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Will the Union Budget 2021 promote quality education?

Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman at the Parliament House to present the General Budget 2021-22
Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman along with the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Singh Thakur arrives at Parliament House to present the General Budget 2021-22

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ believes that the Union Budget 2021-22 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will go a long way to bring transparency and promote quality education.

Like him there are many who believe that the budget will give a new thrust to the New Education Policy.

Pokhriyal highlighted that the Budget allocation for the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS), has been substantially increased from Rs. 175 Cr to Rs. 500 Cr in FY 2021-22 for providing post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders in Engineering.

According to him the outlay of Rs. 50,000 Cr for National Research Foundation (NRF) over the next 5 years will give a major boost to innovation and R&D.

Here is what the opinion leaders in the field of education have to say about Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s third budget in a row.  

Aman Mittal, Additional Director, International Affairs, Lovely Professional University

“As expected, this year the budget has focused on healthcare and economy. For the education sector, the move to set-up Higher Education Commission which would be an umbrella body enabling standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding institutions, is a welcome step to bring transparency and promote quality education. Hope this single body regulation regime will pace up the development of the higher education sector in the country. It’s great to see the NEP implementation plan thought about in the budget and there is a direction being provided for the school education though a similar direction in higher education would have been a welcome move. A special mention about languages is a welcome move to unite the country and share the knowledge which is scattered all across in various languages at present.  Also, I sincerely hope that the National Research Foundation with an outlay of 50,0000 crores will give grants only on merit and private universities. Overall, it’s a budget as expected in these times but I hope that as the budget session progresses we have more clarity on the impact on the higher education sector as well.”

Dr. Anunaya Chaubey Provost, Anant National University 

“I found the focus of the budget on effective implementation of new education policy to be reassuring. The proposal for the higher education commission as an umbrella organization having four dedicated bodies for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding will bring focus on performance and bring clarity to institutions seeking help from the government. The creation of city-based structures to create synergies among higher education institutions located in a city which is also supported by a glue grant is an innovative step. I hope Ahmedabad will be one of the cities selected for the benefit as it has a large number of old and new educational institutions. The continuing commitment to National Research Foundation with the allocation of 50,000 crores over next five years will provide a thrust to the strengthening of the research ecosystem in India. Overall I find the budget to be forward-looking that continues to build upon past work and create new and facilitating structures that will help implementation of the new education policy”

Rishab Mehta, CEO & Founder, GrayQuest an education-focused Fintech startup 

“This year’s Union Budget was in the spirit of “do no harm” in terms of any adverse policies being implemented. Broadly, the various decisions laid out in this year’s budget are more “incremental” rather than “transformational” in nature. Accessibility and affordability of education across the weaker economic strata of society has been a perennial challenge in our country, especially this year with the disparity increasing manifold due to lack of online education infrastructure both at school and student level. This year’s budget has indicated a good intention of progress in addressing this gap. Government’s decision to strengthen over 15,000 schools under NEP, set up 100 new Sainik Schools, raise the allocation for ‘Eklavya’ schools in hilly areas etc. will provide a fillip to quality education.

This budget has also laid down several measures which are further boosting the cause of both startups and especially fintech startups. Once again, we believe the steps taken relating to startups, although incremental, point towards a long term policy goal of the government to significantly boost the sector via favourable policies, albeit with incremental steps taken every year instead of a big-bang transformational reform. The decision to extend capital gains tax exemption by another year is another step in that respect. Specific to fintech, the setting up a world-class Fintech hub at Gift city will add impetus and government recognition to the growing relevance of Fintech companies in India, which is essential considering that it is a regulated sector.”

Rajeev Tiwari, Founder, STEMROBO Technologies, STEM Education company for K-12 students

In the Union Budget, to promote Startup – announcement of Incorporation of One Person Company, Easing of Definition of Small Company from the point of view Corporate Law Compliance is a welcome step. Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr and boost Innovation Culture in startups.

Announcement of Non-Auditing of Income Tax till 10 Cr and allowing Startups to claim IT Exemption and Capital Gains for 1 more Year will ease the Compliance Burden of Startups and help in raising more funds.

NEP (New Education Policy) has been given a thrust in the budget. The plan to set up 15000 Pilot Schools as a showcase for NEP, which can be exemplary for other schools, is a welcome step and will lead to promoting NEP in the School Ecosystem. Tribal School-Eklavya Schools with newer allocation – will spur further development of education in tribal areas. Allocation of the National Apprenticeship Scheme for 3000 Cr and increasing the contours of it will benefit companies.

Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr for the next 6 Years. 

Anoop Gautam, CEO & Co-founder, Tinker Coders (An online coding platform for K-12 students)

The unprecedented contractions put forth by the Covid-19 crisis have changed the economic aspects, entirety. Many changes were incorporated keeping in mind the challenges being faced by people at the grass-roots level. The startup industry, Edtech space too witnessed contractions and flattening of the curve in terms of growth and expansion. However, the recovery and normalcy rate has improved to a larger extent keeping in mind the implications of the pandemic.

