Reflections on Budget 2022 – Higher Education

By UK India Business Council (UKIBC)

By John Mountford, UKIBC Higher Education Associate Director

It was announced in last Wednesday’s (2nd February 2022) Union Budget of India 2022-23, that world-class foreign universities and institutions will be allowed, as part of the GIFT City initiative to offer courses in Financial Management, FinTech, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics free from domestic regulations, except those by International Financial Services Authority (IFSCA), to facilitate availability of high-end human resources for financial services and technology.

GIFT City is being promoted as a gateway to India’s Financial Services sector, promoting knowledge and technology across borders to help build the sector’s expertise and capacity. This focus on the importing of knowledge and skills broadens the opportunity beyond FDI models to include academic led partnerships. The GIFT City initiative, and the associated reduction in regulatory requirements, speaks to a desire to attract international, including UK, academic expertise, rigour and quality in the development and delivery of bespoke programmes and certification. The close links to business forged through the programme also indicates an emphasis on the development of cutting edge and industry relevant skills forged between education and industry collaboration.

The GIFT City announcement is an indication of a growing willingness amongst India’s policy stakeholders towards the internationalisation of HE provision and the facilitation of overseas global providers’ entry. It represents an exciting opportunity for UK universities to contribute through content and curriculum creation relevant to this dynamic sector’s flexible demands, including the UK’s expertise in providing innovative educational solutions to Industry 4.0 and global reputation for excellence in STEM research. The Gift City initiative provides a medium for academic partnerships, best practices exchanges and student mobility, especially against the backdrop of UK’s experience as a global financial hub.

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