The Union Budget 2017 was hailed as a progressive one by various leaders in the digital and start-ups sectors of India, and especially the priority given to skilling and training remains a pivotal point of discussion.
As India’s Finance Minister delivered his budgetary presentation in the parliament last week, ‘Skill India’ mission received a special mention. Showing clear intent to capitalise the demographic advantage of India, Arun Jaitley pointed out education, skilling and job creation as the fourth pillar of his proposals. India, under the leadership of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, will now focus on skilling 10 million youth over the next three years.
The National Skill Development Mission has created an elaborate skilling eco-system and imparted training to 7.6 million youth since its launch in 2015 and the government now plans to set up 1,500 Multi Skill Training Institutes across the country. “I am setting aside an amount of INR 17 billion for these initiatives,” said Jaitley, in his address to the Parliament.
Jaitley said that while Pradhan Mantri Kaushal skill centres have already been set up in over 60 districts, these will now be extended to 600 more districts. These skill centres will impart foreign language classes to help youth seeking opportunities outside the country, he said.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has been emphasising on the need to have a strong education and skill development framework in the country in order to capitalise on the demographic dividend that the country has. Following the budget, which contains many measures that would move the country closer to realising the dream, Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI praised the reforms announced by the Finance Minister. According to him, be it the move to measure annual learning outcomes in the schools, setting up of an innovation fund for secondary education to encourage local innovation, ushering reforms in UGC for providing greater administrative and academic autonomy to good quality institutions, launching of the swayam (self) platform for online courses and linking with DTH channels and enhancing the reach of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras – all these will considerably build on the gains made in the areas of education and vocational training and help empower the youth of the country to get gainful jobs. “We have been working in some of these areas and we will continue supporting the government in these endeavours,” said Patel.
100 million jobs promised
The Government of India promised 100 million jobs by 2022, assumed as an outcome of the meticulous focus on skilling and training. Prioritising the rural areas and especially the women in the backward places of the country, the government has projected a strong intent to provide one-stop convergence support system for skilled employment.
In order to boost creation of new jobs in the formal sector, Government of India will pay the Employee Pension Scheme contribution of 8.33 pc for all new employees enrolling in EPFO for the first three years of their employment. This will incentivise the employers to recruit unemployed persons and also to bring into the books the informal employees. In order to channelise this intervention towards the target group of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, the scheme will be applicable to those with salary of up to INR 15,000 per month. “I have made a budget provision of INR 10 billion for this scheme,” added Jaitley.