Home Budget 2021 Post Budget Reaction: Education Sector

Post Budget Reaction: Education Sector

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Budget 2021
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021 on Monday where she made a lot of announcements for various sectors. This was the first budget after the pandemic where everyone had some expectations from the finance minister. Here are the reactions from the Industry experts of the Education Sector.


Mr Rohit Gajbhiye, Founder, Financepeer 

Overall the budget seems promising and the budgetary allocations towards schools and national research foundation is expected to boost the education and research culture in India but this could have been given an additional boost if the Finance Minister would have laid some impetus on online education and online education infrastructure. However, the education sector would now wait to see the roll-out of the National Education Policy that promises hybrid mode of learning as the future.

Sumeet Mehta, Cofounder & CEO, LEAD School

“The year 2020 was a catastrophic one for the education sector with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing schools and education institutions to shut down. I commend the finance minister for giving a boost to the adoption of National Education Policy and strengthening 15,000 schools in the country is a right move in that direction. Tribal students have suffered the most due to the pandemic with no access to quality education and lack of appropriate infrastructure to adopt online learning in a school-from-home environment. The Government’s target of establishing 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas will enhance the quality of learning and enable them to avail learning opportunities and help in the overall development. I am confident that the Budget will bring a positive change in the lives of SC/ST students as it aims to bridge the learning gaps and make education affordable and accessible for a larger audience.”

Dr Vivek bindra, Founder & CEO Bada Business

The overall focus of the budget has rightly been on revival and generation of more economic activity in the economy. The Finance Minister rightly pointed out at the outset that this budget has been prepared in never before seen circumstances. Economic revival is more important than fiscal prudence right now. So, we welcome the fact that the government has ensured a much-needed increase in expenditure at the expense of increasing the fiscal deficit.

Apart from a significant increase in healthcare outlay, another notable aspect of the budget has been a sharp increase in capital expenditure which has been upped to Rs 5.54 lakh crore from Rs 4.39 lakh cr last fiscal. The government has committed to invest heavily in infrastructure building activities including major upgrade of the public transport system in urban areas, new public bus transport schemes and expansion of metro lines. This infusion of infrastructure funds will help generate much-needed economic activity and create new opportunities for employment. Better Intra city connectivity as well as connectivity between tier I cities and peripheral areas is itself a boost to economic opportunities. It is important, however, that the government meets its spending goals. Experts have in recent years pointed out how government’s spending targets for several schemes were not met in the past two years.

The realignment of the Apprenticeship Act and a significant monetary allocation to provide post education apprenticeship and training for graduates and diploma holders is another welcome initiative on the skilling front. Improved skill training is key, particularly at a time when a global pandemic has changed the nature of the economy.

Nirmala Sitharaman proposes to review more than 400 old exemptions in customs this year by putting into place new customs duty structure by Oct-1, 2021

Extension of tax holiday for startups, reduction of tax compliance burden for senior citizens above 75 and a series of other measures to ease tax compliance are also welcome moves.

Subhajeet Mukherjee, Founder & President, The Programming Foundation

“As the country witnesses fillip in digital penetration due to coronavirus, it would be prudent to implement technology to leverage various segments dependent on it. Where EdTech is expanding to Tier-III and Tier-IV cities, the 2021 Budget makes amendments to fill the digital divide gap. Considering that KPMG expects Indian EdTech segment to reach US$1.96 billion by 2021, a well sought out plan must be outlined which focuses on internet infrastructure, data protection and tax exemption to help EdTech startups thrive exponentially that has the potential to shape the future education system of India.”

Ahaan Aggarwal, Founder & CEO Junoon 

At the onset, we would like to laud the government for growth driven budget. We welcome the progressive initiative aimed to benchmark skill qualifications, assessment, and certification, accompanied by the deployment of a certified workforce and with an international collaborative training Inter Training Programme (TITP). But we feel that the budget could have been more focused towards skill development and job creation as it is an urgent need of the hour! None the less government thinking about skill development at par with UAE or Japan is consistent with the vision of Junoon.

