Budget 2019: What does education sector expect from Finance Minister?

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Support for newer IITs, IIMs are one of the demands
This year’s Budget will be announced on February 1 by the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. The Budget comes months before the 2019 general elections and many soaps are expected out of it. But what would be in the kitty of the NDA government for the education sector?

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Allotment to education has decreased over the years, say experts. The sector is receiving single-digit per cent of GDP. While academicians, industry and students alike demand more funds, indianexpress.com asks different stakeholders their expectations from the upcoming budget and areas of investment.

See social startup as national goals
Deep science start-ups are providing solutions to India’s problems in water, energy and healthcare. Hence, they must be viewed in the context of national goals. The government has started to understand the impact they can create on the economy, however, such startups require a minimum seed capital of 2 to 5 crore to build products that require design, prototyping and extreme levels of precision manufacturing.
Read | Education Budget 2019: Increase in funds, emphasis on AI; key take away
They also have a very limited time window to succeed in the field, therefore, it is highly imperative that funds allotted to such start-ups and incubators, reach them quickly.

 C S Murali, Chairman, Entrepreneurship Cell, STEM, Society for Innovation and Development at IISc 
Funds for the increasing young population, teachers
Education spending in India as a percentage of GDP has come down over the past few years. India now spends less than 3.5 per cent of GDP on education which is the lowest among peer nations. India is experiencing a surge in youth population and if the trend in education spending continues, the claimed demographic dividend could turn into a demographic disaster.

The budget must allocate close to Rs 1 trillion as education outlay (or at least a 15 per cent increase from last year’s allocation of Rs 85,000 crore) out of which significant amounts should be set aside for teacher recruitment, teacher training and infrastructure development in government schools of rural India.”
Budget 2019 will be announced by Piyush Goyal on February 1, 2019. (File Photo)
Teachers across the country must be trained to use digital learning platforms with the necessary infrastructure support such that students grow up with the necessary skills for the workplace of the future, he said.
Support for newer IITs, IIMs
In the higher education sector, the government should increase budgetary support for the nascent institutions such as the newer Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and IIMs who need the support to come up to the level of older institutes that no longer need government funds. The government must give autonomy to the top institutions of the country to decide their curriculum outside of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) restrictions.
Rudra Sensarma, dean research at IIM-Kozhikode and a PhD holder in economics
Focus on research
We look forward to a good, student-friendly budget. Research is a core mission of the IITs and other institutions of higher education. We look forward to a budget that supports research-related activities. This government has brought great emphasis on linking industry to academia through several innovative programs. We hope these programs receive continued support.
Mahesh Panchagnula, Head, Department of applied mechanics, IIT-Madras
Contribute to launched schemes
There should be efforts taken in increasing the overall fiscal envelope for school education. The Budget 2019 should make budgetary and policy provisions for availability of trained teachers, improving the administrative and infrastructure structure of SCERTs and DIETs – invest in crucial institutions for teacher training and pedagogy and improvisation of the monitoring mechanism.
With the Samagra Siksha Abhiyan kicking off, it would become imperative to closely look at fund flow, bottlenecks and adequacy at all levels in school education.
While the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) saw a budget allocation of Rs 75,000 crore – 20 per cent higher than the current allocation — over the period April 2018 to March 2019, one still would find huge gaps in the proposed and allocated amount for various schemes such as SSA, MDM et al in 2018-19 budget.

Let us remember that well-designed and adequate investments have been known to improve the quality of life – this truth remains constant for adults and children alike. To bring sustainable and lasting change, children should be put at the centre of our agenda and their issues must be addressed from all aspects – social, economic, cultural, ecological and political. Our investment into happier, healthier, safer childhood should not be in anticipation of any return.
Puja Marwaha, CEO at CRY – Child Rights and You

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