Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her maiden budget speech on Friday where she laid down the plan for the implementation of the new National Education Policy which focuses on research for development. Of the total Rs 94,853.64 crore education budget, Rs 56, 536.63 crore has been pegged for school sector while Rs 38,317.01 crore has been allocated for higher education. A Higher Education Commission will soon be set up and major tax benefits for start-ups were also proposed.
Here is what education experts from various schools, universities, institutes and start-ups think about the new Union Budget 2019 for Education:
National Research Foundation
Manek Daruvala, Founder and Director, T.I.M.E.
“It is very heartening to note the increased focus to push research by setting up the ‘National Research Foundation’. India certainly has a lot of catching up to do on this front and one can only hope that the initiative is followed through with utmost rigour to ensure quick and fruitful results.”
Srini Raghavan, Founder and CEO, EI
“The National Research Foundation can be a game changer. However, there is a need for a higher focus on K 12 education. Unless we fix core issues in learning levels of school children – such as building foundational skills, tracking impact, board exam revamp, teacher training, etc. – initiatives at the higher education level will not yield desired results.”
Kanak Gupta, Director, Seth MR Jaipuria Schools
“The status of education is often a healthy predictor of the country’s overall development and well-being. I’m excited about the proposed setup of the National Research Foundation; this could be the game-changer.”
Prof. Vishwanathan Iyer, Professor & Associate Dean Academics, Tapmi
“Establishment of National Research Foundation to promote research in India is a great move to strengthen overall research ecosystem in the country. Research is one area where we have been lagging behind compared to the West and even China.”
Funds for World Class Institutions
Dr. Sandeep Pachpande, Chairman, Audyogik Shikshan Mandal (ASM) Group
“The proposed allocation of 400 crore to higher education institutes will help cater to many students across the country. However, the requirement is much more and we were expecting a larger percentage of the budget will be allocated for it. Though in the last four years the government has underspent the allocated budget for the sector, we are hoping the scenario will be different in FY20.”
Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bengaluru
“The government proposed a range of major changes for India’s education system in the budget and laid emphasis on the importance of not only providing literacy but improving the quality of education. The increased allocation of funds will ensure better quality government schools that educate majority of children in India.
This is a balanced budget as far as education sector is concerned. Overall, we feel that the measures taken should meet the expectations of the common man, which will lead to higher consumption, enhanced liquidity in the market, increase in investment and savings, imperative to fuel India’s growth engine.”
Study in India programme
Ravi Sreedharan, Founder, and Director, Indian School of Development Management (ISDM)
“The Indian education system has always lacked a global student mix. Study in India plan in order to bring foreign students will help in bringing the desired diversity in our education sector.”
Nilesh Gaikwad, Country Manager, EDHEC Business School
“It is heartening to see the government emphasise on skill-training through Skill Certification Schemes. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) will ensure our graduates are industry-ready. Special initiatives like ‘Study in India’ will attract foreign students, thus increasing awareness of the rich and diverse Indian culture.
In turn, such diversity within an average classroom will ensure Indian students become global-minded. Increasing the number of Indian Institutions within the top 200 global institutions will not only substantiate the presence of top foreign talent graduating from India but also give a shot-in-arm to the research activities within Indian educational institutions. Through GIAN initiative, the government is also working to bring the best of international talent pool to work with Indian institutions”.
Ankur Dhawan, COO, Buddy4Studdy
“Though the focus on ‘Study in India’ is good, it does not solve the urgent problems of lower enrollment in higher education as well as poor learning outcomes. The budget could have emphasized on leveraging more of CSR funds in education to cover insufficient budgetary allocations”
Amol Arora, MD – Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools
“A humble yet notable announcement in the Education Budget 2019 was the ‘Study in India’ programme, which holds the potential to put India on the world map. However, we still need a series of fundamental structural reforms – which I hope will be addressed in the near future”
Prof. Vishwanathan Iyer, Professor & Associate Dean Academics, Tapmi
“‘Study in India’ is expected to be a game changer in terms of bringing foreign students into Indian higher education system. While we have always aimed at ‘Internationalization’ of Indian students in higher education, it is time we started seeing ‘Indianization’ of International students in the higher education space.”
Major start-up benefits
Raman Roy, Founder, Quatrro & Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network
“The e-verification mechanism proposed by FM Nirmala Sitharaman is an enabling one for both start-ups and angel investors. This, coupled with the exclusion of start-ups and investors who file requisite declarations from tax scrutiny, is an uplifting step taken by the government. The ‘requisite declaration’ clause, though, requires a closer inspection. In any case, the overall development looks extremely optimistic for the Indian start-up ecosystem.”
Ashish Bhatia,Founder, India Accelerator
“In the Budget 2019-20, Hon’ble Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has duly tried to address some of concerns of Startup ecosystem. Easing of Angle tax issue is a step in right direction. Providing a platform like Shark Tank via a Doordarshan umbrella will also help many of the start ups, particularly in the early stages to raise funds and let the whole nation know about them.”
