FM banks on external funding to boost higher education

New Delhi: Saddled with a sluggish economy that is forcing the government to boost spending on agriculture and rural sectors, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set her sights on foreign investments and external commercial borrowings to fund the higher education sector in India.

Presenting the Union Budget in Parliament on Saturday, Sitharaman announced a variety of measures to develop India’s education levels and skill sets capabilities even as budgetary allocation for the education sector saw an increase of around Rs 10,000 crore from last year.

“Our government proposes to provide about Rs 99,300 crore for education sector in 2020-21 and about Rs 3,000 crore for skill development,” Sitharaman said in Parliament.

Compared to the 20-21 budget, in her maiden Budget presentation presented on July 5, 2019, Sitharaman had earmarked Rs 94,853.64 crore for education.

With India set to emerge as home to the world’s largest working-age population by 2030, the government has embarked on an ambitious program to build on the education and skill sectors. However lack of funds is forcing the government to look at other funding options.

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