Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will present the Union Budget 2015-16 in Parliament on February 28. Promising ‘Achhe din’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government at the Centre after its decisive victory in Lok Sabha Elections 2014. The BJP succeeded in shaping the expectations of people in 2014 but now it’s time to deliver on their promises.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitey had allocated Rs 68,728 crore in the Budget 2014-15, which was 11.1 % higher than the amount allocated for the Education sector in Budget 2013-14. However, it is still inadequate considering the sectoral requirement. Jaitley had increased the allocation but failed to woo private investment in the sector. Budget 2014-15 also failed to outline a path of reform for education. (Read: Railway Budget 2015: Passengers want existing system to improve; facilities like flight passengers

Here is what the Education sector is expecting from the Union Budget 2015-16:

1- New policies: Government may roll out some new policies like Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyaan and Campus Connect to increase literacy in the country.

2- Skill development: As Narendra Modi has been hammering on skill development, the government may announce new vocational training courses to produce skilled professionals.

3- Digital India: To fulfill Narendra Modi’s dream of Digital India, there is lot more to do in the Education sector. Government may take initiatives like virtual classrooms across the country to digitalise the education system. The last budget had provided Rs 100 crore for setting up virtual classrooms in the form of Communication Linked Interface for Cultivating Knowledge (CLICK) and online courses. The allocation is likely to increase this time.

4- Private investment: The government may encourage private investment in Education sector to improve the quality of education and infrastructure. As most of the private operators function on ‘non-profit basis’ that discourages big investments in the sector, the government may take initiatives to boost private investment along with devising a mechanism wherein the investor will get fixed share in return.

5- Ease in educational loan: Most of the students don’t peruse higher education due to financial problems and an educational loan policy that has tough terms and conditions. The Government may bring in affordable educational loan policies. It may also set up education finance corporations that will provide easy finance for higher education.

To implement such plans, the Centre will need to increase the amount allocated to the Education sector in Budget 2015-16. Let us see if the underlying expectations will be fulfilled or not.

Edited by Shweta Parande