From what the Prime Minister has said and what was articulated at the government’s press conference, the NEP-2020 is a paradigm shift in India’s education. That is where it gets exciting, and immediately, that is where it stops too. Like everything ‘grandiose’ that this government has done, this is a grand plan. However, the real effect of it cannot be calibrated unless the final kinks are ironed out. On paper, there are several points the policy makes in the right direction. However, it is one more in nail in the coffin of decentralisation and makes a federal state far more unitary than it ever was. Education, which ought to be a local area subject, is now firmly with the Union Government.
Let’s first take up the issue of financing of education. There is no set-in-stone commitment to increasing the budgetary spending to 6% of GDP from the ever-lagging actual estimated spending between ‘1.6% – 4.6% [26.1, 26.2 – NEP 2020, Policy Document]. With no hard-wired commitment to increasing investment in education, which has dogged the development of quality education infrastructure since independence, this policy also looks like another announcement of the present government that will go nowhere.