Union budget 2015-16

Union budget 2015-16

Skilling in union budget 2015-16

No one really expected Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to change course drastically when it came to the agenda on education, skill development, or that of generating employment. The highlight in Union Budget 2015/16 is also not in how much money Jaitley has allocated, but really in how the system will work to deliver.

The Finance Minister announced the creation of a separate ministry for skill development of rural youth and allocated Rs 1,543 crore for the year 2015-16. The launch of National Skills Mission through the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry was something industry was expecting. However, the fact that it is intended to consolidate skill initiatives that are spread across several ministries and standardize procedures and outcomes for the 31 Sector Skill Councils, is indeed welcome. This is because the skill development providers have had to deal with the problem of having to deal with varying requirements of different ministries for at least five years now. Also, there is an attempt to link and co-ordinate the Skill Mission with Make in India.

It was highlighted that less than 5% of India’s potential work force gets skill training to be employable. The average age of the Indian youth is expected to be 29 years by 2020, the lowest in the world. While it is said that the world will experience a shortage of young population by around 56 million by 2020, India will have a surplus young force of 47 million at that time.

There is now also a creditable attempt to cut leakage by introducing digital vouchers for qualified students to benefit from the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana where Rs 1,500 crore has been earmarked for assistance. In the last three years, over 400,000 candidates have been trained of which 300,000 have been placed under DDU-GKY. It seeks to train 10 lakh rural youth, above the age of 15 years, by 2017. This attempt at ushering transparency is also visible in the decision to set up an IT-based Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor scholarships as well educational loan schemes, through the Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram for needy students wanting to pursue higher education.

There is acknowledgement of the fact that skill providers are not always able to connect trained youth to jobs and that they need to willy-nilly become entrepreneurs. Hence, the proposal to create a Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, and a credit guarantee corpus of Rs 3,000 crore is seen as progressive. MUDRA Bank will in turn refinance Micro-Finance Institutions through a Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.

Of course, the Finance Minister does realise the bigger pay for this. The fiscal consolidation of 3 per cent of GDP in two years can only be realised only when skilled people get more job opportunities and self-employment opportunities. Proper market access to rural youth is equally important to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship.

To attract the youth into formal employment, EPF is made optional for the weaker section of the without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution.
So it is not how much has the Finance Minister allocated, but in his apparent recognition of ‘how’ the education, skill development will eventually lead to employment.

(Source: Union Budget 2015-16 and Business Standard)

Collated & Edited by Neha Yadav