Here's What Edtechs Expect From the Union Budget

The edtech community, which witnessed a great degree of change due to the government's New Education Policy, will read between the lines from the Budget documents

By
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The year 2020 was brutal. Needless to say the once in a century pandemic has brought despair in every life on the planet. Simple joys were sucked out of life and the world’s economy took a tumultuous dip. However, even during this unfortunate time, startups around the globe earned accolades as they were considered the torch-bearers during dark nights. The edtech sector, which was already growing at a phenomenal rate, not only received a humongous push in their momentum because education institutes across the country remained shut, but also got their pockets filed.

PIB
Budget 2020 : The Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman
 

Come 2021, when the end of the pandemic is in sight with vaccination drives, India is also gearing up for the Union Budget 2021 that will be announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. All eyes will be glued to television on say of Budget as the finance minister described this year’s Budget will be “like never before” as India will try to climb in terms of GDP which plunged due to the pandemic.

The edtech community which witnessed a great degree of change from the government through the New Education Policy (NEP), will read between the lines from the Budget documents after it is announced.

Here’s what experts from the edtech community expect from this year’s Budget:

Abhimanyu Saxena, Co-founder, Scaler and InterviewBit

"The year 2020 has been a turning point for every organisation working in the space of ed-tech. It has allowed students and young professionals with ample time and opportunities to build on their skills. Continuing on this journey, 2021 is a crucial year, and it will set the course for the entire industry for years to come. 

With the new Budget, we expect that the government will lower the GST levied on the ed-tech industry. It is currently at 18 per cent, if it were to go down by even 1 or 2, it would have a significant impact, making online education that much more accessible and affordable. Another thing that could be implemented is allowing working professionals some tax benefits redeemed against the fees paid for online upskilling courses and programs. It is a great motivator for professionals to upskill while allowing our nation to build a more diverse talent pool comparable to the best in the world. Further, interest paid on loans for higher education is exempt from Income tax. A similar policy can be introduced for loans being taken for online courses as well. 

Recognition from apex bodies like UGC, AICTE, and NSDC will also help alleviate digital education and upskilling programs' status and awareness. All or some of these measures are sure to encourage more and more working professionals to upgrade their skill levels and knowledge. In the long run, this is bound to better the country's human development index. We are on a cusp of an education revolution, and any impetus from the government will go a long way in establishing India as the hub for skilled talent."

Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Educational Services 

“National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has already set the pace for enormous skill development for the youth. We are expecting that the government will increase the education expenditure in the current education Budget. With more focus on the implementation of the new policy, quality and tax-free education and skill development, the reforms will pave ways for more blue-collar jobs. Classroom education has undergone complete change due to emergence of Covid, we expect that the government will put more focus on usage of digital education in Tier 2,3 cities and envisage avenues to make India as one of the preferred higher education destinations in the world.”

Ankur Bansal, Co-founder and Director, BlackSoil 

“For continued growth of the edtech industry, it is important that the government allocates appropriate funds to develop the digital infrastructure as demand increases beyond tier 1 cities. Funds can also be allocated under the education Budget as a blended learning model will be more effective in solving India’s literacy problem rather than continued spend on physical infrastructure. Some official recognition can also be provided to Edtech certifications to increase adoption.”

Charu Noheria, Co-founder and COO, Practically

Though the edtech industry was witnessing consistent growth over the last few years, the pandemic has propelled the growth many times over. Given that there has been a significant surge in eLearning, the Government must support us by allocating sufficient funds and devise strategies to make digital education accessible by ensuring availability of internet connectivity, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. either through direct government programs or through public private partnership (PPP) model. With National Education Policy (NEP 2020) already setting the pace for enormous skill development, we would expect the Government to increase the education expenditure in the current Union Budget for implementation. This will provide the impetus required for upgradation of school infrastructure with state-of-art technology and will help to meet the demands of jobs in the future. To perceive India as one of the most preferred higher education destinations in the world, the Government should also focus on reskilling the education fraternity to equip them to use new age eLearning solutions as well as providing tax benefits to schools and teachers who invest in such solutions.

