The current unemployment and high educational inequity levels continue to weigh heavy on the country’s youth
This brief is a part of the Budget 2022: Numbers and Beyond series.
The education budget saw a tepid increase of over 11 percent from INR 93,224 crore last year (revised estimate INR 88,001 crore ) to INR 104,278 crore this year, still falling short of the desired 6 percent of the GDP that has been recommended in every National Education Policy since 1968.The ASER report also brings out the adverse impact on school enrolment amongst young children. The report states that children between the age of 6 and 14 years, ‘not currently enroled in schools’ increased from 2.5 percent in 2018 to 4.6 percent in 2021. There is an urgent need to strengthen public school education in India. The National Education Policy encourages privatisation of education, but the experience with the pandemic has shown that the government cannot cede its role in education. Many surveys, including the one by ASER, have brought forth how children, especially in rural areas, moved out of private to government schools for various reasons, including shut down of low-cost private schools, financial distress faced by parents, and families migrating back to villages. The Economic Survey recognises that public schools need to be equipped with additional support, in terms of teacher-pupil ratio, classroom space, and teaching/learning materials, to absorb students migrating from private schools and from urban to rural areas, and yet there is little provision for this in the budget. The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the biggest school education scheme was allocated INR 37,383.36 crore, an increase of more than INR 6,000 crores from Budget 2021, but still less than 2019, when it was allocated INR 38,750.50 crore. The pandemic’s impact on children’s nutrition has also been detrimental, and it was expected that PM POSHAN Abhiyaan would be strengthened this year, but the mid-day meal scheme saw a drop in allocation from INR 11,500 crore in 2021-22 to INR 10,233 crore in 2022-23.
There are a few initiatives already underway to address mental health issues during the pandemic, like NIMHANS’s national, toll-free helpline and another toll-free helpline by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.The budget this year has made provision to improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services with a national tele-mental health programme. The programme will be operated under a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS as the nodal centre and the International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru to provide technical support. There are a few initiatives already underway to address mental health issues during the pandemic, like NIMHANS’s national, toll-free helpline and another toll-free helpline by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The government will provide support to sunrise opportunities that provide employment opportunities for the youth in artificial intelligence (AI), geospatial systems and drones, semiconductor and its ecosystem, space economy, genomics and pharmaceutic green energy, and clean mobility systems.The spending on higher learning increased from INR 38,350.65 crore to INR 40,828.35 crore. There was a huge boost to promote medical education, for the establishment of new medical colleges and increase of seats in existing government medical colleges and for the National Mission in Education through ICT (NMEICT), which promotes the uptake of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) amongst youth. While youth schemes had an overall increase, they are nowhere near enough to meet the needs and aspirations of the youth demographic. The sports budget, as always was short-changed, though it increased by INR 305.58 crore with an emphasis on Khelo India. Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram, an umbrella scheme for the all-round development of the youth received INR 138 crore, an added 29 crore from the previous year. The National Service Scheme (NSS) was granted INR 283.50 crore, from INR 231 crore last year and the National Youth Corps was allocated INR 75 crore.
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Sunaina Kumar is a Senior Fellow at ORF and Executive Director at Think20 India Secretariat. At ORF, she works with the Centre for New Economic ...Read More +