The union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday tabled the budget for the financial year 2022-2023 which is also second digital budget, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a plan of action comprised of four pillars of development-inclusive development, productivity enhancement, energy transition and climate action that has to be implemented with zeal and motivation for the upcoming financial year. One of the key highlights in the budget is the digitalization which is underlined in almost every sector of economy, from education to health to agriculture. Digitalization is the need of an hour as the government reiterates “minimum government and maximum governance” to make the government operations more transparent and bring people closer to the government by shrinking the leakages. According to Ministry of Education, government of India 2020 report, it has impacted over 240 million children of our country who are enrolled in schools and extended school closures caused in loss of learning. The existing health crisis has completely violated the fundamental right of education under article 21(A), which asserts the state to provide free and compulsory education to all the children of six to fourteen years of age. In the budget 2022-23, the government tries to focus upon resilient and restructuring the education system. With the establishment of the institutes of excellence, Agriculture University and the most catching announcements of the budget of India’s 1st digital university. The digital university will provide access to students across the country to world-class quality universal education, with personalized learning experience on the guidelines of NEP (New education policy) 2020. The next major move is reinforcement of Pm e-vidya scheme under “one classroom one TV” Programme, in which expansion of 200 channels from the current number of 12 with the vision of minimizing the language barrier across states and to promote native learnings. The Pm e-vidya scheme was launched on 18th of May 2020 under “one nation one digital platform” to bring back the children into the mainstream, who are left behind because of online inaccessibility to the education. With all the efforts and initiatives the budget allocation on education is all time high. The allocated budget is more than 1 lakh crore i.e. Rs 1,04,278 crore, a rise of Rs 11,054 crore from the previous year, which is 11.86% higher than the earlier allocated budget. This clearly shows that government intentions and motivation for shaping the new India @75 with investment in research and development, infrastructure and science and technology.
There are obviously challenges associated with digitalization process and attaining the targeted goal to achieve. In the Indian education system of digital divide which segregates between those, who can access the internet facilities and those who cannot not. Apart from it there are further types of barrier like gender divide, rural – urban divide and etc. But the government of India is stepping ahead to minimize the gap with various schemes and policies such as Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM), National Mission on Education Through ICT (NMEICT), National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a joint program of IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IISc (Indian Institute of Science). Through this, the importance of digitalization can be recognized, not only in the stream of education but in the different economic dimensions than only the dream of making India digital capital can be possible.
Centre for economic studies and planning,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
*The views expressed here are author’s personal and are not endorsed by the organization in any way.