Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed an allocation of ₹99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and about ₹3,000 crore for skill development, and said the government will launch a new education policy soon.

“By 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world. Not only do they need literacy but they need both job and life skills,” the finance minister said in her Budget speech in the Parliament on Saturday.

The government will also take steps to enable sourcing from external commercial borrowings and foreign direct investment (FDI) so it can deliver quality education.

"It is felt that our education system needs a greater inflow of finance to attract talented teachers, innovate and build better labs,” Sitharaman said in her speech.

The focus in education in India and around the world has moved to quality education. While India has made significant progress in getting children to school, the quality of education has been widely questioned. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a universal framework adopted by all member states in 2015, also recognise role of good quality and accessible public education.

In order to provide quality education to students of deprived section of the society as well as those who do not have access to higher education, the finance minister has proposed to start a degree level full-fledged online education programme. “This shall be offered only by institutions who are ranked within the top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking framework. Initially, only a few such institutions would be asked to offer such programmes,” she said.

The government also aims to make India a preferred destination for higher education, and has proposed to start an Ind-SAT exam in Asian and African countries under its “Study in India” programme.

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