The interim budget attempts to address all sections of the society. Specific emphasis is on the small businesses and the rural population. With various measures announced like interest subvention on loans to small businesses and village industries, it is expected that this may provide an impetus for the uptake of these sectors. This is likely to encourage entrepreneurship in these sectors.
From the education and skill development perspective, there are now increased options for the youth to choose their vocation, given the enabling environment for encouraging entrepreneurship. With skill development infrastructure and facilities now available across the country on account of ongoing skill development programmes, the youth in the rural areas can now opt for skilling courses, which will allow them to participate in village industries like food processing, etc. or establish a small business leveraging their chosen vocation.
The proposal to transform one lakh villages into digital villages over the next 5 years is also expected to generate jobs through expansion of Common Service Centres for digitally delivering services in rural areas.
This will require expertise and skill sets and local residents are expected to take up vocational courses, which would allow them to benefit from these opportunities.
Opportunities for skill development are also expected to increase in areas like manufacturing of mobile phones and components, which has seen a significant increase in the number of players opting for local manufacturing, given the large domestic market size. Similarly, skill sets to address the increased outlays in infrastructure like new airport services, increased port activities on account of Sagarmala, trust on renewable like solar power generation and distribution is expected to create new job opportunities for which the required skill sets and expertise are required.
The increased outlay for the National Education Mission is expected to address quality concerns as observed in the Annual Status of Education Report 2017, which highlights the state of affairs of India's education system. It is expected that this increased amount will be spent on teacher training, transforming and modernising teaching methodologies, introducing smart classrooms, etc. There is a need of introducing a robust counselling service in schools through which students and their parents are professionally advised on the most appropriate options on education/vocational courses, based on the students' aptitude, which could possibly help them in having a successful career path.
As the government aims to make India a $10 trillion economy by 2030, there is a need for our education system to gear up to address the requirements of a technologically and digital advanced society. The establishment of the National Centre on Artificial Intelligence is expected to encourage the education institutions in introducing courses to address the requirements of emerging digital technologies including that in the area of Artificial Intelligence.
To meet the aspirational needs for Vision 2030, which envisions the digitisation of all aspects of India's economy and everyday lives of the citizens, improving quality of life through next generation infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, clean and renewable energy generation, etc. there is a need to develop expertise and skill base in the country. This will require the education system to be upgraded in terms of introducing new course curriculum, training faculty and investing in the required laboratories to meet the needs of the country.
India is on a growth trajectory and with its demographic advantage, the budget along with the vision presented for India 2030, there is an urgent need to transform the way our education system delivers so that quality is improved and the aspirational needs of the citizens are met.(The writer is Partner, Deloitte India)