Budget 2018 did not increase the tax benefit associated with education loans.
While announcing his budget 2018 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced various benefits for students and education sector in India. The finance minister proposed to launch ‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’’ with a total investment of Rs 1,00,000 crore in next four years. This will aim at step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions. This is in line with imparting quality education to the students in the country.The Union Budget 2018 further mentioned that the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) would be suitably structured for funding the RISE initiative.
To enhance education of the tribal children, the Finance Minister proposed that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya Model Residential School on the lines of Navodaya School.
The Budget 2018 made it clear that the government will initiate an integrated B.Ed. programme for teachers. Training of teachers during service is extremely critical. The government has amended the Right to Education Act to enable more than 13 lakh untrained teachers to get trained.
The Finance Minister aims at using the technology to improve the quality of the education. Technology will also be used to upgrade the skills of teachers through the recently launched digital portal ‘‘DIKSHA’’.
The Finance Minister also proposed significant investments in the higher education. The government would launch the ‘‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’’ Scheme this year. The scheme would identify 1,000 best B.Tech students each year from premier institutions and provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship.
The Union Budget 2018 also proposes to set up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading district hospitals in the country.
The students also expected the Budget 2018 to extend the tax exemption available on interest of education loan to the principal repayment. However this expectation was not fulfilled.Intitiatives such as Ease of Doing Business and boost to SME along with other initiatives of the government should create more employment opportunities for the graduating students.