Union Budget 2023-24: Education sector sees 8% rise in allocation. Here are a few major takeaways

As per the Union Budget 2023-24, there has been an increase in expenditure on health and education
Here are the key points from the Union Budget 2023-24 | Pic: EdexLive
Here are the key points from the Union Budget 2023-24 | Pic: EdexLive

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2023-24 today, February 1. The education sector witnessed a rise in allocation as the minister allocated a budget of Rs 1,12,899 crore for 2023-24.

It is an increase of approximately 8.29% over the budget allocation of Rs 1,04,278 crore in 2022. The allocation for education has been consistently increasing over the years, with Rs 99,300 crore allocated in 2020 and Rs 93,224 crore in 2021.

As per the Union Budget 2023-24, there has been an increase in expenditure on health and education. The expenditure on education was 2.8% of the GDP in the budget 2019-20, whereas, it is 2.9% in the budget for this year. Similarly, with health, the expenditure was 1.4% of the GDP earlier, whereas, for this year, it is 2.1%.

Major schemes
Of special note is the increase in the budget allocated to the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), similar to the increase in the previous year's budget as well. KVS' budget rose from Rs 7,650 crore to Rs 8,363 crore. Similarly, the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) also saw an increase in allocation from Rs 4,115 crore to Rs 5,486 crore.

Certain education-related schemes saw an increase in allocation compared to the previous year's budget. The PM-POSHAN (POshan SHAkti Nirman) came with multiple additional benefits and was touted to be much more than just a midday meal. The allocation increased from Rs 10,233.75 crore to Rs 11,600 crore. The primary objective of the scheme is to improve the nutritional status of children studying in Classes I-VIII in eligible schools.

Prior to the budget being presented, education experts had called for the introduction of regulations for more education loans/aid in the context of hybrid learning. However, the budget allocated for financial aid for students — including scholarships — has been reduced from Rs 2,077.85 crore to Rs 1,950 crore.

The budget for Digital India's e-learning initiatives did not see any change. The total budget allocated in the previous year's budget was Rs 421 crore and it remained the same this year as well. To recall, the overall budget was reduced to Rs 421 crore in the 2022-23 budget from Rs 645 crore in the previous year. That's a cut of over 200 crore in an age where everything is becoming increasingly virtual.

The Samagra Shiksha scheme, touted to be the government's largest education scheme, hasn't seen any significant increase in allocation from last year — Rs 37,453 crore compared to Rs 37,383 crore this year.

Support to institutions
Much like last year, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) received a decent hike in terms of support. The budget allocated increased from Rs 8,495 crore to Rs 9,661.5 crore. However, the budget allocated for Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) saw a considerable decline from Rs 653.92 crore to Rs 300 crore. The budget for the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISERs) on the other hand, saw an increase from Rs 1,379.53 crore to Rs 1,462 crore.

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