Union Budget 2015-16: Reactions from the Higher Education Sector
Snapshot of Budget 2015-16 Allocations to the Education Sector
Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley in his budget speech in the Parliament marginally reduced the overall allocations made to the education sector but has increased the allocation for higher education by about 22 percent. Jaitley has set aside Rs.69,074.76 crore for education in 2015-16. The revised estimates in 2014-15 had put the figure at Rs 70,505 crore. Of the total outlay for 2015-16, Rs.42,219.5 crore was dedicated to the schools sector and Rs.26,855.26 crore for higher education.
Mr. Rakesh Jinsi, President, SOIL 
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Happy about:  The budget definitely attempts to address India’s demographic dividend concern – opportunities for the youth. It turns the spotlight on both sides of the potential growth story – job creation as well as skill up-gradation. On the job creation front, apart from “Make in India”, three things stand out. Firstly, the plans to increase the ease of doing business – this will attract more investments and will speed up the process of creating opportunities. Secondly, the allocation of 1000 crore towards SETU (Self Employment and Talent Utilization) through NIITI Aayog is an interesting development. We will be keen to see how this is implemented. Thirdly the proposal of the MUDRA bank to fund the unfunded will encourage more Indian youth to take to entrepreneurship rather than seek jobs alone. On the skill up-gradation aspect, the budget addresses the demand and supply side. On the supply side, the soon to be launched National Skill Mission will hopefully live up to its ambitious target of consolidating the existing skill programs and thereby improve the quality of delivery of these programs. On the demand side, it will help aspirants by ensuring an IT based student financial authority to monitor scholarships. Given the recent success of digital transfer implementation, we are hopeful of this coming through well. The Nayi Manzil scheme for minority students who don’t have a school leaving certificate is also a welcome one. As expected the focus on skill development that began with the July 2014 budget has been strengthened and the case for entrepreneurship has also emerged stronger. On the whole the budget is growth focused and progressive.
Sad about:  What we missed seeing in the budget is the furtherance of the teacher training program that was spoken of in the last budget. We would have also liked to see a little bit more attention to industry-academia connect happening through innovative programs.