As the union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented the Union Budget on February 1 recently, India’s education sector looked at her with hopeful eyes. The pandemic has strongly affected the education sector and people from the sector are hoping that the budget will give that much needed boost to the industry. Swar Makhija of Elets News Network takes a look at the views of Edtech companies on the budget 2022-23.
The Union Budget was presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2022.
The education sector saw more indulgence and push in technology and e-learning. EdTech sector, which has seen tremendous growth during the pandemic, has a very strong opinion on the budget. Swapnil Dharmadhikari, the Director and Founder of Splashgain Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd. said, “FM Nirmala Sitharaman has mentioned a digital university being developed to provide students with world-class quality education with ISTE Standards.” He further added that this will help students to learn by being in the comfort of their homes, from anywhere. “Expanding the PM eVidya scheme from 12 to 200 channels will bring in a regional inclusion for students across the country, and the move is applaud-worthy.”
Commenting on the budget offerings in the education sector, Managing Director and CEO, Schoolnet India Ltd. RCM Reddy, said, “I welcome the announcements for the education sector. The focus on digital learning, as well as the provision of enhanced learning aids through the PM e-Vidya scheme will give a new impetus to strengthening the school education system.”
Sriram Subramanian, Co-founder and CEO of Clever Harvey felt that the capping of long term capital gain surcharge will surely go a long way. Clever Harvey is an ed-tech platform and they recently raised funds for the expansion of Edtech in India. “ The government’s move to cap the long- term capital gains surcharge at 15%. It will go a long way towards ensuring investor confidence not just in startups but in equity generally.” He was happy with the offerings in the vocational field. He said, “We appreciate the special focus on creative vocational fields like animation, graphics, and game design in this year’s budget.” He further mentioned that one area where the budget fell short of expectations is the ongoing disparity in GST rates applied to physical and digital learning materials.
We asked the CEO and President of Infinity Learn, Ujjwal Singh, on how this budget is better than last year. He said, “The Budget 2022-23 has an inclusive approach. We are pleased that the government has recognized the importance of digital learning provided by the EdTech companies in India. The extension of the PM eVIDYA initiative 12 to 200 TV channels will give the segment the requisite boost.” He added, “Education specifically has taken a new direction that has made technology- based learning, whether online or blended, indispensable for our education systems.”
CEO of Globus Infocom Ltd. Kiran Dham, said, “The government’s budget 2022 announcement included steps to push online education via having digital universities with 200 channels and providing education in multiple regional languages which will facilitate supplementary learning and help the education ecosystem to deliver world-class education to learners.” She added that the expansion of “One Class One TV Channel” will help in tackling the continued learning even in a pandemic. We, being a part of this industry, do look forward to the positive impact this will make.
Jai Decosta, Founder and CEO of K12 Techno Services Pvt. Ltd. said, “ The FM and the Central government have given more emphasis on digital education. The acknowledgment of the loss of formal education of the students especially from the government schools due to the pandemic induced lockdown and infusion of the expertise of foreign universities to strengthen the fintech and mathematics education in the Indian education system is a good proposition.”
He further added, “Aggressive initiatives to promote and collaborate with private players might help the government to reduce further education loss for the students from economically challenged backgrounds.” Decosta feels that the overall budget failed to provide direction to private education players especially in the K12 segment. ”The budget doesn’t offer GST exemption or special provisions for Private schools to borrow funds from banks at concessional rates. Since this was highly required and expected from this budget, therefore it was a bit disappointing to notice the FM did not factor these in her Budget planning.”
Raj Mruthyunjayappa, President- India, Anthology Inc. stated “The Centre’s proposal to set up a Digital University to develop and provide access to digital education tools for the masses is a big win for the sector. The fact that the Digital University will have programmes in different Indian languages is highly encouraging. To be built on a hub and spoke model, by stitching collaborations with some of the best institutions in the country, the University looks designed to meet modern-day requirements.”