The much-anticipated Union Budget 2023 is finally here, and the education sector is poised to receive a significant boost, with a record allocation of 1.12 lakh crores, marking a marginal 8% increase from the previous budget. This increased funding is a critical step in addressing the skill deficit in the country and promoting growth and development.
Investing in education is crucial for the future of a nation. It equips individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for innovation and competitiveness in the global arena. A well-educated population leads to a more informed and active citizenry, contributing to a stronger democracy.
The Union Education Budget 2023-24 was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. This article provides a summary of the key highlights, analysis, and explanation of the budget.
Union Budget 2023: Key Highlights & Takeaways for Education Sector
- The education sector received a record-high allocation of Rs 1.12 lakh crore, an increase from last year’s Rs 1.04 lakh crore.
- The allocation for the Department of School Education is 68,804 crore, and for the Department of Higher Education is 44,094 crore.
- An accelerator fund for agriculture will be established to support young entrepreneurs in launching agri-startups, particularly in rural areas.
- 157 additional nursing colleges will be established in key locations, along with the previously approved 157 medical colleges from the 2014 budget.
- To further our goal of enhancing digital infrastructure in India, the government is establishing a National Digital Library for kids and teenagers aimed at increasing access to quality literature across various languages, locations, and devices.
- The National Book Trust, the Children’s Book Trust, and other government publishers would be urged to distribute books in regional languages and English to state-run libraries to compensate for the education losses due to the pandamic.
- In an effort to improve education for 3.5 lakh tribal students, the government plans to recruit 38,800 new teachers over the next three years.
- Given the rapid advancement in medical technology, the government plans to create a multidisciplinary medical device course to train qualified workers to operate, study, and produce future medical technology.
- A new initiative to promote research and development in the pharmaceutical industry is to be launched, along with allowing access to ICMR labs for external research.
- Under Mission Karma Yogi, the government also intends to construct an online learning platform for developing and upskilling government personnel and capacity-building programmes for public officials.
- Investment in AI apps and technology dominated the education budget of 2023. The government has announced that the top 3 educational institutions will set up centres for excellence for artificial intelligence to realise the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI Work for India,” where research will be conducted to scale up solutions in sustainable development, agri tech, and healthcare.
- 100 labs will be established in engineering colleges to assist in the development of applications using 5G services in collaboration with banks, government regulators, and company owners.
- The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, a skill development initiative scheme for skill recognition and standardisation, is being expanded to provide courses in coding, robotics, drones, mechatronics, IoT, 3D printing, and essential soft skills to Indian youth in order to prepare them for the global job market. Cooperation between academia and industry will be prioritised.
- The Union Budget 2023 prioritises skill development in education. The finance minister recommended a single Skill India digital portal to help job-seekers connect with MSMEs, formal skilling, and entrepreneurial programmes. Thirty Skill Indian International Centres will train youngsters for overseas jobs. 47 lakh adolescents would get three-year direct benefit transfers under a pan-Indian apprenticeship promotion plan.
- One IIT will get a five-year research grant to advance lab-grown diamond manufacturing, a technology, innovation, and energy-driven industry with excellent employment potential.
- SEBI will design, monitor, administer, and enforce education standards and award degrees, diplomas, and certifications in the National Institute of Securities Markets.
This year the Union Budget of 2023 was presented in a paperless format; the same will be available for access through the ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.
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