Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget for the year 2017-18 has evoked diverse reactions from politicians, industry leaders, experts, academia and social media. Good for some, not so good for others but one sector which has not seen much is the Higher Education Sector. Did the Government miss out on Higher Education especially beyond the government colleges?
Here is what some of the leaders from the top b-schools of India has to say:
Dr. (Prof.) SatishAilawadi, Director, IMT Hyderabad.
“The budget gave a huge thrust to poor, farmers and rural areas by increasing the spends, while still maintaining the fiscal prudence. The government’s attempt has been to come out with a balanced budget with sops for everyone. With Increased allocations for MNREGA, rural housing, Roads and infrastructure, the budget gave a huge push to rural India. A cut on corporate taxes by 5% to micro, small and medium enterprises (turnover less than 50 Crores) and reducing the tax rates by half to 5% in the 2.5 Lakh to 5 Lakh tax bracket for individuals is seen as a good move. This budget was in continuation of past budgets in reforming the legacy issues like removing policy bottlenecks, cut bureaucracy, tackling bad loans, simplify laws, improving transparency, leveraging technology and improving tax compliance.”
Prof. Dr. Jitendra K Das, Director of FORE School of Management, Delhi.
I wanted to see some impacts in the higher education sector. Surprisingly there was nothing much to boost the higher education. Demographic dividend, which is being talked about, has been achieved more or less through people’s self-initiative. Policy-driven change in the education sector is much needed; something like incentivizing investments in the education sector by way of tax rebate, etc. particularly in the higher education sector outside the government. The government alone cannot meet quality with a global perspective in mind and the demand requirements of India. Education should be a high priority item for governments.
Prof. P.K. Biswas, Director IFMR Chennai.
The budget communicates performance orientation in many ways – reduction in Corporate Tax from 30% to 25% but only for companies with an annual turnover below Rs. 50 Cr because unlike larger companies, these are generating employment. CBSE and AICTE is freed from conducting entrance exams so that they focus on the performance of educational institutions, Online courses through Swayam platform, and institutional autonomy is linked to ranking.
It was a good move by the government to pre-pone the budget from the last day of February to 1st February, something which can be seen in corporate like advancing the performance appraisal and Goal deployments, but rarely in governments.
Prof. Gautam Ghosh, Director Thiagarajar School of Management, Madurai.
“It was a routine budget from the structural point of view as there have not been many changes on the revenue side. But the fiscal deficit is maintained at 3.2 per cent. The original roadmap had set it at 3 percent. The reduction in income tax rate from 10% to 5 % on personal income less than 5 lakh and more liberal schemes for rural India will put pressure on the Govt. to meet the fiscal deficit target next year. It will be commendable if Govt. meets the target of the fiscal deficit while adhering to these targets. The budget’s focus on extending market relevant training for the youth and setting up 100 international skill centers across the country are positive moves. Proposals to reform the UGC and empowering high-quality colleges with greater administrative and academic autonomy are most commendable.”
Prof. D. Ashok, Dean Business School, VIT University.
This year budget is supportive for lower to middleclass population. In fact, the range of small business man and salaried professionals, the budget has a lot of goodies. Introduction of GST will bring down the inflation and benefit for poor. Supportive for digital payment mode is an attempt towards reducing black money to a minimum. Govt. expenses towards infrastructure support like technology, communication, housing, transportation, skill development, education and health may increase at larger extent. In general, it is a supportive budget for rural economy but talking of higher education sector, there is no supportive measures seen to be taken up by the government.
Dr. ShekharChoudhury, Director, Calcutta Business School (former Director, IIM Calcutta).
The FM presented some interesting and potentially useful proposals in the area of education.
- Introduction of a system of measuring annual learning outcomes in schools and an emphasis on science education and flexibility in the curriculum to promote creativity which is woefully lacking in our highly bureaucratic educational system. There are many reports on school education that show the abysmally low levels of learning outcomes in our schools in arithmetic and language ability. These lacunae get translated into un-employability of our youth when they are old enough to look for jobs in the organised sector.
- Creation of an Innovation Fund for Secondary Education to encourage local innovations to ensure universal access, gender parity, and quality improvement.
- Proposal to undertake reforms in the UGC to encourage greater administrative and academic autonomy based on outcome-based accreditation and ranking. This is in line with the recommendations made by the Group of Secretaries who had suggested that the top universities in the country be unshackled from the UGC's stringent regulations to give full expression to their ambitious dreams. It is hoped that autonomy based on accreditation and ranking and funding linked to performance would enable the dream of our country to be in the forefront of research and teaching at the world level.