Union Budget 2021 has focused on strengthening 15000 schools with all the components of NEP as a pilot project. Also, skill enrichment programs will be initiated in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates which will bring new opportunities for the youth of our country. FM Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman also mentioned initializing a collaborative training program with Japan, which will be launched for more countries as well in the upcoming future. This year’s Union Budget has focused primarily on innovation and research development, therefore it has become even important for the students in the K-12 segment to enhance their 21 st -Century skills to become skill-efficient in this tech-led generation. For startups, the government has proposed to reduce the margin money requirement from 25% to 15%. This will open a new door of opportunities for startups in upscaling their businesses. The government has also doubled the fund allocation for MSMEs, to a whopping 15,700 crores for FY22.

Abhishek Gupta, Founder and CEO, Hex N Bit – an ed-tech platform that provides one-stop solutions in Industry-Connect Skill Development Courses

We welcome the budget for 2021. With an increase in the MSME budget of Rs 15,700 crore, which is more than double of the previous year, can help the startups as well as MSME but as seen there are approximately 50k startups in India, so a big boost was expected in investment

In the National apprenticeship training scheme–the Indian government has now allocated Rs. 3,000 Cr. for National apprenticeship which will create a Skilled & talented workforce with the bilateral partnership with United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide training, certification, assessments etc. India will collaborate with Japan to adopt cutting edge technology, technique & vocational programs for scaling up the technology in India to newer heights

The government of India has proposed the budget of Rs 50K crore over 5 years for innovation & R&D. There will be an expectation from the Government to spend setting up the Innovation lab focusing on the technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Data analytics, etc. which can showcase the solution to most of the problem statement in most of the field including medical, agriculture, defence or any natural disaster

As proposed by FM, capital expenditure is now increased to Rs. 5.54 Lakh crore from Rs. 4.39 Lakh crore, hopefully, the state & centre will invest a considerable amount for digital connectivity, high-speed internet at an affordable rate as well as learning assets in a remote location so that aspirants can learn new-age technology to build New India. Even after the economic crisis due to Covid-19, an increase in capital expenditure with such a high number must be appreciated.

Boost to start-up hub in India, as proposed by FM, there will be a plan to enforce incentives incorporation of one-person companies without any restriction on paid-up capital. Can set up this company in 180 days.

Sumeet Jain, Co-founder, Yocket, the largest platform for students planning to study abroad

Nothing concrete has been mentioned about higher education in the budget. Only setting up of Higher Education Commission via legislation was mentioned. But no mention about the budget allocation or how the implementation of the NEP for higher education.

It will be interesting to see the details of the new law to set up the Higher Education Commission. With such a huge population, education is of prime importance if we don’t want to see joblessness grow in the coming times. However, a 50,000 Cr. for research initiatives is a welcome move. Research needs a big boost and this might be a good start. If we need to strengthen our education system, research will be extremely important.

Gaurav Bhagat, Founder, Gaurav Bhagat Academy- one of Asia’s largest sales training and business mentorship academy

The Union Budget 2021 presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman represents the strong vision of the nation. It emphasizes good infrastructure, good governance, development, effective implementation of New Education Policy, International Research Collaboration, and Higher Education Commission, which is commendable.

The government is also amending the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme was launched in the year 2016. Thanks to this amendment, students, graduates in engineering, and diplomas will be given Apprenticeship Training after they complete their studies. The government has allocated Rs 3 thousand crores towards this purpose which shows how seriously the government is taking the apprenticeship programs. This step will greatly support the development of the youth. The country’s workforce has also been informed of an inter-training program with Japan. This collaboration will equip Indian workers with global trade skills. According to the Finance Minister, similar programs will be conducted in collaboration with many other countries as well. Groundwork has already been laid on one such training partnership with the UAE. By 2024, around 1.5 lakh jobs would have been announced in the shipyard.

The Finance Minister has also said that the government will reduce its presence in the public sector and increase investment opportunities for the private sector. This will lead to increased efficiency, capital inclusion, expansion of trade network, increase in FDI, technological adoption, and upskilling of the workforce – eventually creating a stronger, more resilient economy.

(Gaurav has been a member of CII for 6 years and has also been elected to the state council. He has also served on several regional committees of CII)

Keshav Maheshwari, Whole-Time executive of Allen Career Institute 

“The union budget 2021 presented by Finance Minister Ms Nirmala has brought in an extension to the Prime Minister’s movement in empowering the educational framework of the nation. The increased allocation of funds (FY20 Rs Crore – 94853.64 to FY21 Rs Crore 99311.52) will ensure better quality schools that would educate and eradicate illiteracy in a majority of the states. The announcement to set up 750 Eklavya schools will help create a positive ecosystem for Education in India

The emphasis on skill development in partnership with the United Arab Emirates and Japan to promote industrial & vocational skills, techniques, and knowledge is a major boost for the sector. The realignment of the existing scheme of national apprenticeship training scheme for providing post-education apprenticeship training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering over 3000 crores will pave way for better employability in National and international markets. With the proposed Higher Education Commission, primed to transform the higher education system it will boost the quality of higher education and will also serve as a stepping stone to establishing India “a hub of higher education” across the globe.”

Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau is a team of seasoned journalists led by Neeraj Mahajan. Trusted by millions readers worldwide.

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