The need for new educational institutions and infrastructure upgrades has become critical due to the nation's steadily increasing student population. This is a good time to lay out plans and set aside funds to improve access to education throughout India in the upcoming Union Budget.
Below are the expectations ahead of India’s union budget 2024 focused to EdTech and higher education:
Digital education and NEP 2020 alignment
With the ed-tech industry projected to reach USD 4 billion by 2025, the budget is expected to prioritize digital education initiatives aligned with the National Education Policy 2020.
Enhancing global education relationships
Acknowledging India's strengthening global education ties, the budget could introduce benefits and support mechanisms for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
Taxation relief for overseas education
The budget is anticipated to address the Tax Collected at Source (TCS) rate, which impacts students studying abroad. A focus on reducing TCS rates could ease financial pressures for these students.
TCS impact on educational remittances
Considering the effect of TCS on remittances for education-related expenses, the budget might propose measures to lessen this impact. This includes facilitating options like zero forex international cards, exempt from TCS up to Rs. 7 lakhs annually.
Strategies to counter TCS effects
The budget may offer guidance for parents remitting money for their children's education abroad, focusing on informed financial choices to mitigate TCS impacts on education and travel expenses.
Skill-centric learning and access in remote areas
A shift towards skill-based education, especially in underserved regions, is likely to be emphasized, leveraging technological advancements for better educational access.
Internationalization of higher education
Support for global collaboration in higher education, such as allowing foreign institutions to establish campuses in India, is anticipated.
Budget allocation and tax incentives
The education sector looks forward to reduced GST on digital educational content and services, and increased budgetary allocations for research and development.
Affordable student loans
Proposals for making student loans more accessible, aiming to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50 percent by 2030, are expected to be part of the budget.
Digital infrastructure investment
Enhanced investment in digital infrastructure to support online education and teaching innovation is anticipated.
(Raghwa Gopal, CEO of M Square Media)