 Vinay Sharma, Head of digital services,  S.Chand and Co.(Mylestone and Learnflix)

“2020 is likely to go down as the most eventful year in recent history for the entire globe. It was no different for the education space in India. We witnessed an unprecedented shift to online education as schools and colleges remained shut during the pandemic. Having played a critical role in helping schools and students continue the teaching-learning process in this period despite all challenges, the edtech industry was hoping that fund allocation for education in this budget would see marked focus on Digital infrastructure, online learning push and Teachers training etc. Therefore it was a little disappointing to see that the budget, which had many positives for education sector like setting up of new Sainik schools under PPP, qualitative transformation of 15000 schools in line with NEP and most importantly setting aside of 5000 crores for R&D, fell a bit short on capitalising on the opportunity to build momentum for digitisation in Indian education that could have had far reaching benefits for our young population.”
Dr. Chenraj Roychand, Chairman Jain Group

“The budget 2021 brings with it good tidings for the education sector. The highlight being the announcement of establishing 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs and other private academies and setting up of Central University at Ladakh. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also asserted that more than 15,000 schools will be quantitatively strengthened, which gives great impetus to the education sector. The announcement of the legislation for an umbrella body of higher education is just what is required in the post COVID era to boost our education system.
Education is what drives the economy and the country, and I am convinced that the Budget 2021 will go a long way in guaranteeing that our country keeps education at the pinnacle of its priorities.”

Divya Lal, Founder and Managing Director, Fliplearn

“The allocation of Rs 5000 crore towards R & D is one of the highlights of this budget and can be committed to strengthening edtech platforms and building a strong digital infrastructure for education. FM’s plan to qualitatively strengthen 15000 schools under NEP can lead as an example of a blended learning approach where digital education complements traditional brick and mortar schooling. This  transformation will, however, require the involvement of school heads and teachers in adopting the “Phygital” model of education to align with the MoE’s vision. While R & D and skilling initiatives are explicitly mentioned in the FM’s speech, training on leveraging technology in education has not been spelled out and this will be critical to actualise the impact of digitization of education.”
Mr. Rohan Parikh, Managing Director – The Green Acres Academy

“The main issue in our country is more so the lack of quality in education rather than a lack of education. Happy to see that a solid policy like the NEP will be given the support and attention it needs to take it from a document to on ground change. 

While the new framework is great, the truth is always in the execution, which has been the weak link in the past. We hope that the investment is geared towards development of leadership and teachers as that is the most impactful investment.

We also welcome the much needed partnership between private and government schools which will help in sharing best practices and improving the overall quality of education in our nation”.

Prof (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah, Director, JK Business School

“The budget presented by the honorable Finance Minister tried to address many facets of the educational sector. The overall allocation of Rs. 93224 Cr for the education sector is a welcoming announcement. The budget emphasized the recent trend of tinkering at the edges of the problems that confront Indian Education System. Madam Finance Minister announced strengthening of more than 15,000 schools, starting 750 Eklavya schools and 100 new Sainik schools which will have a great impact on the school education. On the other hand, Legislation of the Higher Education Commission of India will resolve the various challenges faced by higher education in our country. The budget consists of the apt strategies which will help in speedy implementation of National Education Policy (NEP).

Another point which deserves huge appreciation in the budget is the development of the National Research Foundation, which outlayed Rs.50,000 Cr over 5 years. It will strengthen the overall research ecosystem of the country and help India emerge as the R&D epicentre of the world.”

Mr. Achin Bhattacharyya, Founder and CEO Notebook

The Honourable FM’s announcement with regard to thrust on skilling is a very welcome initiative. The limited window of opportunity that our demographic advantage offers needs to properly utilized over the next few decades before we reach the plateau like many western countries. Hence making our youth more employable has to be taken up on priority. The current budget proposes to realign the existing scheme of the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) for providing post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders in Engineering and over 3,000 crores will be provided for this. Also in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, there is an initiative to benchmark skill qualifications, assessment, and certification, accompanied by the deployment of a certified workforce. Also in line with the existing collaborative Training Inter Training Program (TITP) between India and Japan for facilitating the transfer of Japanese industrial and vocational skills, technique, and knowledge, similar the initiative will be taken forward with many more countries. 

Keshav Maheshwari, Whole-Time executive of Allen Career Institute

“The union budget 2021 presented by Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala has brought in an extension to the Prime Minister’s movement in empowering the educational framework of the nation. The increased allocation of funds (FY20 Rs Crore – 94853.64 to FY21 Rs Crore 99311.52) will ensure better quality schools that would educate and eradicate illiteracy in a majority of the states. The announcement to set up 750 Eklavya schools will help create a positive ecosystem for Education in India

The emphasis on skill development in partnership with the United Arab Emirates and Japan to promote industrial & vocational skills, techniques, and knowledge is a major boost for the sector. The realignment of the existing scheme of national apprenticeship training scheme for providing post-education apprenticeship training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering over 3000 crores will pave way for better employability in National and international markets. With the proposed Higher Education Commission, primed to transform the higher education system it will definitely boost the quality of higher education and will also serve as a stepping stone to establishing India “a hub of higher education” across the globe.”

