There is not much of difference is seen in terms of budget allocation for Higher Education since last year’s budget, however, for higher education the demand for grants has been met by the increase in allocation this year, indicating a clear shift in priority towards higher education. Budget reports reveal that the allocation for school education is up by a meager Rs. 1367.5 crores from the revised estimate of 2015-16. The demand for grants in 2016-17 for school education by the ministry of human resources development was Rs. 63, 826.7 crores, but only Rs 43, 554 crores has been allocated by the finance ministry – a whopping shortfall of 20, 273 crores. The school education shows a negligible increase of 3.24%, which if adjusted does not even cover the inflation rate.
The allocation to the higher education sector received an increase of 13.5% from last year.
Let us hear from the leaders of some of the top Management Institutes on what they think of Union Budget 2018-19:
The Union Budget does not have any plan or scheme for fund mobilization for Higher Education sector (not referring to selective few Higher Education institutions receiving grants) either as allocation or as incentive. In this budget it was expected that there will be plans for integration of education reforms towards enhancing quality of higher education, which is missing.
Mr. Sanjay Padode, Secretary, Center for Developmental Education and Member Board of Governors at IFIM Bangalore.
“The move to expunge segmentation and treat education holistically is a great step by the government. There is a dire need to provide students with quality education to ensure a successful future. The 2018 budget seems promising to work toward the same.
Although the quality of education is still a concern, the implementation of the Institutes Of Eminence is set to fast track the sector onto a smoother and up skilled one.
Following the re-skilling movement, the country is set to employ 50 lakh youth where the government will share the cost of training. This works as an added advantage to the education sector where the government is also looking to increase the digital intensity.
The budget announcement sees great improvements and an optimistic future for the education sector. These alterations will definitely improve the quality of education and in turn result in a more skilled India.”
The 2018 -19 Union Budget seems supportive for Agriculture, rural infrastructural development and healthcare sector. Besides, it is also supportive budget for senior citizens. It is noted as business friendly budget. But once again talking of higher education sector, there is no supportive measures seen to be taken up by the government.
Dr. Shekhar Choudhuri, Director, Calcutta Business School (former Director, IIM Calcutta).
In my view the Budget 2018 is a well-crafted balanced budget that combines the political compulsions as well as economic aspects. Being the budget just one year before the next general election it has a slant towards the bottom of the pyramid—the universal health care scheme, potentially the world’s largest pro-poor state funded healthcare programme that promises Rs. 5.00 lakh coverage for 10.00 crore rural families. This has the potential to make a major impact on rural disposable income which will give an impetus to rural spending. A few other interesting aspects are; a) provision of Rs. 1,48,000 crore for development of the railways; b) reduction of corporate tax rate for the SME sector from 30% to 25%; and c) provision for creating 5 lakh hot spots ( broad band ) in rural India.
A negative aspect is that it is not very clear what is in the budget that is targeted at employment generation.
To tackle brain drain, Budget announced schemes to identify bright students pursuing B Tech in premiere engineering institutes and providing them higher-education opportunities in the IITs and IISc where the students will receive handsome fellowships and will be expected to dedicate a few hours to teach in higher education institutions weekly.
Quality and development is a major challenge that higher education institutions are facing today. The academia also faces the challenge to attract and retain competent faculty and encourage research. Universities and other institutions of academic merit should be allocated grants to cope up with these challenges. The budget should have taken these also into consideration.
Given the cost of health care, exemption on health insurance premium for senior citizens has been increased from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 annually. This is a positive step and long due. A 100 per cent profit deduction to FPOs for five years is one more positive. The world’s largest healthcare scheme sounds good but there is a lack of clarity on the financial outlays on the proposed Rs. 5 lac per year per family. Skilled development has been touched upon but outcomes need to be evaluated to assess whether the budget allocation is being utilized properly for what it is meant for. Low allocations for education – both primary and higher education, was not expected.
* Mobile phones set to become costlier as custom duty on them has been increased to 20 per cent.
* Health and education cess has been increased to 4 per cent.
* For senior citizens, exemption of interest income on bank deposits raised to Rs 50,000.00
* Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried employees in lieu of transport and medical expenses: Edu cess increased from 3 to 4%
* A fiscal deficit of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19.
* The Finance Minister proposed revising emoluments as per the following structure:
— Rs 5 lakh for the President of India
— Rs 4 lakh for the Vice President
— Rs 3.5 lakh for the Governors
* 5 lakh WiFi hotspots will be set up in rural areas to provide easy internet access.
* Government will take all steps to eliminate use of crypto currencies which are funding illegitimate transactions.
* Govt announces Amrut program to focus on water supply to all households in 500 cities. Water supply contracts for 494 projects worth Rs 19,428 core will be awarded.
* NITI Aayog will establish a national programme to direct our efforts in the area of Artificial Intelligence towards national development.
* Airport capacity to be hiked to handle 1 billion trips every year. .
* Government to contribute 12 per cent of EPF contribution for new employees in all sectors
* Government aims to bring 60 crore bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana.
* Rs 600 crore allocated to Tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment.
* Govt will set up two new Schools of Planning and Architecture
* Students pursuing B Tech in premiere engineering institutes will be providing higher-education opportunities in the IITs and IISc. These students will receive handsome fellowships.
* Ujjwala scheme to amplify targets, will now provide 8 crore rural women free LPG connections.
* Air pollution in Delhi-NCR has been a cause of concern; govt has proposed subsidized machinery for management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhi.
* The government announced to will set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading district-level ones. At least one medical college for three parliamentary constituencies.
* Two new schools of planning and architecture will also be set up including 18 more in IITs and NIITs.
* Govt of India will take necessary measures to put in place measures for the state government to purchase surplus solar power produced by local farmers at suitable prices.