Budget 2020 India: If the government doesn't pay attention here, the demographic dividend that India is expecting to benefit from might just turn into a major liability.
By Sumeet Jain
Union Budget 2020 India: India has more than 600 million youth. One of the major concerns for youth is education and employability. Employability issues again do stem from education. With the technology layer, a lot of companies are trying to solve this education-employability issue and it is high time the government gives due recognition and boost to this sector. If the government doesn’t pay attention here, the demographic dividend that India is expecting to benefit from might just turn into a major liability.
GST Reduction on Online Courses and Career Counselling
Currently, all the services are under the 18 per cent bracket. Educational courses, as well as career counselling, are under this high tax bracket. Wrong career choices can be a big burden on the country. By reduction in tax on these courses and counselling will encourage more people to seek professional help. A lot of reskilling courses are being taxed at 18 per cent, this needs to be reduced as well.
Scholarships for Higher Education Fund
The government should set up good scholarship funds for meritorious students to study abroad in top universities. For the GDP target of $5 trillion, India will require a huge number of highly skilled workforce. The Indian higher education system is not poised to provide this in a short period of time, the only way is to use the infrastructure of the developed education systems abroad.
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Education Loan Availability
Education loan is more expensive than a car loan. The budget should look at subsidizing education loan. Maximum unsecured loans by banks for studying abroad is Rs 7.5 lakh. This is too low considering the cost of education. Also with a liquidity crisis among the NBFCs, the return on investment (ROI) has increased considerably. Some immediate steps to reduce the ROI on education loan is extremely necessary
More Conversation with Industry
Higher education has been regulated and very outdated. Government institutes have funds but have not kept up pace with technology. Regular conversation with edtech companies will help. There is a big gap currently among the edtech companies and the government institutes. More conversation can make both works in tandem.
Recognition and Boost Online Courses
Online courses are not well recognised yet. With high unemployability, it is these online short term courses which will fill in the skill gap. The government needs to boost them. Many international universities are providing courses online. There should be some boost to Indian companies which are helping to get these courses to India.
(Sumeet Jain is the Co-founder at Yocket. Views expressed are the author’s own.)