In Union Budget 2016, Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Finance Minister, took the challenge to stick to the fiscal deficit at 3.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2016-17, after achieving the 3.9% of GDP target in 2015-16. Along with the background like depressing global environment, market slowdown in domestic manufacturing and increasing expenditure demands, this year budget has been purely from the lens of consumption which is expected to give long term returns. This budget was a mixed bag of announcements focusing on enhancing rural sector with weight-age on roads, irrigation, power and LPG; future deposit of EPF to be taxable in part when withdrawn; income of more than 10 lakh rupees dividends to face tax of 1%, in addition to DDT; raises service tax rate to 15% besides additional tax on cars.
For development of any country, government should first focus on basic requirements like infrastructure, primary education, macroeconomics factors, then to the efficiency enhancers like higher education and training, goods market, labour market efficiencies and other factors and finally to innovation and sophistication factors. In 2015 Budget,one of the main focus of government was on improving higher education, and it was one of the reason why in Global Competitive Index,India’s rank slipped down to 16 places to 55thrank. In this budget government gave more importance to basic requirement fulfillment but also announced few policies on quality education by commitment to improve higher education institutions, decided to set up a higher education financing agency (non-profit) by initial corpus of Rs.1,000 crore and digital depository for school-leaving certificates other academic certificates.
Funds were also announced for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme for free and compulsory basic education and for the opening of 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas. But, neither is meant to address the significant problem of quality of education.
So, we are quite hopeful that in the coming year’s education system in India will develop, more children will attend school. We are sensitive towards the fact that at present 3 million students as per MHRD (figure is much higher as per census) do not attend school. As a CSR activity at MDI Murshidabad, our students run ‘Education Awareness Campaign’ in rural West Bengal and encourage parents in villages to send their children to attend school also makes them aware of scholarship schemes and educational loans.
We also hope to see government taking more initiatives to enhance quality of education, encourage research and path breaking innovation along with the strategic steps towards social and economic reforms.
About Author : Dr. ParomaMitra Mukherjee, has done her Ph.D. in Management and is a Faculty at MDI Murshidabad. She teaches subjects like Managerial Economics, Macro Economics and Indian Economics. Her research interest is in the area of Applied Managerial Economics, Macro Economics, and Strategic Management. She can be reached at email@example.com.