Union Budget: How allocation to defence, education, health has seen double-digit growth in last 5 years

Budget 2023 is expected to focus on health, defence, education and social welfare sectors. In the last five years, the budget allocation for defence jumped by 46% while the allocation for social welfare rose more than 30%. The budget allocations to the health and education sector have also consistently increased.

Union Budget 2023, Education, Defence, health, annual budget
Budget allocation on the education sector has consistently increased from Rs 81,868 crores in 2017-18 to Rs 1,04,278 crores in the previous Budget. (Image credits: PTI)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present her fifth straight Union Budget on 1 February for FY24. Earlier this month, the Finance Minister indicated that the forthcoming Budget will continue to push growth on the back of public spending, and it will “follow the spirit” of earlier Budgets. The Budget, the minister said, will also “set the template” for the next 25 years. This is the fourth budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s NDA government in its second term. As this Union Budget 2023-24 will be presented in the backdrop of geo-political uncertainties, high inflation, and slowing global growth, allocation to key sectors including health, defence, education, social welfare will be keenly watched.

How allocation to key sectors has changed in the last five Budget


Defence and aerospace is an emerging industry in India following recent policy initiatives for increased private sector participation. The sector is looking forward to sops in the upcoming Union Budget 2023-24 to kickstart big growth in the next financial year. India’s defence budget allocation for 2022-23 was Rs 3,85,370 crore. In the last five years, the budget allocation of the sector has jumped by 46%. Through enhanced budgetary support over the years, the Government has placed modernisation and infrastructure development of the Armed Forces at the centrestage of the National Security and Defence Planning process.


Budget allocation on the education sector during the period 2017-18 to 2022-23 reveals that the same barring the year 2021-22 has consistently increased from Rs 81,868 crores in 2017-18 to Rs 1,04,278 crores in the previous Budget, which is 11.86% more than the same in the last budget. The education budget of 2022 focused mainly on digital education, the creation of a digital university, job creation, agricultural universities, skill development of programmers, etc. During 2021-22, the allocation to education declined by Rs 6,088 crores, down 6.13% from the Year 2020-21 allocation.


In the Union Budget 2022-23, the government allocated around Rs 86,000 crore to the healthcare sector, a 62% increase in comparison to what was spent in 2018-18. The increase last year, especially, was driven by increased allocation to centrally sponsored public health schemes to continue building sustainable healthcare infrastructure and ensure system preparedness to handle increasing healthcare needs of the country. In Budget 2023, some contingency measures mainly covering health may be seen in the wake of rising Covid cases in China. The forthcoming Budget is expected to focus on health infrastructure, R&D [research and development], and healthcare education and training.

Social Welfare

Allocation to social welfare has grown over the years as the Modi govt has introduced several social welfare schemes in the recent past. From 2017-18 to 2022-23, the allocation to social welfare jumped more than 30%. While in the upcoming budget FM Sitharaman may focus on fiscal consolidation, a reduction in allocation to this sector is less likely. The pandemic has severely affected government finances, pushing the fiscal deficit for 2020-21 to a record 9.3% of GDP, significantly higher than the budgeted 3.5%. That will likely limit the government’s ability to provide relief to households and businesses facing an uneven recovery from the pandemic. However, since the Budget 2023 presentation coincides with assembly elections in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, experts believe that it may discourage the government from making deep cuts to social welfare.

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First published on: 27-12-2022 at 16:36 IST
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