Shantanu Prakash, CMD, Educomp on Budget announcements:
Q. What were the major points for you in the budget and how will it impact areas involving employment, education and vocation/skilling and, therefore, what is the outlook for your sector in particular?
A. The tone of the budget as far as the education sector goes was highly positive. The finance minister's thematic emphasis on employability and therefore on skill and vocational training-led education is a trend shift. It will provide a fillip to demand for skill-based training. We will look forward to the fine print matching the fine sentiments. The overall increase in allocation of 17 per cent is again very welcome and should help keep the momentum going. Overall, it is a positive budget from the education point of view.
Q. Will the budget proposals improve the investment climate?
A. To be fair, a budget has only that much room to be able to impact the 360 degree economic scenario of the country. It can at best be read as an indicator of the government's intentions and plans to deal with the economy as a whole. The other components that contribute to building up the investment climate must respond and it remains to be seen if the budgetary signals are enough to activate them.
Q. Is there anything else the finance minister could have done in this budget?
A. From our point of view, everything the finance minister set out to achieve on the whole through the emphasis placed on education, skilling and vocational training could be achieved more speedily with two to three times the investment if the private sector could be enthused to participate in the sector. That there was no attempt to leverage this bounty to expand the education and job net remains a disappointment.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the highlight of this budget?
A. The unqualified acceptance by the government of the criticality of job-led education and the emphasis on vocational training and skilling is the cornerstone of this budget.