The entire country will be listening closely to Finance Minster Arun Jaitley on Wednesday. Although the distress caused by demonetization is fading away, it isn’t entirely forgotten. The common people expect to be rewarded by the Modi government for patiently waiting in lines and sacrificing significant hours of labour. However with the International Monetary Fund stripping India off her “world’s fastest growing major economy” title, Jaitley cannot afford to be fiscally irresponsible. With this pressure to please both, the general public and the investors, the youth’s expectations maybe forgotten.
With a sizable population of the country below the age of 30 years these should be the top 5 priorities of the government for the youth in the upcoming Union Budget, 2017-18.
- Exemption for Education Loans to be raised: Currently under Section 80E of the Income Tax of India, deduction of interest on education loan is available for maximum of 8 years or till interest is paid, whichever is earlier. This should be raised to 10 years.
- Regulating the private coaching institutes: With the rising suicide rates in the IIT-JEE coaching’s heartland – Kota, the state should regulate the private coaching centers and bring them within the formal regulatory framework. This can be done by giving them semi-education institution recognition. Since these institutes currently do not have recognition, they cheat the government of huge amount of indirect and direct which leads to a huge loss of revenue to the government. It is unlikely though, that the current budget would move in this direction.
- Increase in higher education infrastructure: With over 5 lakh aspirants competing for just 10,000+ seats in 23 IITs, there is a dire need to increase infrastructure. However, the increase can only be done gradually since accommodation, classroom and other infrastructure is built using immediate government funding, it is high time that laboratories and other such facilities are built in a way to ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of education provided.
- Increase the total spending on education: Budgetary allocation figures of the past years do not create an image of education being the county’s top priority. The government should strive to reach the desired education expenditure of 6% to GDP to make significant progress in this area.
- Scholarships for the socially weaker section: For continued affirmative action the budget should cater to the increasing need of granting scholarships to NC-OBC, SC/ST and all other socially backward classes.
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