Pankaj Sharma, President, Lexicon Group of Institutes expressed

“The budget focus on ‘Education for All’ at a holistic level is bringing an entrance to a new era for the educational sector. Especially, with the current structure of the ecosystem the pandemic has been a leveler to understand the laggards and the early adopters.  The Honourable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam’s views on the qualitative strengthening under the NEP is a step in the right direction. It helps in elevating the current infrastructure and translating the same amongst the peers which was impacted significantly for all schools last year. Education is a pivotal lever for social and economic mobility and to be able to focus on those areas is an advantage from a futuristic view point. As a privately run education institution, we will continue to focus on the alignment of NEP 2020 which is towards foundational improvisations and. As an emerging institute we take pride in being agile enough to align to changes for the advantage of child well-being and enhanced youth development.”

Rajeev Tiwari, Founder, STEMROBO Technologies

In the Union Budget, to promote Startup – announcement of Incorporation of One Person Company, Easing of Definition of Small Company from the point of view Corporate Law Compliance are a welcome step.
Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr and boost Innovation Culture in startups.
Announcement of Non-Auditing of Income Tax till 10 Cr.  and allowing Startups to claim IT Exemption and Capital Gains for 1 more Year will ease the Compliance Burden of Startups and help in raising more funds.
NEP (New Education Policy) has been given a thrust in the budget. The plan to set up 15000 Pilot Schools as a showcase for NEP, which can be exemplary for other schools, is a welcome step and will lead to promoting NEP in the School Ecosystem. Tribal School-Eklavya Schools with newer allocation – in tribal areas will spur further development of education in tribal areas. Allocation of the National Apprenticeship Scheme for 3000 Cr and increasing the contours of it will benefit companies.
Innovation & R&D will get a boost by allocating National Regional Foundation (NRF) a sum of 50000 Cr for the next 6 Years. Research and Innovation Ecosystem to get a substantial growth.

Anoop Gautam, CEO & Co-founder, Tinker Coders

The unprecedented contractions put forth by the Covid-19 crisis have changed the economical aspects, entirety. Many changes were incorporated keeping in mind the challenges being faced by people at the grass-roots level. The startup industry, Edtech space too witnessed contractions and flattening of the curve in terms of growth and expansion. However, the recovery and normalcy rate has improved to a larger extent keeping in mind the implications of the pandemic.
Union Budget 2021 has focused on strengthening 15000 schools with all the components of NEP as a pilot project. Also, skill enrichment programs will be initiated in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates which will bring new opportunities for the youth of our country. FM Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman also mentioned to initialize a collaborative training program with Japan, which will be launched for more countries as well in the upcoming future. This year’s Union Budget has focused primarily on innovation and research development, therefore it has become even important for the students in the K-12 segment to enhance their 21 st -Century skills in order to become skill-efficient in this tech-led generation. For startups, the government has proposed to reduce the margin money requirement from 25% to 15%. This will open a new door of opportunities for startups in upscaling their businesses. The government has also doubled the fund allocation for MSMEs, to a whopping 15,700 crores for FY22.

Abhishek Gupta, Founder and CEO, Hex N Bit

We welcome the budget for 2021. With an increase in the MSME budget of Rs 15,700 crore, which is more than double of the previous year, can help the startups as well as MSME but as seen there are approximately 50k startups in India, so a big boost was expected in investment
In the National apprenticeship training scheme–the Indian government has now allocated Rs. 3,000 Cr. for National apprenticeship which will create a Skilled & talented workforce with the bilateral partnership with United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide training, certification, assessments etc. India will collaborate with Japan in order to adopt cutting edge technology, technique & vocational programs for scaling up the technology in India to newer heights
The government of India has proposed the budget of Rs 50K crore over 5 years for innovation & R&D. There will be an expectation from the Government to spend setting up the Innovation lab focusing on the technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Data analytics, etc. which can showcase the solution to most of the problem statement in most of the field including medical, agriculture, defence or any natural disaster
As proposed by FM, capital expenditure is now increased to Rs. 5.54 Lakh crore from Rs. 4.39 Lakh crore, hopefully, the state & center will invest a considerable amount for digital connectivity, high-speed internet at an affordable rate as well as learning assets in a remote location so that aspirants can learn new-age technology to build New India. Even after the economic crisis due to Covid-19, an increase in the capital expenditure with such a high number must be appreciated.
Boost to start-up hub in India, as proposed by FM, there will be a plan to enforce incentives incorporation of one-person companies without any restriction on paid-up capital. Can set up this company in 180 days.

