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Budget 2024: Educationists Call For Greater Allocation, Focus On Digital Infrastructure The interim budget 2024, presented on February 1, set aside INR 1.20 lakh crore for education, which is INR 9,091 crore, or 7.26 per cent, lower than the revised estimate of INR 1,29,718 crore for 2023-24.

By Paromita Gupta

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As the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is due to present Budget later this month, the education sector is hopeful of significant increase in the allocation for the sector with emphasis on research.

They have called for greater investment in research to foster innovation and keep pace with global advancements, saying strengthening these capabilities is crucial for India's growth in science, technology and other critical areas.

According to V Ramgopal Rao, Vice Chancellor, BITS Pilani Group of Institutions and former IIT-Delhi director, in the 2024-25 India budget, a significant boost to education and research funding is imperative. Despite ranking third globally for scientific research, India's 40th position in innovation is worrisome.

"With R&D spending at just 0.65 per cent of GDP, much lower than the BRICS average and the global average of 1.8 per cent, it is crucial to enhance this investment," he added.

The interim budget 2024, presented on February 1, set aside INR 1.20 lakh crore for education, which is INR 9,091 crore, or 7.26 per cent, lower than the revised estimate of INR 1,29,718 crore for 2023-24.

Allocation for school education had increased from INR 72,473 crore (revised estimate) in 2023-24 to INR 73,008 crore (budgeted estimate) in 2024-25, an increase of just 0.7 per cent.

Higher education received INR 47,619 crore in 2024-25, a decline of 18 per cent from INR 57,244 crore (revised estimate) in 2023-24.

Kanak Gupta, Group Director, Seth MR Jaipuria Group of Schools said, "I've always maintained it that it would take a very brave initiator to plan and spend the allocated 6 per cent of GDP on education as per the previous years' budgets. The Union budget should be a roadmap that propels education towards endless possibilities of socio-economic progress. The last few years, the spend on education has been oscillating between 2.5 per cent – 3 per cent and it would be encouraging to see allocation towards education be upped to the more optimal 6 per cent and beyond."

He further added that That India ranks 3rd globally in terms of research output in education technology. There should be an encouraging collaboration between academia, industry, and research institutions that can foster an ecosystem that supports cutting-edge research.

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, AASOKA said, "We hope that the forthcoming Union Budget under the Modi 3.0 government will provide increased funding and support innovative educational solutions. By investing in technology-driven and blended learning models, we can transform the education landscape across India."

Meanwhile Amit Kapoor, Co-founder, Eupheus Learning expects to see greater support for digital infrastructure in schools and more funding for innovative educational technologies.

"Additionally, GST should be applicable on both print and digital solutions so as to create efficiencies in the ecosystem. These are important for making education accessible, affordable and effective for millions of students. We believe new policies in the education system should bridge the gap between in-class and at-home learning, providing every child with quality resources," he added.

Gaurav Himkar, CEO, GD Goenka Group said that the government should also consider incentivizing corporations and individuals who invest in educational initiatives. Similarly, innovative approaches could be explored, such as allowing investors to take a minimum profit from their investments in educational projects.

Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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