Quoting Swami Vivekananda, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley during the Budget 2017, says: ‘Education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves is it worth of the name?’, and announces an innovation fund for secondary education. He also added that Government will undertake reforms in UGC to improve higher education.
Education Technology, talks to few of the industry experts on how promising they feel Budget 2017 is…Here are the excerpts:
“It’s possibly for the 1st time in many years that a clear-cut road map for digital learning, online education, and technology advancement has been laid out in the budget. Hence, the full credit goes to the FM.
One of the biggest announcements which is likely to have an impact on youth and education would be ‘National testing agency’ for entrance exam. It would not only boost greater participation from all strata but would simplify the process and make it more transparent. Enhancement of skill India mission, establishment of 100 international skill centers, creation of 5 thousand PG seats per year, courses in foreign languages and upliftment of around 3 thousand 500 educationally backward blocks in the country are the highlights of this year budget and if implemented with due sincerity, I hope this steps would go long way in bringing about the change in the world of digital and online learning.
The announcement of ‘Bharat net project’ which would take connectively to deeper area should help in promoting e-learning and we should get ready for that.
This budget has given more importance to make ‘Tech India’ and this announcement would push an economy towards digitization, I welcome FM’s step to emphasize on science and technology and availability of 100 skill centers across India.”
Prateek N. Kumar, CEO Neoniche Integrated Pvt. Ltd
I whole heartedly welcome the union budget 2017 which was presented by Mr. Arun Jaitley since, it has brought good news for all start-ups. He also announced that the agenda for the next year is Tech India which would push our economy towards digitization. Steps like Skill India mission, providing incentives to startups and relaxation on taxes for 7 years would surely boost large number of startups in the country. Mr. Jaitley should have announced more incentives for enhancing and providing a backup for startups.
The Union Budget has ushered in some positive developments this year, the agenda being to transform, energise, and clean India. In the area of education, particularly higher education, the budget has been very encouraging. Launch of the SWAYAM platform with 310 online courses is a great move. Another great announcement has been that of using DTH channels to link online courses available on the SWAYAM platform. This will provide access to high-quality education resources for students, and will be beneficial to students in the rural areas of the country in particular. Another welcome move is the Innovation Fund to be created for secondary education.
With millions of professionals entering the workforce, there is a spurt in new models of work based on specific skills which can be done as independent gigs. This is going to get a boost with the announcement of extending the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras to more than 600 districts across the country. Another positive development is the opening of 110 centres to help youth get access to employment opportunities abroad. The government has also proposed to set aside Rs 2,200 crore as investment in vocational training.
Additionally, with the announcement that remonetisation is picking up pace, the following years are likely to see positive development on all fronts. With the budget this year focusing on energising youth to reap benefits of growth and employment, startups like HelloClass are sure to get the much-needed leverage. The fact that small firms with a turnover of up to Rs 50 crore will pay 25% tax now, instead of 30% is a welcome step. The government has also revised the period for profit-linked deduction for 3 years out of 7 years as against 5 years. This is a big step towards encouraging startups since they don’t normally accrue profits in the first three years.
Though the measures in the previous budget were not commensurate with expectations of many, this year’s Union Budget does have many features that will prove beneficial the economy and individuals as a whole. The initiatives taken by the government in the area of skilling and higher education are commendable. One such effort will be the SWAYAM feature, which will enable students to access about 310 courses online. For startups like Acadgild, which works in the area of skill development, the measure to extend skill kendras to 600 districts across the country is a big move. The hike in allocation for women skill development to Rs 1.84 lakh crore is another positive development.
Digital economy and digital India are also being further promoted, which is another major move this year. In terms of paying taxes, the announcement that small firms with turnover up to Rs 50 crore will pay 25% tax now, instead of 30% is a welcome step. This year’s budget inclines more towards benefits for the smaller players and individual tax payers. The increased period for profit-linked deduction for 3 years out of 7 years as against 5 years is welcome, since start-ups are not expected to make profits in the first few years. However, there is no exemption from MAT. An enhanced carry over period will not really help start ups from in terms of cash flow.
Sanjay Padode, Secretary, CDE, IFIM Institutions
The budget focussed on firing up the economy by increasing the spending power of the population and by creating employment opportunities for the masses through infrastructure spends. This time the budget did take into cognizance the need for educational reforms and it was nice to hear that the government is soon going to come out with reforms in UGC. The allocated spends for education were enhanced by 9% when compared to last year, however this spend is not going to be enough to meet the educational needs of the country. The government on the other hand has once again focussed significantly on enhancing skills, this implies that they are more concerned with employability of our large youth base and this is definitely a step in the right direction.
The mention of “Swayam” project for providing access to 350 courses delivered by the best faculty in the country for the masses clearly implies that the Government is keen to leverage use of technology to address the education needs of the country.
The mention of grant of autonomy to accredited and ranked colleges is a welcome move as it will bring relief to quality educational institutions from administrative and procedural work. This will also help them innovate and make their respective curriculums relevant to the needs of the society.
Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, Whistling Woods International
There were some very positive steps for the education sector mentioned by the FM in his budget speech but we need to await the specific proposals for the same.
The statement that government is looking to undertake reform in the UGC is welcomed. As is the proposal, for setting up a revised framework for accreditation of colleges. We have heard both of these before and hope that this time it will be met with action.
Innovation funding for secondary education as well as a revised National testing agency for higher education are also welcome moves.
The FM also mentioned that the government would look at more PPP models in education which is definitely a welcome move but again, we would need to see the specific implementation. A hiked allocation toward women’s skill development is a good sign as is the continuing emphasis on skilling India via the skills ministry.
As I said earlier, some good idea but very much still wait and watch for the education industry.
- Addressing the problem of Quality Education
- setting up a National Testing Service (NTS) to bring greater professionalism in conducting entrance examinations across the country
- An innovation fund for secondary education for ensuring universal access, gender parity and quality improvement.
- Establishing 100 India International Skill centres
- Autonomous status to quality Institutions.