While public spending on education may see a rise in the forthcoming Union Budget (FY24), the expenditure on education as percentage of GDP is unlikely to increase, an education expert said.
Kamlesh Vyas, partner, Deloitte India, told FE that because it’s the last full Budget of the government before the next general elections are held in 2024, other factors—such as health or social development schemes, direct benefits transfer or LPG subsidy—might take precedence.
“Almost every government says that it will substantially increase the allocation to education as a percentage of GDP, but almost every government has been falling short of this goal,” Vyas said. “A large gap between the 6% target and actual status of investment has remained for decades.”
In the 1960s, the Kothari Commission recommended that the education expenditure as a share of national income be increased from 2.9% in 1965-66 to 6% by 1985-86.
Yet, even in the Budget FY23, the expenditure as a percentage of GDP remained less than 4%.
While Vyas added that the allocation towards legacy schemes such as Mid-Day Meal and Samagra Shiksha cannot be reduced, the increase we were expecting in new schemes such as PM SHRI School or the additional investment required for the implementation of the Digital University or digital initiatives like Swayam may fall short.