Union Budget 2016: Mixed reaction from education sector

The Union Budget 2016: Education experts say that the Budget may score good points in some parts but it is a disappointment for education sector at least

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: March 1, 2016 6:12 pm
budgetreaction759 Some pressing issues such as permitting ECB in building education infrastructure, ushering reforms to attract foreign investment, promoting online and virtual education, wide-spread coverage and removing service tax incidence on input services have not been suitably addressed in the budget. (PTI photo)

‘Budget would benefit students and financing system’

The proposed higher education financing agency would be an economic spring for the Indian education sector. With the banks finding it difficult to manage the NPAs from the education loans, setting up a dedicated agency would give the thrust that is needed today – it should benefit both the students as well as the financing system.

The announcement an enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching institutions should be acclaimed for two key reasons. First, it seeks to recognise the role of private sector in the education sector – not all world-class institutions that emerge from India need to be publicly funded.

Watch Budget 2016: Editors First Take on Arun Jaitley’s Announcements

Second, and more importantly, it stresses the importance of teaching. Often, in most higher education institutions, research gets top priority. However, it is just a fraction of students in the higher education system that go into research. For the vast majority of the students who prepare for careers in the industry, inspired teaching would be like a spark in a powder keg.”
Prof. Thillai Rajan, IIT Madras


‘Indian Education needs much more than allocated’
India may be lagging behind in the UN Human Development Index, 2015, but Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, does not show adequate commitment and financial allocation towards this malady. The United Nations Human Development Report, 2015 has ranked India on 130th position among 188 nations listed in the UN HD Index. Among BRICS countries, India is left behind by Russia, Brazil, China and South Africa.

In the 2016-17, Budget presented in Lok Sabha today there is no announcement about any massive outlay for education, health and social welfare. Creation of a Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) has been announced with a fund of Rs 1,000 crore. It looks that it will be mostly used for redressal of the problems of students seeking educational loan. Current outstanding educational loans may be around Rs.50,000 crore. It is not clear that how a fund of Rs.1,000 crore will resolve the massive requirements of educational loans.

It has been said that 62 more Navodaya Vidyalayalayas will be opened and a digital literacy scheme for rural India will be started. There are no indications how millions of government schools will be improved to provide quality school education. Right To Education (RTE) was launched in 2009 with lot of noble expectations, but the RTE scheme is losing its steam due to half-hearted implementation and lackluster execution.

During XII FYP, it was expected that Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Rashitriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) will lift our school education and higher education from the current stagnancy and will help our schools, universities and colleges to attain respectable standards. The budget proposal does not talk about RTE, RMSA and RUSA. Should we assume that now these schemes do not constitute our national will to ameliorate our education system?

NDA Government has been giving emphasis on skill development since its formation; a provision of Rs 1,700 crore has been made for setting up 1,500 multi skill training institutes. It has been announced that 10 million youth will be provided skill training under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) during 2016-19. A Digital Literacy Scheme has also been announced in the budget to cover 60 million additional households.

To conclude, it can be said that the Union Budget has missed another opportunity to lift Human Development Score of India by infusing sufficient funds for schools and higher education. Indian youth is under tremendous pressure due to lack of jobs which is an outcome of poor employability prevailing in our education system. The Union Budget may score good points in some parts but it is a disappointment for education sector at least.

Dr H Chaturvedi, BIMTECH


‘Setting up of a Rs 1,000 crore fund for improvement of infrastructure in higher education institutions are commendable decisions’
Increased focus on quality and access have been the underlying theme for the education and skill development sector in this year’s budget. The announcement of a scheme to transform 10 chosen public & private institutions to emerge world class teaching & research institutions and setting up of a Rs 1,000 crore fund for the improvement of infrastructure in higher education institutions are commendable decisions. Although, the actual impact may not be that significant given the restricted coverage & quantum of the proposed scheme/fund.

In case of skilling, the government has decided to set up 1,500 Multi Skill Training Institutes across the country & a board for certification purposes. Hopefully, formally skilled youth will be recognised for employment purposes in public & private sector. The impetus provided towards job creation and setting up of model career centers are also welcomed decisions.

Some pressing issues such as permitting ECB in building education infrastructure, ushering reforms to attract foreign investment, promoting online and virtual education, wide-spread coverage and removing service tax incidence on input services have not been suitably addressed in the budget.”

Rohin Kapoor, Director, Deloitte in India


‘Budget allocation of Rs 68,968 crore will play a significant role in the inclusion of entire education sector’

To realise the full potential of the demographic dividend that India is set to enjoy, and to prevent from that becoming a demographic liability, we need to find suitable avenues for employment and self-employment, through the focus on skill-development. We strongly believe that skill and aptitude identification and development has to start in schools itself. Teachers also have to be trained accordingly, something that is missed out in this year’s budget.

The total allocation of Rs 68,968 cr will play a significant role in the inclusion of entire education sector from secondary schools to higher education and research centers. However, we could have had a more active engagement with the private sector which currently contributes well over 40 per cent of K-12 education in India.

Lastly, the concern on quality education and learning outcomes will increase the focus on infrastructure development. Since the government has promised to increase the number of IITs, AIIMS and other professional institutes, maintaining the quality will be yet another challenge. However, we believe the allocation in the Budget for higher education will go a long way towards resolving this problem.
Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd.


‘Digital literacy scheme is a good step’

Development of world-class teaching institutions is a good step from the Government. So is the promotion of literacy in the rural population through the Digital literacy scheme.

We hardly have any university in top 500 universities of the world. We have a serious dearth of original research and focus on such area is forthcoming.

Entrepreneurship training to be provided across schools, colleges and massive online courses: MOOC is the need of the hour. There are already plethora of educational content. But the key problem is quality, duration and relevance. We think that focus should always be on high quality, short duration educational video which can be consumed in a matter of few minutes and not hours.

Gaurav Munjal, Unacademy


‘Policy makers have responded well to the collective vision of a modern and educated India’
It is heartening to find education listed amongst the ‘9 pillars’ identified by the FM for this year’s Budget. The specific to education announcements seem pragmatic and progressive – digital literacy for 6 crore rural households combined with the promise of 100 per cent electrification will provide impetus to knowledge dissemination efforts in sub-urban parts of India. Large outlays for skill development will resonate with India’s youth seeking to improve their employability quotient.

The Higher Education sector which has been sluggish for past few years will get a much-needed stimulus through the appointment of the proposed financing agency. I think the policy makers have responded well to the collective vision of a modern and educated India.

Sivaramakrishnan V, MD Oxford University Press


‘Focus on higher education to help in new job creations’

The annual budget has a lot of focus on skilling, new job creation and research-focused higher education which would help in new job creations both in manufacturing and service sector. The greater focus on training and entrepreneurship, especially in the rural sector, will help in faster economic revival and overall development.
Nikhil Mahajan, ED & CFO, CL Educate


‘Schemes for promotion of digital literacy is a great initiative’

We welcome the budget proposals of 2016-17 aimed at promoting skill development, achieving higher literacy and boosting education sector in the country.

The budget delivers on the expectations of the education sector and recognises the role it can play in realising the demographic dividend of India for inclusive development.

We are thrilled with the government’s decision to open Multi Skilled Development Institute and Higher Education Financing agency with Rs1,000 cr capital.

The finance minister’s decision to launch schemes to promote digital literacy is a great initiative and will go a long way in achieving inclusive growth and boosting economic activity in the country. The decision to boost Pradhan Manri Kaushal Vikash Yojana (PMVKY) takes away the concerns / addresses the concerns related to skill shortage.”

Neeraj Saxena, CEO, Avanse Financial Services Ltd