Sumeet Jain, Co-founder, Yocket

Nothing concrete has been mentioned about higher education in the budget. Only setting up of Higher Education Commission via legislation was mentioned. But no mention about the budget allocation or how the implementation of the NEP for higher education.
It will be interesting to see the details of the new law to set up the Higher Education Commission. With such a huge population, education is of prime importance if we don’t want to see joblessness grow in the coming times.
However, a 50,000 Cr. for research initiatives is a welcome move. Research needs a big boost and this might be a good start. If we need to strengthen our education system, research will be extremely important.

Mr. Jerold Chagas Pereira, CEO, mPowerO

“The previous year has not only changed education as we know it, but it has also persuaded all the educational stakeholders to find better digital learning solutions. Budget 2021 has immensely focused on the effective implementation of National Education Policy and reinforce the skill development process of the global education standards. The budget allocation for 15,000 schools to be worked as a model for the NEP implementation across the country is a welcome move for new age education and an indicator of the commitment of the government to the NEP. However, some tax concession to the education industry would have helped them to combat the financial challenges they are reeling through and resulted in enabling them to allocate higher funds for implementing digital learning solutions benefiting the students cover up the lost time due to the pandemic in an efficient manner.”

Jai Decosta, CEO, K12 Techno Services Pvt. Ltd.
 
“As private players in the K12 education sector, we had one of the toughest years. We were relying heavily on the budget announcement in terms of rebates through tax concession or relaxation in terms of the GST. However, there was no such mention with regards to any of these. It has therefore put us in a difficult place, financially, forcing us to rely heavily on the fees paid by the parents. The government needs to take notice of private players too, and this budget has largely ignored us.”

Arvind Jyot Sabhaney, Chairman and CEO TEAM.i

“Education has been a strong pillar of Budget FY-21 and the allocation of 38,325.15 crores for Higher Education in Budget Estimate 2021-22 will set the right pace. The NEP (National Education Policy) will certainly be realized now. The legislation to set-up the Higher Education Commission of India as an umbrella body will also materialize this year. The government will also promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions. This is definitely going to set a better path for the education system in India.”

“Also, the National Digital Educational Architecture (NDEAR) will mark as “the dawn of a new era” (paraphrasing the Finance Minister) for the EduTech segment in India. Technological interventions in democratizing higher education will open new avenues for aspiring youth. Institutions like ours, have embraced the same since COVID-19 pandemic struck the world last year. Now, with the budget FY-21 paving the same path ahead for us, we should consider this as a golden opportunity. “

Mr. Vivek Jain, Chief Business Officer of Shiksha.com

“The budget gives a good boost to our education system where over 15000 schools will be strengthened under the National Education Policy. Also, the replacement of the ‘10+2’ structure with the ‘5+3+3+4’ model has the potential to upgrade the Indian education system to that of developed countries. The main challenge will be for the first few batches to adapt to the new structure. We are optimistic that the new structure will be positive for students.”

Mr. T N U Nair Founder, School of Competency

“Education is the mainstay of any economy.  New education Policy is well poised to drive India’s growth.  Online education is here to stay as supplementary and complementary to classroom coaching. 
Edtech provides the scale and lays the foundation for a growth trajectory across sectors. Done right, with the right founder’s mindset, Edtech has the potential to propel India’s high-tech economy. India’s young are poised to leapfrog into digital orbit. Government focus to drive the entrepreneurial spirit from the basic level is quite noteworthy. “

Swoyan Satyendu, COO, ODM Educational Group

“I would like to congratulate FM Nirmala Sitharaman for being cognizant of the Indian education sector’s blemishes and addressing the same in the 2021 historic budget. The strategic and deliberate decision to introduce the New Education Policy will further improve the overall state of students across the country. It is also expected that the Finance Minister’s decision to promote greater autonomy with focus on universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level will boost the morale of institutions and encourage them to go above and beyond to deliver a superior result.”.

Mr. Rajiv Bansal, Director-Operations, Global Indian International School (GIIS), India

“Budget 2021-22 assumes huge importance in mitigating India’s economic crisis and disruption across various sectors brought on by COVID-19 pandemic, which is the need of the hour.

