A day after the Economic Survey rang alarm bells on India’s “soon-to-recede demographic dividend”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today turned towards the youth seeking to ‘energise’ them through education, skills and jobs, earmarking as much as Rs 6,200 crore under two schemes.
In his 2017-18 Budget speech, the Finance Minister said the government plans to launch Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore along with next phase of Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) costing Rs 2,200 crore.
Stating that quality education will energise India’s youth, he said: “In the words of Swami Vivekananda, the education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life…..is it worth the name?”
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His statement comes a day after the Economic Survey 2016-17 pointed out “India’s soon-to-recede demographic dividend”, stating that the country’s “growth boost from the demographic dividend is likely to peak within the next five years, as India’s share of working age population plateaus”.
The Survey had, however, said, “India may not see the sharp growth decelerations experienced by the East Asian countries because its working age ratio will fall much more gradually than those in other countries”.
While other factors still favoured India, the Survey said: “Even so, the urgency of reforms to maximise this soon-to-recede dividend cannot be overstated”.
In this backdrop, seeking to maximise on the country’s “huge demographic advantage”, Jaitely said, “In 2017-18, we also propose to launch the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.”
He further said the next phase of Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) will also be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore.
“STRIVE will focus on improving the quality and market relevance of vocational training provided in ITIs and strengthen the apprenticeship programmes through industry cluster approach,” Jaitley said.
The government also plans to extend Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) to more than 600 districts across the country from the current 60, he added.
Moreover, 100 India International Skills Centres will be established across the country offering advanced training and also courses in foreign languages, Jaitley said adding “this will help those of our youth who seek job opportunities outside the country”.