Budget 2020: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget this year could focus on enhancing spending on education infrastructure in the country while pushing for an improvement in the overall education system. Academicians and industry leaders expect several reform measures on strengthening the education system.
India spends 4.6 per cent of its total GDP on education, and ranks 62nd in total public expenditure on education per student, according to IMD. Experts have called for raising the education expenditure to 6 per cent, which is also in sync with Niti Aayog's target to improve education quality in India.
In FY2019-20, Sitharaman had allocated around Rs 94,000 crore for education and this is expected to increase by about 5 per cent this time. "With government's increasing focus on improving the education system of the country, the industry expects an increase in fund allocations towards higher education research fund and for completing the work of established higher educational institutions such as IITs and central universities," suggest Care Ratings.
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Scholarships for students in higher education who are from an economically or social weaker section of the society is also a measure that could help, it adds.
Other issues facing the industry include a shortage of top faculty and remuneration. In fact, board members of some of the leading management institutions have called for greater incentives -- both financial and career growth -- to faculty members.
Sitharaman in her Budget speech had said the Centre would bring in a New National Education Policy, which could transform India's higher education system to one of the best globally. "The new Policy proposes major changes in both school and higher education among others, better governance systems and brings greater focus on research and innovation," she had said.
Almost a year down the line, the National Education Policy is yet to be released. Sitharaman could make an announcement regarding its release in her Budget speech this time. Space scientist K Kasturirangan, who led a nine-member team and drafted the 400-page policy, had earlier told Business Today that the government could adopt and declare a national policy on education in early 2020, and it could bring in critical changes in the Indian education system.
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