Arun Nagpal, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Mrida Group
“I am glad the FM has showcased Rural India, Start-ups, Women and Social Entrepreneurship, though it would have been good to see specific focus on job creation, and concrete steps to address rural distress, particularly for small and marginal farmers. The focus on SHGs and easy availability of credit will go a long way in ensuring that women develop as entrepreneurs.
Start-ups, especially in the social sector, should benefit from the proposed social stock exchange and will also have easier access to capital. Start-up taxation, up till now the elephant in the room, has also been clarified and dealt with.”
Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO, Adda247
“The government’s focus on research and innovation will lead to progress in the country and boost various start-ups. We are also very positive with regards to India’s start-up growth where India has become the 2nd largest hub for start-ups with our youth turning into job creators from seekers.
Promoting the concept of ‘Make in India’ and encouraging the concept of start-ups and proposing a method to establish and create awareness within the nation will be a good starting point.”
Rohit Manglik, CEO, EduGorilla
“A series of incentives accorded to start-ups in the Union Budget is a testimony to the government’s intent of fostering an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship in India. The move to set-up around 80 “livelihood business incubators” and 20 tech business incubators is commendable as it will boost entrepreneurship besides upskilling the workforce to meet demands of industry 4.0.
Furthermore, the easing of Angel Tax on Start-ups and the proposal to revamp the Labour Laws will improve the Ease of Doing Business in the Indian economy. The extension of Women SHG Interest Subvention Programme will boost women entrepreneurship.”
Kiran Dham, CEO & HR Head – Globus Infocom Limited
“We laud the budget presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman today and I believe it will have a positive impact on overall entrepreneurship and skills of woman in business. The biggest issue that woman entrepreneurs have been facing over the past decades is their lack of access to finance and markets to build businesses.
It has been witnessed that women do not get apt growth opportunities and nurturing in their early start-up phase. Therefore, the present proposal of the government through expanding various schemes capacities such as Self-help group, Mudra Scheme, Startup India, are well thought and will further encourage women to venture into businesses and prove their mettle on a global platform.”
Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder & CEO, Leverage Edu.
“In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued commitment towards fostering startups in India, we would love to see a vertical focus on the sector from the respective ministers, which will help us integrate with the broader economy and contribute to government goals in a far better way, and reducing GST to the 5% slab for education services.”
Sourav Jandial, Founder, Voyzapp.com
“We are thrilled with the government boost for the new-age start-ups. A specially dedicated TV programme for start-ups is something all start-ups shall look forward to. The programme may serve as a one-point information house for topics such as start-up funding, issues affecting growth, tax planning etc.”
Moonmoon Agarwal, Co-Founder and Director of Nmami Life
“Startups and the investors will not be challenged on the valuation of angel tax and this initiative is going to build a strong startup system. The issue of establishing of the identity of the investor will be resolved by an e-verification (faceless income tax assessment). A lot of relief from the income tax department for startups is going to boost and encourage young entrepreneurs. This will remove the element of discretion for startups.”
Chet Jainn, Founder and CEO, Crowdera
“In the Union Budget 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government will start an exclusive television programme for start-ups which will promote start-ups, discuss their growth, as well as funding and tax planning. This programme will be run by start-ups themselves which will help the new and emerging entrepreneurs of tier 2 and tier 3 cities of our country that don’t have access to events and meet-ups.”
New-age skill development
Ishan Gupta, MD, Udacity India
“The government’s focus on encouraging skill development and training in various tech-centric areas including Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics etc. is an extremely welcome step.
The field of AI and affiliated technologies is highly valued across the globe. The proposed measures will ensure that the next generation of students is job-ready for the high-value jobs that are rapidly emerging both in India and abroad.”
Divya Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Safeducate
“The government’s vision of Digital India and Start-up India is incomplete without able entrepreneurs who have both the vision as well as the skills to execute that vision. The finance minister’s move to have 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in India paves the way for this and will promote the development of cutting-edge and indigenous technological solutions, create high-tech jobs in India, upskill Indian professionals, and enable us to tap the ripening global market.”
Siddarth Bharwani, VP – Brand & Marketing, Jetking
“Focus has been laid on new age skills such as AI, IoT, Big Data and Robotics which are key demands in both national and international job markets. While the stepping stones to the importance of skill development in such fields have been laid, we are still awaiting further clarification on how this advanced skill development is to be achieved.”
Dr. Aseem Chauhan, Chairman and Chancellor, Amity University
“This Union Budget 2019 comes bearing good news for Indian youth. Skill development in new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and robotics is a forward looking move by the Government. Today’s budget pivots on creating opportunities for our aspiring youth and the rural economy. This will help the country in generating jobs and also in bridging the skills gap.”
Tarun Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Avishkaar (India’s largest Robotics company)
“I’m delighted to hear the government will be working towards improving our youth skill levels in AI, Big Data, IoT along with Robotics. These skills of the future will ensure that our youth are prepared and able to secure jobs both in the country and abroad. It’s a commendable step helping align education with industry requirements.”
Pankaj Muthe, Program Manager, Academic Program, APAC, Qlik
“The focus on the amplification of skills in new-age tech domains such as AI, IoT, Big Data, and Robotics will help to address the severe skills shortage that businesses across India are facing at present, apart from opening newer avenues of career growth for Indian professionals.
