Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman delivered the first union budget of the Modi government 2.0 on the 1st February.
From massive budget allocations to the much-welcomed tax reductions, the minister opened up the proceedings with a Kashmiri poem, then went on for another 159 minutes. She presented the budget in 5 languages, i.e. Kashmiri, English, Hindi, Tamil and French. And the budget was divided in three themes, namely Aspirational India; Economic Development for all, and A Caring Society.
Education sector, recognized as an integral part of all the three themes, saw a very well sketched out program going for it. Which is as follows:
1) Industry Allocation and Skill India
The Union Budget 2020 allocated Rs 99,300 crore for the Education sector. And as India stares at an enormous young workforce in the world aspiring to find avenues of work, an additional sum of Rs 3000 crore for Skill development has also been put aside.
2) The Magnified Approach
The minister proposed to set up the much-awaited “National Police University” and equally much needed “National Forensic Science University” in this financial year.
3) The Ultimate Outreach
An online degree-level education programme was announced to be launched to cater to the quality educational needs of the last-mile, largely deprived section of students.
4) INDSAT exam, a scholarship programme
“IND-SAT exam will be held for Asian and African students for scholarships to ‘Study in India’,” said the minister Sitharaman during the presentation of the Budget. The exam is aimed at easing the norms to come to India for pursuing further studies.
5) Old models put to the New Tests
Finance Minister Sitharaman proposed a new arrangement under the much tried and tested PPP model by attaching a Medical College to existing district hospitals. The Finance Minister said the government will encourage large hospitals with sufficient capacity to offer resident doctor’s diploma and a fellow of National Board (DNB/FNB) courses under the National Board of Examination.
6) FDI in Education
The Union Minister called for an eased foreign direct investment environment in the Education sector. Union Budget 2020 proposed foreign direct investment, FDI and External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) in education.
7) Apprenticeship in the focus
150 higher educational institutions are directed to start an apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses from FY 20-21. To raise the employers’ standard and brining much sought after equivalence in the skill sets of the workforce, this course of action is proposed by the Union Finance Minister.
8) Stern and Enabling Internships for Freshers
Minister Sitharaman asked Urban Local Bodies to restructure their internship programs and provide the freshers, especially engineers, with more and greater learning opportunities for as long as one year of time.
9) Special Courses to enhance the Employability
With the proposed special bridge courses the government is aiming to create a more robust and flexible workforce to work in and around a particular industry. Starting with the healthcare industry where nurses, paramedical staff and caregivers are to enhance their employability by undertaking courses that enhance their skills.
10) National Recruitment Agency (NRA)
Recruitment to Non-Gazetted posts made simple. FM Sitharaman proposed NRA as an independent, professional, specialist organization to conduct a computer-based online Common Eligibility Test for the aforementioned posts making the otherwise lengthy process of recruitment simple.
Looking at what has all been promised, it’s safe to say that FM seemed serious when she suggested a new education policy. Now let’s see if the proposed course correction can bring in the projected paradigm shift in the educational system and job creation.