The Indian budget requests more financial aid

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Posted on February 13, 2024


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Fin Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed last week that India had raised its education budget to Rs1.2 trillion (£11.4 billion) this year from Rs1.13tn last year. Stakeholders in foreign education, however, argue that concerns about outbound Indian students ought to have been raised.

Saurabh Arora, CEO of University Living, a global network for student housing, said, “Unfortunately, issues related to interest rates on education loans or Tax Collected at Source for remittances for overseas education weren’t addressed in the interim budget 2024.”

The affordability of a foreign education for Indian students and their families is greatly impacted by these factors.

He said, “We hope that this aspect will be taken into consideration to some extent in the full-fledged budget that follows the general elections in India.”

Following the April and May elections, another budget is anticipated.

The Reserve Bank of India has revised its regulations such that remittances over INR 700,000 (about £6,700) are subject to a 0.5% TCS, but only if the schooling is being funded by a loan from a financial institution. The TCS rate is 5% for students who are pursuing their higher education on their own.

Sachin Jain, the country manager for India and South Asia at ETS, had hoped that the interim budget of 2024 would include incentives for institutions to embrace international talent and support outgoing Indian students, in addition to increased financing for exchange programs, scholarships, and research collaborations.

According to Jain, “such funding is crucial for fostering academic excellence, enabling access to high-quality education globally, and facilitating cultural exchanges.”

Aritra Ghosal, the founder and director of OneStep Global, emphasized the government’s goal of producing globally competitive professionals as well as the budget’s “unwavering commitment to providing equitable and quality education for all.”

Sitharaman announced an 11% increase in spending for the upcoming fiscal year, amounting to Rs11.11 trillion, with the biggest story being the record-breaking infrastructure projects.

Manisha Zaveri, joint managing director of Career Mosaic, said, “The emphasis on quality education through PM Schools for Rising India and the Skill India Mission’s success in training 14 million youth underscore India’s commitment to preparing its students for global opportunities.”

The 2020 National Education Policy’s PM SHRI seeks to modernize current schools to offer a top-notch education in a setting that is “equitable, inclusive, and joyful.” This year, the initiative’s funding increased by about 6.1%.

In addition, Zaveri stated that the opening of the first international university campus in GIFT City and the creation of new universities, IITs, and IIMs “signals a robust move towards internationalising education.”

“These steps, intended to improve educational quality and accessibility, provide Indian students with a strong basis as they pursue opportunities for study abroad,” stated Zaveri.

Furthering collaborations with international colleges may provide Indian students with more access to employment and educational prospects, she continued.

The University Grants Commission has received an application from Lincoln University College, Malaysia, to establish a campus in the state of Telangana, Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar told the assembly last week.

The latest interim budget for UGC experienced a 50% reduction, going from Rs5.3m in the previous year to Rs2.5m in the 2024–2025 fiscal year.

Madhushri Verma, Head of Strategic Communications at MPOWER Financing, proposed that “better incentives” and “more financial assistance/allocation” for increased diversity in foreign education be included in the upcoming budget.