with multilateral skills will go a long way in improving the quality of education in Indian schools.
- Focus on culture of reading is a game changer, and a nod to the emerging AI tools with ‘Make AI work for India’. Nationwide apprenticeship program, PMKVY 4.0 will empower and inspire countless young people.
- I was hoping for greater collaborations of Government with private players, focus on governance, and ease of running that will be beneficial to the sector. Perhaps skilling focus is a step in the right direction with more to come.
I am a strong believer that the future of the country is knowledge-led, technology-enabled, with more and more communication in vernacular languages. Most of the good, some of the expectations lacking, but an aspirational budget with focus on growth. Greater collaborations with private players, focus on governance, and ease of running is beneficial to the sector. Overall, a 7.5/10 budget, plus brownie points for the FM for focus on reading, upskilling, and AI!”
Dr. Prabhat Ranjan, Vice Chancellor, D Y Patil International University (DYPIU), Akurdi, Pune says, “We are in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it has now moved from the hands of experts to common people with generative AI e.g ChatGPT. I am happy to see the Govt focus on AI by setting up 3 centres of excellence. India is a country of diversity and I am happy to see National Digital Library playing an important role cutting across geographies, languages, genres and levels and making learning possible for all. More work needs to happen in this area. Use of ICT for teachers training is a crucial step to transform teachers in view of the fast changes happening. This would also be needed for transforming industrial workforce. Increase in the number of nursing colleges co-located with medical colleges would help with availability of trained nurses that are not only needed for India but whole world. I would have loved to see an announcement related to Integrated Medical colleges that covers wide spectrum of medical system in a holistic way.”
Joy Chakraborty, COO, P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Center shares his views by saying, “The increased focus on medical education through setting up of new nursing colleges and multidisciplinary courses for medical devices is a welcome move. This will help in improving our nurse-to-patient ratio and also add to the resource pool of skilled healthcare technicians. India is moving towards increased adoption of technology in healthcare and the creation of AI-based centre of excellence for healthcare will be fruitful in accelerating this trend. The focus on R&D in drugs and pharmaceuticals has potential to spur innovation, make India a global leader in this field. The mission to eliminate sickle anaemia laudable and much needed for the country. This program can play a critical role in the development and implementation of future programs focused on the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases that are expected to contribute more than 75% of India’s burden by 2025. Focus on Green Growth and Urban Sanitization are good preventive measures to improve the overall health of the people. Since Tourism is given importance, hopefully the Medial Value Tourism will also get some boost in its business. However, the industry was expecting a lot more in terms of tax incentives and exemptions, health insurance coverage to reduce the overall cost of healthcare for the patients along with increased exemption for preventive health check-ups.”
Amol Arora, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools says, “Budget 2023 is a major impetus to India’s Education Sector. The education sector has received its highest-ever allocation this time, which is great. After nearly three years of massive disruption caused by the pandemic, the country’s education sector needed a boost and budget 2023 is a step in that direction, with primary focus on digitalization of education and upskilling the youth. The budget also talked about a National Digital Library, which I believe will immensely help making e-learning and education accessible to all. Acknowledging the need for effective teacher training and building resilient mechanisms in education delivery is also a step in the right direction, especially keeping in mind the paradigm shift in education.”
Prof. Anand Bhalerao, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Rajasthan says, “The highest-ever allocation of INR 1.12 lakh crore in the Union Budget 2023 will be a boon for the education sector. The allocation of ₹44,094.62 crores for higher education, a rise of 7.9% as compared to last year will certainly enhance the implementation of NEP 2020. Focus on upskilling the youth and increased digitalization will make higher education more accessible. This would provide an impetus to transform India into a technology driven knowledge-based economy. Skilling, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem will boost the youth empowerment and we can fulfil our dream of having a Future ready India.”
Dr Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson, KiiT International School says, “They have increased the allocation for Digital access to Education, Digital Library that is an important aspect of the NEP, particularly post pandemic. The Union Budget addresses the important issue of professional development and recruitment of teachers with the announcement of the District Institutes of Education and Training and the proposal to recruit over 38,800 teachers in Eklavya model residential schools. The vision of the National Education Policy 2020 to make education equitable and inclusive will be furthered with the setting up of the National Digital Library for children and adolescents along with physical libraries at panchayats and wards, as recommended in the budget. This move shall make learning content accessible to millions of needy learners across the country.”
Dr Aloke Mullick, Group CEO, OMNI Hospitals, Hyderabad says, “The Indian Budget 2023 has been a major focus for the healthcare industry as it looks to make strides in providing quality health care services and access to medical facilities. This year’s budget includes several highlights that will have a significant impact on India’s healthcare sector. Firstly, the government has allocated Rs 2.87 lakh crore towards health infrastructure, including setting up of new hospitals and primary health centres across India. This is an increase of over 25% from last year’s budget allocation for this purpose and will help ensure better access to medical care across the country.
Secondly, there is also an emphasis on improving rural health systems with more than Rs 35,000 crores being set aside for this purpose alone which includes opening new rural dispensaries as well as strengthening existing ones by augmenting staff strength and equipment availability at these centres too. Additionally, funds are also being allocated towards training doctors, nurses, paramedics etc who can provide basic level healthcare in villages where no other options exist currently.
Finally, another significant highlight of this years’ budget was its focus on mental wellbeing with special attention given to creating awareness about mental illness among people living in both urban & rural areas. The government plans to allocate around 1,500 crores toward developing specialized institutions dedicated solely towards treating patients suffering from psychological ailments like depression or anxiety disorders etc along with launching various public campaigns aimed at decreasing stigma associated with such illnesses within society today. All these measures taken together should go a long way in ensuring that everyone regardless of their socio-economic background gets access to good quality treatment when needed without any discrimination whatsoever!”
Prof. Dr. B. Sendilkumar, Dean & Director -Allied Health Sciences, VinayakaMissions Research Foundation-Deemed to be University, Salem says, “Amrit Kaal- What a broad-spectrum budget. It is such an attractive budget that has encompassed all important sector that requires immediate attention for a sustainable future. The allotment of 20L crore towards Agriculture credit is sure to boost the morale of our farmers and to support them with the digital platform is a great venture. Another highlight in the agriculture sector is the Accelerator fund that would motivate the younger generation to take up farming. Focus towards tier 2 and tier 3 cities for Urban Infrastructure through Urban Infrastructure Development Fund is a welcome move that would also ensure employability of many youth in these cities. PMKVY4.0, Unity Malls, Tourism will pave way for betterment and improvisation of livelihood of Youngsters in even small districts. The allocated Rs.112898.97crore towards education sector would help in implementing Central sector scheme and projects of School education and will also drive Implementation of NEP 2020 in a faster and effective pace. Overall the budget does look like being futuristic for the growth and sustainability.”
Neha Lal, GM – Healthcare, Adani Health Venture Ltd. says, “In G20 era, Budget 2023-24 has set all pathways and provide a strong boost for the country to achieve universal health coverage and strong Indian healthcare ecosystem. The significance of Healthcare is very well witnessed in increased budget allocation post pandemic. Dedicated and special multi-disciplinary courses and 157 new nursing colleges would address the dire need of trained healthcare professionals and also hit the brain – drain situations. Focus given on digitization to facilitate enhanced healthcare delivery to have eased accessibility to crucial healthcare solutions is noteworthy and appreciative. Major rise in Ayush system would support cost effective AYUSH services as in integrated approach in National Health ecosystem, along with encouraged collaborative research and innovations. We are optimistic to experience the newer platforms, promised in this year budget which pave the ways for the nation to grow and achieve PM’s vision to make India a DEVELOPED Country in upcoming year.”