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Education budget

Union Budget 2024-25: Reactions from the education sector

February 1, 2024

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 presented the interim budget 2024-25. With this being the last budget before the upcoming general elections, expectations were high from stakeholders. In response to the Union Budget 2024-25, education industry leaders have expressed a mix of optimism and cautious enthusiasm. The proposed allocations for the education sector, including the establishment of new medical colleges and a heightened focus on upskilling and youth employment, have garnered appreciation. Leaders acknowledge the potential positive impact on the overall educational landscape, emphasizing the importance of aligning educational policies with emerging industry demands.

However, some express a need for more detailed insights into specific reforms and strategies to address the broader challenges facing the sector. As the budget unfolds, education leaders anticipate a more comprehensive understanding of the government’s vision for shaping the future of education in the country.

“The transformative impact of the National Education Policy 2020, Prime Minister Shri’s commitment to quality education, and the tangible outcomes of the Skill India Mission underscores the government’s dedication to shaping a skilled and educated workforce. The establishment of numerous institutions, and universities, reflects a commitment to higher education. PM Mudra Yojana’s sanctioning of 43 crore loans, amounting to Rs. 22.5 lakh crore, is a significant boost for the entrepreneurial aspirations of our youth. Furthermore, the inclusion of women in this transformative journey is noteworthy. With 30 crore MUDRA Yojana loans given to woman entrepreneurs, female enrollment in higher education rising by 28% in a decade, and 43% representation in STEM courses, India is witnessing a positive shift. These advancements are clearly mirrored in the increasing participation of women in the workforce, paving the way for a more inclusive and empowered future.” – Radhika Shrivastava, Executive Director, Fortune Institue of International Business

“As an educational institution, we applaud the government’s focus on skill development highlighted in the budget. The Skill India Mission, having trained 1.4 crore youth, upskilled and reskilled 54 lakh youth, and established 3000 new ITIs, aligns with our commitment to fostering a skilled and empowered workforce. Furthermore, the budget’s focus on promoting entrepreneurship through schemes like PM Mudra Yojana, Fund of Funds, Start-Up India and Start-Up Credit Guarantee is a testament to the government’s dedication to fostering an environment conducive to entrepreneurial aspirations. The recognition of the transformative impact of new-age technologies and data, coupled with the emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, resonates well with the educational landscape. The allocation of a one lakh crore corpus for long-term, low-interest loans to encourage private sector research and innovation in sunrise domains is a positive step towards nurturing a culture of research and development among our tech-savvy youth. Our vision for ‘Viksit Bharat’ is of a Prosperous Bharat in harmony with nature, featuring modern infrastructure and providing opportunities for all citizens and regions to reach their potential. However, realizing this vision depends on implementing growth and development-enabling reforms at the state level. The budget underscores the need for concerted efforts and reforms in each state to transform this vision into reality. Navigating the post-budget landscape, we remain hopeful for collaborative initiatives that will propel this vision into action.” – Vishnu Manchu, Pro-Chancellor, Mohan Babu University

“The interim budget addresses the aspirations of four crucial segments of India: the poor, women, youth, and farmers. Despite being an interim budget, it includes several noteworthy announcements poised to have a positive impact on the innovation and startup ecosystem. A substantial corpus of Rs 1 Lakh Crore providing a 50-year interest-free loan for long-term financing or re-financing, featuring low or even nil interest rates, will help the youth innovate especially in deep tech and sunrise sectors. This will encourage businesses to make substantial research and development efforts, in technologies such as 5G, and generative AI to name a few. This budgetary allocation will not only boost skill development of the youth but also foster industry academia collaboration, which will eventually  transform the research landscape of the Higher Education institutions. Furthermore, as observed in previous budgets, the tax benefits for startups, including certain sovereign wealth fund investments, and grants exemptions for businesses in GIFT City until 31st March, 2025, are a welcome move as it will boost the investment ecosystem. In essence, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget on 1st February, presents a promising trajectory toward realising the Viksit Bharat dream.” – Dr Dhara Thakore, Head Incubation and Office of Career Services, Anant National University

The budget’s focus on buoying rural consumption by raising agricultural credit limits and PM Kisan payouts can unlock major growth opportunities for ecommerce companies in tier 2/3 regions. More money with rural consumers may drive online purchases of goods beyond just necessities. – Abbhinav R Jain, CFO, AdCounty Media

While no major direct policy incentives were introduced for retail, income tax tweaks can improve sentiment and spending among urban middle income groups who form the core buying class for branded merchandise. – Raghunandan Saraf, Founder and CEO, Saraf Furniture

The interim budget speech glaringly missed the opportunity to extend supportive policies specifically around furthering digital infrastructure and online consumer adoption. This remains imperative for deepening ecommerce reach across India’s villages. – Tejpal Singh Shekhawat, founder & CEO of Kalyanam Furniture

While certainly not a watershed event, the budget reaffirms the government’s growth orientation amid a volatile global environment. The implied backdrop of stability and policy continuity remains a net positive for consumer facing sectors like retail and ecommerce in the long run. – Zameer Malik, CEO, Kulsum’s Kaya Kalp

