Union Budget expectations: Lower taxation can support edtech

January 18, 2021 5:00 AM

Union Budget 2021 Expectations for education sector: The current taxation of 18% on the edtech sector can be reduced so that accessible quality digital education becomes a viable option for students from all sections of society

Budget 2021 Expectations for ed tech: Although institutions have adopted online learning methods, the normalcy in the education sector is still far away.Budget 2021 Expectations for ed tech: Although institutions have adopted online learning methods, the normalcy in the education sector is still far away.

By Anoop Gautam

Union Budget 2021-22 Expectations for education: The Covid-19 pandemic has turned around the education sector. The transition from traditional learning to digital methods has helped the growth of edtech start-ups and existing companies, and it will most likely continue. At the same time, the Union Budget allocation for the edtech sector should be increased by 7-8%, compared to the previous year.

Digital education: Last year schools, colleges and institutions were shut entirely, with students and teachers having no other option left than going digital. Teachers and students demonstrated tremendous adaptability in adopting online learning methods. This opens new horizons for edtech start-ups. The NEP 2020 focuses on extracurricular and vocational learning with no separation from academic streams across the country. According to NASSCOM, India’s edtech space will be a $3.5 billion opportunity by 2022.

Tax cuts: The current taxation of 18% on the edtech sector can be reduced so that accessible quality digital education becomes a viable option for students from all sections of society. Recent months have witnessed the maximum funding during this pandemic in the edtech sector, which is also a direct result of increased awareness. Lower taxation can help the edtech sector to expand horizontally and revolutionise the education system.

Prioritise education budget: Although institutions have adopted online learning methods, the normalcy in the education sector is still far away. Despite efforts being put by private companies and the government, we still lack a uniform solution for all the students, as e-learning is still a challenge for students coming from socioeconomically weaker sections of the society. The Union Budget 2021 must accord more priority to the education sector, so that the effects of Covid-19 can be normalised. Underprivileged students can be given more learning tools and opportunities to adapt to digital learning methods. Robust platforms should be developed and curated for such students. Moreover, skills like problem-solving, creativity and computational thinking are crucial for 21st-century kids to face future adversities, just like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regular classes of basic academia should be the point of focus for the government, as new normalcy should be reflected in the education sector as well.

Considering all these points, the Union Budget 2021 must be inclined towards the education sector.

Education start-ups: The importance of MSMEs on the Indian economy is evident from the fact that MSMEs provide a lot of employment, attract foreign investments and substantially contribute to the GDP. India is home to around 63 million start-ups (as per data from the MSME ministry), employing around 120 million people and contributing to 45% of exports. In the Union Budget 2021, the taxation scheme for MSMEs should be revised and reduced, as it will provide more opportunities for MSMEs and start-ups to grow. Besides, the loan approval process for MSMEs should be simplified, and collateral-free loans should be provided to start-ups and MSMEs. Last year witnessed record-breaking funding in the edtech domain, and this sector should be included under the benefits availing scheme for MSMEs, as it will provide a better ecosystem for start-ups to scale and promote quality education.

The author is CEO & co-founder, Tinker Coders. Views are personal

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