Budget 2018 – Education Sector

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Yesterday, the Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley delivered the budget speech. From the first view, the Budget 2018 did not increase the tax benefits associated with educational loans.

What was in the budget speech?

When announcing the budget 2018, the Finance Minister announced different benefits for the education sector and students in India. The FM announced his proposal to launch “Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education” by the year 2022. He proposed total outlay of Rs. 1,00,000 Crore in the forthcoming four years for the same. The primary aim of this scheme is to improve investment in research and related infrastructure in prominent educational institutions inclusive of health institutions. It will be in proportion with offering excellence in teaching to the learners in the nation.

Funding RISE initiative:

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance also stated that the higher education financing agency shortly called as HEFA would be structured appropriately for providing funds to the RISE Program.

Improve education for tribal children:

Intending to improve education to the tribal kids, the FM announced that by the year 2022, every single block in the country with over 50% of Schedule Tribe Population and a minimum of 20,000 tribal people would have an Ekalavya Model Residential School. These schools will function in the same manner like Navodaya School.

An integrated B. Ed course:

The budget also announced the proposal of a combined B. Ed course for teachers. The finance minister made this bid understanding the fact that training of teachers during service is highly crucial. Further, the government announced the amendment of the Right To Education Act to enable more than 13 lakh teachers, who were not trained to get the appropriate training.

Use of technology:

The Finance Minister aims at using technology for enhancing the quality of education. He announced that technology would also be used for upgrading the skills of teachers via the digital portal called Diksha that was launched recently.

Investment in higher education:

Also, in his budget speech, the minister also projected a considerable investment in the higher education. The government proposed to launch the “Prime Minister’s Research Fellows or PMRF Scheme this year. Based on this scheme, the government will identify 1000 best B. Tech students every year from the premier institutions in the country for providing the facilities to do the Ph. D. in IISc and IITs with an attractive fellowship.

Government medical colleges:

The Union Budget 2018 also intends to establish 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals. The government devices to do it by promoting district hospitals in India.

Other proposals:

In short, in budget 2018, Tech was given the full focus with increased digital intensity. The mission is to move from the Blackboard to digital boards. The government also announced the proposal to set up a Railway University at Vadodara. The minister also proposed government plans to treat education holistically with the integration of class 2 to 12.

In the budget speech, the minister also proposed to establish two new School of Planning and Architecture. In the NITs and IITs, 18 new Schools of Planning and Architecture will be set up.

Were the expectations met?

The expectation for students for Budget 2018 was to extend the exemption of tax available on the interest of education loan to the repayment of principal. However, the budget did not fulfil this anticipation.

Educationists are of the opinion that Ease of Doing Business and boosting to Small Medium Enterprises along with other moves of the government should create more employment openings for the graduating students.

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