The Union Budget 2023: Explore What’s There for Higher Education


Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Union Budget 2023 on February 1, 2023, allocating Rs 1,12,899 crore to the education sector, including the allocation to secondary education, higher education, and various schemes like the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan. This allocation has seen growth nearing 8.26 percent, or nearly 8.26 crore more than the previous year.

The budget allocation for education in 2022 was Rs 1,04,278 crore, which was 11,054 crores more than in 2021. In 2022–2023, the Department of School Education and Literacy was allocated Rs 63,449 crore, or 61 percent of the ministry’s total budget. The Department of Higher Education was allocated Rs 40,828 crore, accounting for 39 percent of the Ministry’s total allocation.

The Union Budget 2023 Expectations

There were lots of expectations from this budget, especially lower taxes, job creation, boosting manufacturing, a rise in expenditure on research and education, and also increasing tax revenue receipts for the government.

The main concern in the education sector is to enhance the budget share to at least 6% of the total GDP, which is also acknowledged in the NEP 2020, but unfortunately it stands at around 3% of the total GDP.

There were many focus areas where the education industry expected some rebate in terms of subsidising edtech companies and educational products, with a greater emphasis on the development of digital infrastructure, building on online educational tools and software, and long-term policies to improve skills and leadership. Other expectations included increased funding for teacher training and development, research and innovation, scholarships and schemes, and internationalisation of Indian universities and institutes.

The Union Budget 2023 Reality

The budget met some of the expectations, mostly focusing on two verticals: first, the Department of School Education and Literacy, and second, the Department of Higher Education. Let’s look at the statistics of budget 2023 and key mainstream areas of the education budget.

Department of School Education and Literacy

In the Union Budget 2023 the allocation for school education has increased by 8 percent from Rs 63,449 crore (Budget Estimate) in 2022-23 to Rs 68,804 crore in 2023-24. For Samarga Shiksha Abhiyaan Rs 37453.46 crore has been allocated. The percentage of share allocated to

  • 36% for Samagra Shiksha (Rs 37,383 crore).
  • 19% for autonomous bodies like Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Central Tibetan School Administration, and National Bal Bhawan.
  • 16% for the PM POSHAN scheme.
  • Budget allocation for financial year 2023-24 for the World Bank aided Scheme of STARS has increased by Rs. 250.00 crore (45.45 per cent) from Rs. 550.00 cr in budget estimate 2022-23 to Rs. 800.00 crore in budget estimate 2023-24.
What’s there for Department of Higher Education?

In the allocation higher education has received Rs 44,094 crore in Union Budget 2023-24, an increase of 7.9 percent from Rs 40,828 crore in 2022-23. The further bifurcations of the budget focusing on,

  • Digital India e-learning has been allocated Rs 420 crore,
  • Research and innovation have been allocated Rs 210 crore which has increased 51 per cent over last year. The Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) which has been one of the funding sources for the Indian government to fund the UK-India Education Research Initiative programme gets a seven time increase from 10 crores to 74 crores.
  • University Grants Commission has been allocated Ra 5360 crore,
  • Indian Institute of Technology has been allocated Rs 9661 crore while Indian Institute of Management has been allocated Rs 300 crore,
Key Focus Areas of Higher Education 2023
  • New Medication Colleges

Total 157 new nursing colleges will be established along with 157 medical colleges in India.

  • Multidisplinary Courses for Healthcare

Specially designed multidisciplinary courses to understand the usage and function of high-end and advanced medical devices are necessary to ensure the availability of skilled manpower. The government is planning to start a new scheme Multidisciplinary Education and Research Improvement in Technical Education (MERITE) with the borrowing of World Bank under IDA replacing earlier project of the World Bank called the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme which ran for nearly 19 years.  It will be implemented across India in about 350 government aided engineering institutions and affiliated technical universities.

  • Teacher’s Training and Development

The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) allocation of 400 crore is five times more than the previous year. The increase spending is for prominent teachers’ training and development, revising the curriculum, and developing ICT and research labs.

  • National Digital Library

An establishment of the National Digital Library for children and students to access quality books across different courses.

  • Eklavya Model Residential School

Eklavya model schools will be set up to educate 3.5 lakh tribal people with the support of 38800 teachers and 750 support staff in the next three years.

  • Medical Research

ICMR labs will be set up for collaborative research by public and private medical colleges and private sector R&D teams.

  • Artificial Intelligence Centre

The Center will establish three Advanced Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence in top educational institutes to vouch for the vision of “Make in India” and “Make AI work for India.”

Some of the Major Announcement and Opportunities

Overall, the budget is moderate for higher education, especially in the mainstream areas of digital learning, medical devices, and the implementation of AI. Please let us know what you think of the union budget for 2023 for education.