The government should also make stronger efforts to incorporate data literacy training at the grassroots level and incentivise organisations to launch data literacy training initiatives for their employees. Doing so will equip current and future Indian professionals with the required knowledge and competencies to navigate the data-driven world of tomorrow.”
Narayan Mahadevan, Co-Founder, BridgeLabz
“This is a welcome move to help support the youth in AI, ML and emerging technologies so that they secure high paying jobs both in India and abroad. One of the areas to support in this would be to look at supporting the start-ups and organizations which are helping the disadvantaged youth to upskill.
One extremely beneficial area to look at would be a case for the progressive tax rate for businesses with low threshold tax rates benefitting Micro and Small Enterprises. Currently, the corporate rates are in the range of 25-30% and having a further progressive slab structure will help millions of small enterprises which employ the large base of the pyramid. Also, a simplified low TDS process can go a long way to make life simpler and encourage small enterprises.”
Subrat Mohanty, Group President, Manipal Education & Medical Group, MEMG
“The government has comprehensively addressed the issue of employability in the Union Budget. At the outset, the ramping up of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to leverage India’s unique demographic dividend is a crucial step to boost the economy.
The intent to train the youth in new age skills (such as AI, ML, Big Data, IoT, and robotics will position the country as a hub for highly skilled labour. This will help drive employment considering the demand for these skills in the wake of Industry 4.0.
Also, the increase in courses through the Swayam platform will empower the disadvantaged sections of the society in acquiring employable skills and for upskilling. Supplementing these reforms, the government’s decision to provide connectivity in every panchayat through the Bharat Net initiative will facilitate a broader base for upskilling across rural India.”
Reforms through Higher Education Commission
Dr. Yajulu Medury, Director, Mahindra Ecole Centrale, Hyderabad (private engineering college)
“The FM has rightly focused on the youth of the country and education is the tool for development. The commitment to bringing in the new education policy and make sweeping changes in how education is imparted with the focus on learning outcomes will play a big role in bettering the education level.”
Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-founder and CEO, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd
“Apart from focusing on improving research and higher education via the National Research Foundation, the Union Budget 2019 has promoted play-based early childhood education and high-quality teacher training via the new National Education Policy.”
“Furthermore, in an admirable move, the National Sports Education Board for the development of skilled sportsmen is to be set up under “Khelo India” project, so as to promote enthusiasm in sports as an important part of the development of today’s learners.”
Rohit Manglik, CEO, EduGorilla
“For long, various stakeholders have stressed the need for a unified regulator in the higher education sector. The proposed move to set up Higher Education Commission would smoothen the regulatory process and remove jurisdictional ambiguity.”
Problems with the National Education Policy as per experts
Prateek Bhargava, CEO, Mindler
“Inspite of submission of draft national education policy by HRD Ministry in May, 2019, the Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, had again announced to bring in a New National Education Policy without laying down any framework to implement it.
It seemed that the education sector was again kept on the back burner. Although various government schemes like Khelo India scheme, Kaushal Vikas Yojna were given due emphasis by the FM with the aim to support sports and skill training, no funds were allocated for technology upgradation, which would have helped Indian schools to leverage the power of digital solutions and prepare students for modern jobs and career.
We at Mindler believe that the quality guidance and counselling aspect of education is the base for driving employment and this is ignored in the budget. India is a counselling deficit education sector by a wide margin and it is a critical space to look into for a country with the largest youth populations globally.”
Zishaan Hayath, CEO & Founder, Toppr
“We expected a larger focus on education for school-going children. Today, India has almost 250 million children in that age group but very few have access to quality education since it is limited to certain pockets of India.
Improving and upgrading our higher education institutes is also required, but at the same time, we need to ensure that our children have access to well-trained teachers, infrastructure, and resources from the very beginning.
It was very encouraging when the recently released National Education Policy spoke about adaptive assessments in schools so that children learn at their own pace. It encouraged the use of technology to personalize education so that children learn better. Unfortunately, this wasn’t mentioned in the budget, and we sincerely hope that this doesn’t just remain on paper.”
Dr. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay, Professor, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon
“Education and health are two other predominantly service sectors that India has a lot to develop, offer and to employ. While there is increased allocation, are they anywhere near sufficient? Our education spending is at 3.1% of GDP, less than half of where it should be because we have the potential to be the employee centre.
The emphasis on Robotics and AIML is welcome but given the current skilling, how far can we tap into such potentials? Surely any effort to prepare the young work force for emerging technologies is a welcome move. What remains disappointing is perhaps giving up the idea on Make in India. Very little is on the agenda when one looks at logistics and warehousing- both these are employment generators.
Once again, investment in education seems to have got the raw deal — mere high allocation for R&D and higher education will yield little if the education infrastructure isn’t adequate. At this rate, ten years down the line, we will still produce a lot of graduates not ready with the required skills.
Finally, for ages now we have seen budget as an exercise of macroeconomic targets with micro economic interventions. We have added a few more this year with catchy terms. Can the government set aside a dedicated fund to do an objective assessment of how much of the declared intentions announced through various schemes have been actually met? Evidence based policy making is needed.”