Budget 2021 needs to take steps to improve skilling in India: Sumit Kumar
According to Sumit Kumar, Vice President – NETAP, TeamLease, budget 2021 needs to focus on fast tracking NEP implementation, introduction of National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) 2.0 and easing of license raj to achieve the ambition of 50 per cent GER by 2035
The past two budgets have taken strategic measures towards boosting education and skilling in India, one of which was allocation of more funds to augment the ecosystem. However much of this allocated budget still remains unutilised (close to 13 per cent of the budget allocated in the last fiscal is unused). Given the disruption in the ecosystem in the past year due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the upcoming budget needs to take conducive steps to improve education and skilling in India. Firstly, we need to ensure better and optimum use of the funds which remain unused. Secondly, we need to look at creating appropriate avenues where the allocated funds can be utilized more effectively.
The budget should also take measures to fast-track adoption and implementation of the New Education Policy 2020.This will improve the employability of learners and bring more skilled talent to formal employment (India still has 94 per cent of its workforce in informal employment). Further, the budget also needs to introduce more stabilized regulations for Skill Universities. The industry is looking forward to the introduction of National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) 2.0 wherein not only employers are incentivised for training through apprenticeships, but also include tax breaks to absorb trained apprentices into employment, or link it with PMRPY (PM Rozgar Protsahan Yojana) under which PF contribution for fresh hires is taken care of by the Government. This will encourage MSME sectors to engage with apprentices and other skilling initiatives which in turn will further raise formal employment.
Additionally, we are aware that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digitization, but the current license system for online education still remains to restricted. Over 5 lakh students in India are enrolled for online education with foreign Universities, but our 995 Universities continue to reel under pressure of multiple license raj. We expect the budget to make the rules flexible under Digital India Initiative for Universities including Skill Universities, so that quality education is accessible and affordable. A combination of all the above will surely put us on track to achieve the ambition of 50 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2035.
About the author:
Sumit Kumar is the Vice President – NETAP of TeamLease.