Clarity around potential crowding out effects of rising public capital expenditure will be key to assess implications on private corporate expenditure. If businesses delay spending to watch fiscal deficits, advertising and technology investments by ecommerce firms may take a hit. – Sahil Arya, co-founder of Fat Tiger

Measures aimed at improving women’s participation in the rural workforce are a positive signal. More working women with financial autonomy can contribute significantly to the rise of women shoppers buying online, an important demographic. – Ridhima Kansal, director of Rosemoore

“The proposals put up for “Empowering the Women” under the Budget 2023-2024 through various policies is a great step towards the women’s empowerment and country’s development. With the introduction of the empowerment of women through entrepreneurship, there has been momentum in the ease of living and dignity of women in society for the last ten years. The 30 crore Mudra Yojana loan sanctioned made education affordable even for female students from weaker backgrounds. This has increased female enrollment in higher education by 28% in the last decade. Especially in STEM courses, the enrollment of girls and women has risen to 43%, one of the world’s highest contributions. This opened gates to increase the participation of women in the workforce. On the other hand, making Triple Talaq illegal, reserving one-third for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and giving over 70% of houses under PM Awas Yojana in rural areas to women as sole or joint owners have enhanced their dignity. Thus, as a woman, I can see the benefits and the opportunities the Government is bringing up to lead more women to fulfil their dreams. Empowering the Amrit Peedi – Yuva” by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Gradding.com founder, Mamta Shekhawat, shared her views on this initiation. “This policy focuses on better quality teaching and nurturing holistic and well-rounded individual learning. The students can access high-quality education from top-quality institutions to build a better foundation. Easy funding options allow students from less privileged backgrounds to achieve their dreams of studying at the best universities. For the new development, the Government focuses on Governance, development and Performance for an all-round development. Thus, this can be a golden era for students as well.” – Mamta Shekhawat, founder, Gradding.com.

“The government has given due importance to skilling, entrepreneurship and startups in India, not to mention creating employment opportunities for the youth and I commend the government’s budget speech for focusing on the empowerment of marginalized groups.  By prioritizing the needs of the poor, women, youth, and farmers, we are taking crucial steps towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society. The emphasis on skill upliftment through training programs for 1.4 million youth is a testament to our commitment to fostering a uniquely skilled workforce for the future, something that will only serve to contribute to our ever-growing economy. These initiatives align perfectly with the objectives set forth in the National Education Policy 2020, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have on India’s educational landscape. However, to truly realize the transformative potential of the National Education Policy 2020 and achieve the ambitious vision of Viksit Bharat 2047, I urge for a more substantial allocation in the education sector. This should include a heightened investment in research and development, particularly in design education, and a bolstering of technological resources. Only through such concerted efforts can we pave the way for a truly Viksit Bharat.” – Shobhit Mathur, VC and CoFounder, Rishihood University.

“The Education Ministry received its highest-ever allocation, with the combined outlay of its two departments totaling Rs 1,12,898.97 crore. However, the persisting issue of unemployable youth necessitates urgent attention. We must refocus on aligning education with market demands to ensure our youth not only receive an education but are equipped with practical skills, contributing meaningfully to our nation’s progress.” – Anthony Fernandes Founder Shaalaa.com.

“The government’s proactive establishment of new AIIMS Medical Colleges reflects a significant leap toward advancing healthcare accessibility. This visionary step not only extends the reach of medical education but also underscores a dedicated effort to strengthen our healthcare infrastructure. In acknowledging this commendable initiative, there is a hopeful anticipation that the government’s vision transcends mere expansion. We look forward to the implementation of robust setups aimed at facilitating the upskilling of medical professionals, fostering an environment conducive to continuous learning, and ultimately improving patient outcomes.” – Balu Ramachandran Founder at OC Academy.

As India stands poised to become a knowledge economy, the 2024 budget has focused on national skill development. This is a welcome move as it would train students to learn and master skills in multiple domains. This will also enable greater confidence among students and get them ready to face new challenges. However, we could have had a significant allocation for the education sector as it determines how effectively the nation equips future generations with knowledge needed to thrive in an ever-evolving world. The education sector is the foundation of the country’s economic and social development and reflects innovation and adaptability. There could have been redistribution of resources for different sectors of education and some specific areas of favourable allocation could have included : expansion of infrastructure for education, expansion of scholarships and other financial aid programs for students from economically weaker sections of society, implementation of new pedagogical methods, strengthening of vocational training programs to equip students with industry-relevant skills. There is a need to upscale the education system to attract more foreign students to the country and India should be promoted as a global study destination. Looking ahead, we must strive to ensure that the learning experience remains meaningful and enriching. – Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore.

