The Budget paves the path towards a knowledge-based, productive society

By: | Published: March 7, 2016 12:03 AM

Education, skill development and job creation is one of the nine pillars of Union Budget FY17, aimed at transforming India.

Education, skill development and job creation is one of the nine pillars of Union Budget FY17, aimed at transforming India. With an enabling ecosystem for education and skill development already in place, the focus of this Budget has been on steps towards raising the quality of education, improving the reach of skill development programmes, and encouraging women and socially-disadvantaged groups in skilling themselves and aspiring to become entrepreneurs.

Taking cognisance of the fact that the quality of education in various parts of the country needs to improve, an increase in the outlay of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been proposed for improving the quality of teaching in primary schools. Further, 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas having facilities for providing modern education are proposed in uncovered districts over the next two years. To develop existing higher education institutes as model institutions offering world-class teaching and research facilities, a scheme has been proposed enabling 10 public and 10 private institutes to emerge as world-class institutions. Additionally, to finance infrastructure and facilities needed for higher education institutes across the country to offer best-in-class facilities, a Higher Education Financing Agency—which is to be constituted as a not-for-profit entity with an initial corpus of Rs 1,000 crore—has been proposed. This agency will also access market funds, donations and CSR funds from corporates to support funding requirements of higher education institutions for their transformation.

With the plan to launch a new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural areas—which will ensure computers in around six crore rural households in the next three years—it is expected that younger members of households will benefit through opportunities to access digital learning platforms supporting them in their education as well as skill development and upskilling pursuits.

Skill development proposals in the Budget are largely aimed at improving outreach and promoting entrepreneurship. In fact, an outlay of Rs 1,700 crore has been proposed for setting up 1,500 multi-skill training institutes across the country with the intention of bringing entrepreneurship to the doorstep of the youth through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. This scheme will be further scaled up to skill one crore youth in the next three years. Setting up the National Board for Skill Development Certification in partnership with industry and academia will bring the much-needed linkage for industry to recognise and provide better compensation for certified skills, thereby boosting skill development efforts. Introducing online entrepreneurship education and training across the country through 300 schools, 2,200 colleges, 550 ITI/vocational training centres will enable the requisite outreach to aspiring entrepreneurs even in remote parts and inform them of the schemes, including skilling needs and linkages, to fulfil their ambitions. The Start-up India initiative, with an outlay of Rs 500 crore, is aimed to promote entrepreneurship among women and socially-disadvantaged groups. This scheme—which will support at least two projects per bank branch—is expected to benefit 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs, providing a boost for skill development along with societal acceptance of vocational training as a career choice.

Overall, the Budget along the pillar of education, skill development and job creation is aimed at achieving all-inclusive growth and meeting the aspirations of a better life for our young population. The initiatives proposed in the Budget will take us further on the journey to become a knowledge-based and productive society, and on the path towards becoming the talent capital of the world.

The author is a partner with Deloitte in India8

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