Data insights suggest that a homeland grows with its natives. Human resource is crucial for the economic growth of any nation. Only when all its citizens are well-informed and in good health can the country grow.
To enhance the productivity and earnings of individuals, there should be major investments by the government in the field of healthcare and the education industry.But, how far is this theory implemented in reality?
The healthcare investments planned for the year made the biggest newsmaker. The three concerns addressed in the budget are
- The quality of medical education
- Health of the rural population
- Preventive health care
The finance minister has stated a new National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). It is expected to have about 50 crore beneficiaries from close to ten crore economically vulnerable families. These families are the ones in which all the members collectively earn less than five lakhs a year.
With an allocation of 2000 crores for this scheme, about 50% of the recipients are expected to be reached in the first year of implementation.
Over half of this cost will be managed by the central government and the rest of the states. This scheme is expected to run on the cashless model with Aadhar-linked formalities.
About 1,200 crores have also been allotted for the transformation of existing health centers making provisions for good quality healthcare with free drugs and diagnostics.
Although the allowance for this sector is higher for FY18 than FY17, India still spends only a little over 1% of its GDP here compared to the UN suggested minimum of 2.5%
The education budget has been planned with a vision of integrating technology with education. This will provide efficient delivery methods and thus improve the quality of education.
The Indian education system looks forward to being learning-outcome based and thus the research sector is to be promoted.
The budget estimate for the education industry is about 85 thousand crores, about 4% more than the previous fiscal year.
This belies the expectations from a country where a major chunk of the population is comprised of youth who need to be honed with a good education system.
Industry analysis shows that the government should be spending about 6% of its GDP on education compared to the current allocation of 3.48%. This is also a plummet from the previous year’s 3.69%.
However, a new scheme called Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) has been unveiled that aims at spending 1,00,000 crores on refurbishing the current system.
This is expected to be financed by the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA). The ST population education is also to be aided by the introduction of ‘Eklavya schools’. But no financial source for this has been stated yet.
Predicting the Impact
The two key prospects of the budget suggested by business intelligence reports are:
A merge of several schemes:
- State-listed financial companies are to be merged to form a single mammoth organization
- Education from pre-school to junior college levels are to be treated holistically with a merge of several flagship school schemes.
A rise of start-ups
- In the medical industry, innovations in terms of drug development and delivery, and cost-effective diagnostics and medical devices will be encouraged.
- The inclusion of technology in the education will require newer services allowing the entry of new firms in the sector.
Poor health drives a lot of families down the economic strata. So, an improvement in healthcare budgets will contribute tremendously to uplifting such groups. India’s progress towards universal health coverage has been highly appreciated. While the schemes sound good, a lot of worries prevail regarding their implementation.
On the other hand, the budget for education has left a majority of the population disappointed. Education is a crucial investment in the human capital and is closely linked to economic growth. This year’s investment is the lowest in 5 years.
Not only this, the most impactful outcomes from the introduced schemes are also expected to be seen only in 2022.