Will Budget 2018 Allocation on Skill Development Create Enough Livelihood Opportunities?

Eighteen million: This figure constitutes the unemployed population of India! According to a NITI Aayog official, educated unemployment encompassing youth may be as high as 20%. Around 30.8% of India’s population aged between 15 and 29 years are NEETs (not in education, employment or training) as per a World Bank report. Will Budget 2018 fund allocation create enough livelihood opportunities?

The National Skill Development Corporation has trained thousands of youth under ‘Skill India’ initiative, a government funded program. Only less than half the candidates trained under this program could get jobs during the last two fiscals. Under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kushal Vikas Yojana’ scheme, 30.67 lakh candidates were trained or undergoing training across the country until the mid of 2017. Out of this, 2.9 lakh candidates were successfully placed. The ‘Make in India’ project was launched to create entrepreneurial opportunities, employment, and thereby boost the economy. But it is yet a long way to go. Besides, the Modi government, after assuming office, created about 823,000 jobs. But is this number sufficient?

Only 10% of India’s total working population is equipped with vocational and technical education and training. The need of the hour is the creation of a competent workforce to be at par in the global market. How? India’s education system should be improved with focus on quality and skill development so that ‘employable graduates’ are churned out. With the roll out of Budget 2018 and considerable funds allocated for skill development and improving the quality of education, we hope enough jobs are created with creation of an equally competent workforce who can productively participate in nation building.

Key Initiatives under Budget 2018 for Livelihood Opportunities

  • Training of youth
  • Establishment of skill development centres in every district of India
  • PhD fellowships to be given to 1,000 BTech students under Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) scheme. This will help stop brain drain and facilitate creation of technically skilled faculty, who will also be tuned towards research
  • Investment of Rs1,00,000 crore in next four years, major part of which will be utilized to step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions. For funding this initiative, the government will suitably structure the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA)
  • The government has taken major initiative in setting up institutes of eminence. As declared by Finance Minister Jaitley, 100 applications have been received by the govt. from public and private institutions towards giving shape to this initiative
  • The government will set up a specialized Railways University at Vadodara
  • Setting up of two new full-fledged Schools of Planning and Architecture is in the government’s agenda
  • Establishment of 18 new SPAs in the IITs and NITs as autonomous schools
  • Govt. to improve quality of life in 115 aspirational districts across India by investing on skill upgradation, education, and other social services sector.

    A livelihood training centre of Smile Foundation in New Delhi.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched two years ago as a skill development initiative scheme by the Govt. of India. The program has been directed towards providing quality training to probable and existing daily wage earners besides giving them monetary awards and rewards. National Skill Development Council (NSDC) is the driving agency behind this program. Training programs have been developed on the basis of National Occupational Standards (NOS) by various Sector Skill Councils (SSC). PMKVY scheme has a target to train 1 crore Indian youth in between 2016 to 2020. 306 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra have been established for imparting skill training to the youth. This Budget 2018, the government has allocated considerable funds for setting up a model aspirational skill centre in every district of the country.

Generation of Employment

Finance Minister Jaitley during his address in the Parliament on Budget 2018 has emphasized on the creation of 70 lakh formal jobs this year. The govt’s focus, according to him, has been directed towards creation of job opportunities. As aforementioned, several measures were implemented during the last three years. To carry forward this momentum, the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF during the next three years. This shall be applicable for all the sectors. Amendments in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 are underway. Women employees shall majorly benefit from this initiative.

Big fund allocation this Budget 2018 in the textile sector will boost employment opportunities in general. The Finance Minister declared allocation of Rs.7148 crore in this sector. Furthermore, significant allocation of funds in MSME and SME segments will facilitate creation of livelihood opportunities for many.

Proper implementation of schemes should be the priority for India to be a competent nation. More job opportunities – a superior India in the making!

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Author

Raja Ram Sinha

Raja works as Manager, Communication with Smile Foundation.

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