“Empowering women in the workforce isn’t just about gender equality; it’s about harnessing the full potential of our societies. Thirty crore Mudra Yojana loans have been given to women entrepreneurs in the country so far. It is wonderful to see that female enrolment in higher education has witnessed a steady uptick in the last 10 years with an increase of twenty-eight percent. In STEM courses, girls and women constitute forty-three percent of enrolment – one of the highest in the world. All these measures are reflected in the increasing participation of women in the workforce. In the childcare sector, accelerated efforts will also be made to enhance Anganwadi centers through the ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0’ initiative, focusing on enhancing nutrition delivery and early childhood care and development. This will have a significant impact on the country’s future as early childhood is a critical period for brain development, and investing in quality care and development during this time sets a strong foundation for future learning, health, and wellness which will ensure a better and stronger tomorrow for the kids in the country.” – Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, leading parenting coach, Founder of Get Set Parent, and Executive VP, of AISECT Group.

“In the face of Budget 2024, it’s imperative to recognize the phenomenal growth in India’s job market and entrepreneurial landscape. With the number of Income Tax Return filers more than doubling from 3.25 crore to 8.25 crore and startups growing from a few hundred to over one lakh, India’s economic fabric is being rewoven. At Arthan, our vision aligns with this growth trajectory, advocating for policies that further boost employment and skill development. As we gear up to support this dynamic shift, we remain committed to enhancing workforce capabilities and job opportunities, aligning with India’s ambitious journey towards becoming a $7 trillion economy by 2030.” – Satyam Vyas is the CEO & Founder of Arthan.

“This announcement charts a course for our nation into a transformative era of innovation and self-reliance. The creation of a one lakh crore corpus, bolstered by a fifty-year interest-free loan, heralds a renaissance for our tech-savvy youth. With long-term financing and low-interest rates, this initiative catalyzes a surge in research and innovation across sunrise domains, propelling our nation to new heights. The introduction of a scheme fortifying deep-tech for defense underscores our commitment to ‘atmanirbharta,’ solidifying our position as pioneers in technology and fortifying our national security in this network centric warfare. A monumental leap towards a future defined by ingenuity and resilience. Now we have entered in new era where policies are not caste or gender biased.” – Shishir Dixit, Chairman, Centurion Defense Academy.

“Setting up of new medical colleges will reinforce India’s objective of talent development in the healthcare space. Providing an impetus to develop research ecosystem in the country, a new corpus of 100,000 cr with 50-year interest free will be established. This will help private sector participation, including educational institutions, to do innovative research with focus on sunrise domain or sectors.” – Sahil Gupta, Partner, Deloitte India

” This budget exudes NDA government’s confidence while going into general election in few months from now. Populism has been shunned will prudence has been observed. The Ram temple wave has swayed the political dividend in favour of NDA which in turn gives the government some room to bring in fiscal discipline and boost economic development. A government maintaining fiscal discipline as per the envisaged glide path should be seen as a great virtue. Despite the fiscal discipline the government delivered the fastest GDP growth rate among large economies of the world. In order to maintain the strong growth momentum, the capex has been increased to a record of Rs 11.1 trillion. This comes to nearly 10 per cent increase from last year’s budget. As expected, the growth in capex has been slowed and more emphasize being given to agents of financial inclusivity – skill building; women; street vendors; farming community and handicapped. Electronic payment systems move the money faster. Three railway economic corridors – Energy, Minerals and Cement; Port connectivity; and high traffic density corridors will move goods and people faster. Together, when money, material and man travel faster the economic development happens faster. Emphasis on logistics is one of the pillars through which the government wishes to make India ‘viksit’ by 2047.” – Dr. VP Singh, Director – PGDM and Professor – Managerial Economics & Statistics, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.

“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.” – Alison Barrett MBE, Director India, British Council.

“Today’s budget, although a Vote of Account, is important for the policy directions provided were the government to come back to power in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. The biggest challenge today is to revive animal spirits and promote private investment. The FM has announced an increase in government outlay by 11.1% on capital expenditure. This together with a reduction in the Fiscal Deficit -government borrowings essentially — from 5.8% of GDP in 2023-24 to 5.1% of GDP in 2024-25, is expected to facilitate greater borrowings by private sector. Such capex had increased by 33% in the previous budget as well, however had not really spurred private investment. The challenge for the government will be to ensure private final consumption expenditure to increase and keep the inflation under control.” – Dr. Tulsi Jayakumar, Chairperson, Post Graduate Programme in Family Managed Business at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research.

“We applaud the Interim Budget for recognizing the powerful role that women will play for a Viksit Bharat by 2047. The landmark allocation of 30 crore MUDRA loans to women entrepreneurs will stimulate growth and usher in a transformative wave. Female enrolment and representation in STEM courses is already rising as noted by the Hon. Finance Minister and is a testament to overcoming of obstacles and promotion of diversity. Additionally, the establishment of a large number of institutes of higher learning further amplifies nation’s commitment to stimulating a robust educational landscape for all. We believe that these initiatives will not only ease the lives of women but also uphold their dignity, contributing to a more equitable and prosperous future for all.” Dr. Ananya Mukherjee, Vice-Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR.

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