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Focus On Innovation, Skill Development: What Interim Budget 2024 Means For the Edtech Sector

While the interim budget 2024 just indicated what might come in the full budget in July, some major announcements on education and innovation have been received well by the edtech sector

Focus On Innovation, Skill Development: What Interim Budget 2024 Means For the Edtech Sector
POSTED ON February 02, 2024 9:54 PM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the interim budget for the financial year 2024-25 on February 1. Along with the vote on account, she announced some major decisions and policy intent for the development of education and innovation, which have been received well by the edtech industry. 

The major budget highlights included the overview of the Skill India Mission, launched by the government in 2015. The FM shared that it has trained 1.4 crore youth while 54 lakh youngsters underwent reskilling programmes. Moreover, Sitharaman said that over 3000 new ITIs have been established in the country so far by the Modi government. 

The speech to the parliament also highlighted the growth of women's enrollment in STEM courses, which constitutes 43 per cent of the total enrolment, one of the highest in the world. She also added that the government has set up 7 IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS and 390 universities to promote higher education.

Thumbs Up For Innovation

Reacting to the budget, Akshay Munjal, founder and CEO of Hero Vired, opined that the government's focus on upskilling the youth through the Skill India Mission and the vision for Viksit Bharat will address the crucial need to bridge the demand-supply gap for skilled workers. He also added that the growth of women's enrollment in STEM, considered a male-dominated field, would elevate the quality of education in India, further stimulating an increase in research and innovation in emerging sectors. 

To promote research in sunrise sectors, the government has decided to set up a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for the "tech-savvy youth". Under the programme, low or nil-interest-rate loans for up to 50 years would be provided to enhance investment into research in sunrise sectors. The announcement has been good news for the players related to the abovementioned sectors.

Gunjan Prabhakaran, partner and leader of Indirect Tax at BDO India, welcomed the establishment of such a corpus. "This substantial financial support will fuel the entrepreneurial aspirations of the Indian youth, fostering a culture of innovation and self-reliance."

Wait For Full Budget

The finance minister stuck mainly to her previously stated position that there would be "no sensational announcements" in the interim budget. Hence, the focus of the players in the edtech sector would now shift to the full budget, which is expected to be presented after the conclusion of the 2024 General Elections. 

Atharva Puranik, co-founder of Padhle, stated that he appreciated the initiatives outlined by the government. "This budget lays the foundation for a more detailed union budget, which we eagerly await," he added. 

Summing up his government's position, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the budget will empower all pillars of developed India, including the youth, low-income people, women, and farmers. "Nirmala Ji's budget is a budget for building the future of the country. This budget carries the guarantee of strengthening the foundation of Viksit Bharat by 2047," PM Modi added. 

The focus now shifts to the next full budget, which the edtech sector expects will increase funding for education and indicate a reduction in GST on educational resources from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.

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