The year 2020 was brutal. Needless to say the once in a century pandemic has brought despair in every life on the planet. Simple joys were sucked out of life and the world’s economy took a tumultuous dip. However, even during this unfortunate time, startups around the globe earned accolades as they were considered the torch-bearers during dark nights. The edtech sector, which was already growing at a phenomenal rate, not only received a humongous push in their momentum because education institutes across the country remained shut, but also got their pockets filed.

Come 2021, when the end of the pandemic is in sight with vaccination drives, India is also gearing up for the Union Budget 2021 that will be announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. All eyes will be glued to television on say of Budget as the finance minister described this year’s Budget will be “like never before” as India will try to climb in terms of GDP which plunged due to the pandemic.

The edtech community which witnessed a great degree of change from the government through the New Education Policy (NEP), will read between the lines from the Budget documents after it is announced.

Here’s what experts from the edtech community expect from this year’s Budget:

Abhimanyu Saxena, Co-founder, Scaler and InterviewBit

"The year 2020 has been a turning point for every organisation working in the space of ed-tech. It has allowed students and young professionals with ample time and opportunities to build on their skills. Continuing on this journey, 2021 is a crucial year, and it will set the course for the entire industry for years to come. 

With the new Budget, we expect that the government will lower the GST levied on the ed-tech industry. It is currently at 18 per cent, if it were to go down by even 1 or 2, it would have a significant impact, making online education that much more accessible and affordable. Another thing that could be implemented is allowing working professionals some tax benefits redeemed against the fees paid for online upskilling courses and programs. It is a great motivator for professionals to upskill while allowing our nation to build a more diverse talent pool comparable to the best in the world. Further, interest paid on loans for higher education is exempt from Income tax. A similar policy can be introduced for loans being taken for online courses as well. 

Recognition from apex bodies like UGC, AICTE, and NSDC will also help alleviate digital education and upskilling programs' status and awareness. All or some of these measures are sure to encourage more and more working professionals to upgrade their skill levels and knowledge. In the long run, this is bound to better the country's human development index. We are on a cusp of an education revolution, and any impetus from the government will go a long way in establishing India as the hub for skilled talent."

Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Educational Services 

“National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has already set the pace for enormous skill development for the youth. We are expecting that the government will increase the education expenditure in the current education Budget. With more focus on the implementation of the new policy, quality and tax-free education and skill development, the reforms will pave ways for more blue-collar jobs. Classroom education has undergone complete change due to emergence of Covid, we expect that the government will put more focus on usage of digital education in Tier 2,3 cities and envisage avenues to make India as one of the preferred higher education destinations in the world.”

Ankur Bansal, Co-founder and Director, BlackSoil 

“For continued growth of the edtech industry, it is important that the government allocates appropriate funds to develop the digital infrastructure as demand increases beyond tier 1 cities. Funds can also be allocated under the education Budget as a blended learning model will be more effective in solving India’s literacy problem rather than continued spend on physical infrastructure. Some official recognition can also be provided to Edtech certifications to increase adoption.”

Charu Noheria, Co-founder and COO, Practically

"Though the edtech industry was witnessing consistent growth over the last few years, the pandemic has propelled the growth many times over. Given that there has been a significant surge in eLearning, the Government must support us by allocating sufficient funds and devise strategies to make digital education accessible by ensuring availability of internet connectivity, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. either through direct government programs or through public private partnership (PPP) model. With National Education Policy (NEP 2020) already setting the pace for enormous skill development, we would expect the Government to increase the education expenditure in the current Union Budget for implementation. This will provide the impetus required for upgradation of school infrastructure with state-of-art technology and will help to meet the demands of jobs in the future. To perceive India as one of the most preferred higher education destinations in the world, the Government should also focus on reskilling the education fraternity to equip them to use new age eLearning solutions as well as providing tax benefits to schools and teachers who invest in such solutions."