Union Budget 2016-17: From education to employability to employment

Published: March 7, 2016 12:04 AM

There is a clear effort to strengthen the economy through substantial investments in infrastructural development, healthcare, job creation, skill development and MSMEs

The Union Budget 2016-17 looks promising for India’s youth, as there are measures towards improving the quality of education, focus on skill development, improving teaching and research outcomes, emphasis on job creation, and creating an ease of business environment to promote entrepreneurship.

This Budget gives us the confidence of bridging the skills gap and placing India in a relatively much better position on the global skills landscape.

The Budget clearly aims towards creating parity across all sections to ensure overall economic growth of the individual as well as the country. There is a clear effort to strengthen the economy through substantial investment in infrastructural development, healthcare, job creation, skill development, and micro, small and medium enterprises. In fact, finance minister Arun Jaitley described “education, skills and job creation” as one of the nine pillars that will transform the country. Efforts are being made in every possible way to ensure up-gradation and create opportunities for those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, and make India a skill-based and productive society.

The setting up of 1500 multi-skill training institutes (MSTIs) is a great public-private partnership (PPP) initiative that will provide major boost to skill development. These will basically be the new generation ITIs set up in PPP mode. The PPP model will certainly ensure quality of and ease of delivery to the ITIs which will be set up in those blocks and districts of the country which are yet to focus on skill development.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) has given a thrust to skill development in the country. It has been a great initiative by the government to bring skill education to those who do not have the financial capacity to pay for their training.

Going forward, PMKVY will steer the skill ecosystem and the focus on the scheme is clear by the allocation of substantial funds for it. We are confident and committed to achieve our target of skilling 1 crore youth over the next 3 years under PMKVY. The model skill centres, which will be set up across more than 500 districts in the country, will give this a further thrust.

Until now, PMKVY has 16,35,267 candidates who have enrolled under the scheme, out of which 9,68,217 have already completed their training. The scheme today covers 29 sectors across 29 states and six Union Territories, 609 districts and 534 constituencies.

The focus will continue towards bringing about industry linkages to the scheme to ensure employment opportunities to the skilled workforce; economies of scale will ensure it will be a good business model for many to invest and support the ecosystem. We have seen some great commitments from the industry, whether these are through corporate social responsibility (CSR) or by way of partnering with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in delivery. Industry partnerships are important and creation of skilled workforce will help meet the needs of the industry and also bridge the skills gap.

The focus now will be on standardisation of all initiatives under one framework so that there is uniformity in delivery.

The proposal to set up a National Board for Skill Development Certification, in partnership with the industry and academia, will be instrumental in ensuring quality assessment of the skilled workforce that gets trained. Aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those from remote parts of the country, will be connected to mentors and credit markets.

Additionally, there is a provision for SC/ST who can now become job providers rather than just job seekers. The approval of the ‘Stand-Up India Scheme’ to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women is expected to benefit as many as 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs. A large number of entrepreneurs and the creation of an entrepreneurial environment will not only benefit the individual but also create a job ecosystem, which will contribute to better livelihoods.

The National Career Service which was launched in July 2015 has already got 35 million jobs seekers enrolling themselves on this platform. Encouraged by the registration, the government is planning to have 100 Model Career Centres operational by the end of 2016-17 and proposes to inter-link State Employment Exchanges with the National Career Service platform.

The decision to continue tax benefits for training institutes till 2020 is also encouraging to the skilling ecosystem.

The Budget has ensured that there is convergence and synergy across, and there is just one big goal, making India the skill capital of the world.

By Jayant Krishna. The author is CEO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

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