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Budget 2012: Fair moves for education, employment

Shamni Pande     March 16, 2012
Education and employment go hand-in-hand, and to that extent at least been just in its treatment of these spaces. The announcement to set up 6,000 new model schools at the block level, with 2500 via Public-Private Partnerships has been reassuring. "Equally the attention given to Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan where the allocation has gone up is a good move and deepens the commitment in the space in addition to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan," says Shantanu Prakash, Chairman & MD, Educomp.


 "The decision of the Finance Minister to also recognize education at higher levels and approved vocational education in the Negative List exempt from Service Tax is a move in the right direction," says KT Chacko, Director, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). However, he feels that it would have been more appropriate if all educational institutions, public or private, had been included in the Negative List.

On the employment front, the decision to provide additional Rs 1,000 crore into the National Skill Development Fund (NSDF), coming on top of the Rs 500 crore is being welcomed: "This will allow us to fund more sustainable skills training initiatives that can benefit millions of youth nationwide," says Dilip Chenoy, CEO & MD, NSDC.

The announcement of credit guarantee fund and the move to exempt vocational training institutions from the ambit of service tax is likely to fillip the skills ecosystem: "It would make skills training affordable and removing the problem of financial accessibility to skills training programmes for those living at the bottom of the pyramid," says Chenoy.

 Additionally, according to Chenoy, the tax deduction provided to the manufacturing sector for investment in skills training initiatives would encourage a greater focus and enable the segment to be more productive and competitive. "The thrust on skill development in traditional sectors, including handlooms, will ensure that these sectors can improve their way of operations significantly," he added.

 "Overall, the focus given to core segments such as agriculture, infrastructure and core engineering will have a spill-over effect on other segments and will boost sentiment and, therefore hiring activity," says V. Suresh, Executive VP & National Head - Sales,

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