Union Budget 2020 Expectation: All eyes are on the government right now as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present the Union Budget 2020 in Lok Sabha on February 1. As all the wheels of India's economy have high hopes from Sitharaman, it is yet to be seen who gets how much. The education sector is also expecting deserving allocation in the upcoming budget.
Beginning with the union budget of 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated the education fund of Rs 94,800 crore focusing on improvising schools and higher education programmes. The higher education budget allocated for institutions including IIT and IIM has witnessed a downward trend over the years.
Increase of the education budget, bringing in more technology in the classroom environments and introducing AI (artificial intelligence) with mainstream education, creating more jobs and reducing GST rates for online education is what the education sector is looking forward to. The education sector is hoping that the finance minister will increase public funding on education to at least 6 per cent of GDP.
"The education system of India continues to focus more on primary education with substantially higher number of primary schools as compared to upper primary and secondary levels of schooling," says Puja Marwaha, the CEO of CRY.
"As the coming decade will possibly see the biggest cohort of India's children slowly move into adulthood, therefore, giving them a strong present and a solid foundation for the future is the need of the hour, and the current budget needs to be aligned with the promises made by the nation in this regard," Marwah told PTI.
On the tax front, it can be expected that the government can reduce the taxes over online educational courses, from the current 18 percent that will help the education-technology sector to boost up and reach a broader region.
Union Budget 2020 Expectation: Scholarships for higher education
In Budget 2020, it is expected that for bright students, the government should set up an ample amount of scholarship funds to study abroad in the best universities. Not only this, but the upcoming budget should also promise a student financial aid authority to administer and monitor all scholarship and educational loan schemes.
Despite the repeated claim of the attention on improving higher education made by the government, the allocation for Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been reduced from Rs 2,750 crore to Rs 2,100 crore in 2019. But this year, the expectations are quite varied on this parameter.
Union Budget 2020 Expectation: Education loan
The Budget 2020 should work at subsidizing education loans. For studying abroad, the limit for unsecured loans by banks is Rs 7.5 Lakhs which is too low when considering the cost of education.
High costs education is making it difficult for students to pursue higher studies in reputed colleges, both in India as well as in foreign universities. In order to make educational loans much affordable for students, education loans should be made easily available at lower interest rates.