Published Editorial

Budget 2017 - Sankalp karo swayam bano

February 2017

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Jaideep Kulkarni
Tax Partner, EY India

Considering the young population of India (nearly 50% of population is below 25 years of age), the education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come.

India holds an important place in the global education industry. It has more than 1.4 million schools with over 227 million students enrolled and more than 36,000 higher education institutes making it one of the largest education systems in the world with lot of potential for further development. Higher education system in India has undergone rapid expansion. Currently, India’s higher education system is the largest in the world enrolling over 70 million students.

As such, education continues to be a key pillar for economic growth as it is directly responsible for the development of Human Capital - one resource that is abundant in the country.

However, India’s spending on education has remained steady at 2.9% of its GDP in the last two financial years. This spending is considerably less as compared to other developing economies of the world. In fact the spending in the education sector by the BRICS nation is in the range of 4% to 7%.

Considering the above market size and demographic situation of India, the spending by India in the educational sector is less and lot of impetus by Government in this sector is need of the hour.

Finance Minister today presented the Budget for 2017-18 and has caught the pulse of the hour to provide various schemes and reforms to boost education in India. He specifically focused on energising youth through education, skills and jobs in his ‘Transform India’ agenda. The key proposals are as follows:

  • Budget 2017 has allocated Rs 130,215 crores of rupees in education and health sector which is approximately more by 13% as compared to previous year’s allocation
  • Two new AIIMS to be established in Jharkhand and Gujarat
  • To create additional 5000 post-graduate seats for medical sciences to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of health care
  • Focus will be on the 3,479 educationally backward blocks where the government proposes to introduce the practise of measuring annual learning outcome in schools 
  • Use of DTH channels to link online courses available on the SWAYAM platform, that will offer 350 online courses, to enable student access high-quality education resource, participate in discussion forums, take tests and earn academic grades
  • 3.5 crore youth to be trained under SANKALP (Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme) to be launched by government at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras to be extended to more than 600 districts across the country. 100 India International Skills Centres to be opened to help youth access to advanced training and courses in foreign languages which would help them get access to employment opportunities abroad.
  • Rs 2,200 cr to be set aside for investment STRIVE (Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement) which will focus on improving the quality and market relevance of vocational training.
  • Innovation Fund for secondary education to be created to encourage local innovation for ensuring universal access, gender parity and quality improvement.

The FM has also laid down various reforms in education sector such as:

  • Reforms in the UGC, colleges to be identified based on accreditation and ranking, and to be given autonomous status.
  • Emphasis on science education and flexible curriculum. 
  • A national agency to be established that will be in-charge of conducting all entrance exams for higher education.