The NDA government made a distinct push for skill development in its annual budget on Friday, giving an impetus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India pitch.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs 1,500 crore for the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana to help rural youth develop job skills. “Disbursement will be through a digital voucher directly into aqualified student’s bank account,” he said in his speech in Parliament.
The budget unveiled proposals to set up of an IT-based Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor scholarships, educational loan schemes through the Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakramto ensure no student misses out on education because of paucity of funds.
“We will soon be launching a National Skills Mission through the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry. The mission will consolidate skill initiatives spread across several ministries,” Jaitley said.
Several ministries will contribute to boost employability of youth in line with the government’s policy to attract business.
The human resource development ministry has already set the ball rolling to make vocational training an integral part of the university system.
Politically, the skill development initiative is a way for the government to reach out to the youth – many seeking meaningful employment – in a nation where over half the population is below 25.
Skill development is seen as a shield from criticism that the government is leaning too much towards industry because it can provide a link between individual and business interests, analysts say.
The key idea is to use India’s demographic dividend by skilling the youth so that they are able to take advantage of employment opportunities.
Jaitley laid down a 2022 vision of the government during his speech, which includes skill development as a key focus area. It will ensure a senior secondary school within 5km of each child.