The Union Budget of 2023-24 provided an increase in the allocation of funds to the education sector, which is considered a great amount of progress in the country’s priorities. Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has lauded the Union Budget 2023-24 as being inclusive, people-centric and growth-stimulating. This is because the budget allocation for the education sector has seen an increase of 13%.
With this allocation of funds, the government has formulated the National Education Policy which focuses on skills and adopted economic policies that not only facilitate job creation at scale but also have supported business opportunities. The Budget also allows Teachers’ Training to be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, curriculum transaction, rapid professional development, dipstick survey and ICT implementation.
The government also plans on setting up a National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents for facilitating the availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres, and levels, along with device-agnostic accessibility. States will also be encouraged to set up physical libraries at the Panchayat level.
The aim is to also build a culture of reading among young minds and to make up for pandemic-time learning loss. The National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust and other sources will be encouraged to provide and replenish non-curricular titles in regional languages and English to these physical libraries. Collaboration with NGOs that work in literacy will also be a part of this initiative. To inculcate financial literacy, financial sector regulators and organizations will be encouraged to provide age-appropriate reading material to these libraries.
In terms of the budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, there has been a manifold increase over the years, and currently Rs 3,300 crore has been allocated for the forthcoming FY 2023-24. This is an 11% increase from the previous financial year and is the highest-ever budget allocation for the Ministry since 2010, which was when the Commonwealth Games were held in India.
The budget allocation for the Sports Ministry is also worth acknowledging. Major schemes and organisations of the Ministry having a substantial increase in budget outlay this year are Khelo India, Sports Authority of India, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, National Sports Federations, and National Service Scheme.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur praised the Union Budget 2023-24 and expressed his gratitude to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for giving priority to the sports and youth sector.
One of the special initiatives of the Department of Youth Affairs in the coming year will be building a Yuva Leadership Portal to reach out to youth and engage them in various activities so as to improve their leadership skills and inculcate a greater sense of responsibility towards society.
The portal is being designed as a registry for young people who wish to enroll for any activity that improves the quality of life of the community and also increases their income-earning capacity. It would help to connect the youth of the country with various urban and rural local bodies, small businesses, farmer-producer groups and cooperative societies with a special focus on digital literacy and financial literacy.
Such an engagement would provide experiential learning to the youth, improve their leadership skills and at the same time, improve the productivity of local communities. It is in harmony with the vision of India as a prosperous and caring nation. The project is expected to be completed and the portal will be launched in less than a year.