This being the first Budget after the unveiling of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, we look forward to the steps to be taken in the education sector.  The announcement of more than 15,000 schools to be qualitatively strengthened, with all components of National Education Policy, to emerge as exemplar schools in their regions, hand-holding and mentoring other schools, is certainly a welcome step.

At the same time, the education fraternity is eagerly waiting to hear on the comprehensive implementation plan for NEP 2020 with adequate fund allocation to develop digital infrastructure that would aid and accelerate the necessary improvement required in teaching-learning process. Besides this, the Budget 2021-22 has few key directions for higher education sector as well, which should help bridge the existing educational gaps and secure a sustainable long-term growth structure.”

Ashish Jhalani, Managing Director, Square Panda India

Square Panda is very excited that inclusive development for aspirational India and reinvigorating human capital are two pillars on which budget 2021 rests. The two important announcements for us are that over 15,000 schools are to implement the National Education Policy and act as a model for the rest of the schools.

Also, 100 new Sainik Schools and 750 Eklavya Model Residential Schools are to be set up in tribal areas. Each of these, is an opportunity to skill our children, our pre-schoolers in the right way, with the right pedagogy and ensure that their foundational literacy and numeracy is achieved and that they become contributing citizens to the India of the future.

Dr. Neelima Kamrah ,Principal -KIIT World School

 In the Union Budget 2021,  the education sector has given a new path to collaborate with other countries where students can enhance their skills. The establishment of the National Research Foundation to promote research, the formation of the Higher Education Commission, and the provision in the budget for skill development is a commendable step. With this, public-private partnerships with private schools and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) opening new Sainik schools in the country and strengthening schools in the New Education Policy (NEP) is a good step, but how the government will bring these schemes on the ground is also important

Manpreet Jangra, Lead – Learning & Development, iMET Global

“Indian budget has faced an epitome in the economy only thrice in its history. This year the contraction is highly due to the Global Pandemic of Covid-19 just like several other countries. In effect, education institutes across the country remained close in the 2020 academic year but they still grasped very well in accordance with the other sectors. In the budget 2020-2021, Finance Minister focused on higher education as well. In the 2019-2020 budget, she talked about setting up the Higher Education Commission of India which will be implemented from this year.

Under this commission, there will be an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding. It will be created in 9  such cities. Also, her initiative of setting up a university in Leh Ladakh (Central university in Leh) is a breakthrough achievement as setting up a university in a remote area will provide financial aid to that specific state. Additionally, the plan to set up a National Language Translation Mission is a great move to boost regional language content in the country and is in sync with the NEP 2020 agenda.”

Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Founder of GETI and GCPL

“Following the schools shutting down, classroom education shifting to the online space, and introduction of NEP in 2020, there were a lot of expectations from this year’s budget. Announcement about opening 100 new Sainik schools in partnership with NGOs, private schools, and states is a welcoming move that will encourage the sector. Further, allocating Rs 50,000 crore over five years to the National Research Foundation (NRF) for Innovation and Research & Development will stimulate the sector in the medium to long term. Introduction of the Apprenticeship Act that will spur employment opportunities for students post-education apprenticeship. Overall the budget has made positive developments and is moving in the right direction. As per the NEP, The percentage of GDP was supposed to go up, not reduce it.

Which is not a good sign in the Budget. Education is not the loosest point and setting back the education sector. As schools were shut during covid. The Education Sector needed a bigger boost from the current Budget. It’s good to know that 15000 schools will be a part of NEP now. Also, Samagra Shiksha was not explained properly as it’s a good initiative by the Govt.”

Mr. Vinod Simon, Chairman  Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC)  

Several provisions in the Budget aimed at enhancing skills of the youth underlines Government’s commitment to the skilling ecosystem and will go a long way in helping the youth to stay relevant in the job sphere amid challenging times, stated Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC)

“The Government’s proposal to amend the Apprenticeship Act and a budget allocation of Rs 3000 crore towards National Apprenticeship Training Scheme is a remarkable step to promote skilling and will provide ample opportunities for the country’s youth”, said Mr. Vinod Simon, Chairman RSDC.  

The National Apprenticeship Training Scheme for providing post-education apprenticeship, training of graduates and diploma holders is proposed to be realigned to make it demand-driven.

The move aligns with RSDC’s consistent efforts to leverage Apprenticeship opportunities in the vast Rubber sector and make the sector competitive while offering key opportunities to the youth, added Mr. Simon.

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