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Budget 2020: Govt proposes Rs 3,000 crore for skill development

The government proposed to provide about Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and about Rs 3,000 crore for skill development

Source | m.businesstoday.in | Goutam Das

The road to jobs, particularly better paying jobs, runs through skills training. The equation here is simple – the skilled are more productive and those who are productive ideally should be paid more. Vocational training, therefore, has been the government’s priority. This was once again reinforced in Budget 2020, presented by Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman.

The government proposed to provide about Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and about Rs 3,000 crore for skill development. One could argue that this allocation is not enough given the demographic pressures India face. The World Bank’s South Asia Economic Focus Spring 2018 report stated that between 2015 and 2025, India’s working age population (those above the age of 15) is expanding by 1.3 million a month. India, therefore, needs to create millions of jobs a year. How many millions depends on the employment estimates. According to the World Bank, 50 per cent of the working-age population is at work. India, the report stated, would need to create more than eight million jobs a year to maintain the same level of employment rate. That’s the pressure the central and state governments need to brace up to.

The Budget’s focus on skilling, nevertheless, is directionally correct.

“There exists a huge demand for teachers, nurses, para-medical staff and care-givers abroad. However, their skill sets, many a time, do not match the employer’s standards and therefore need to be improved,” the Minister said in her speech. “I propose that special bridge courses be designed by the Ministries of Health and Skill Development together with professional bodies to bring in equivalence. Language requirements of various countries need also to be included. All these should be achieved through special training packages,” she added.

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