'New Educational Institutions Will Be An Intense Move'
Such announcements will give a higher level of credibility to the schemes and programs being announced in the budget!
The budget proposes to move from 'black board' to 'digital board' by increasing digital intensity in education through investments in technology. Going digital is possibly the only way to reach the last mile education delivery, in the highly under-penetrated education sector, a move in the right direction.
Initiatives for training and skilling teachers has also been spelt out. There is a proposal to Identify 1,000 students from premier engineering colleges and provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISCs. Revitalizing research in premier educational institutions with an outlay of Rs 1,00,000 crore over the next four years, proposal to set up twenty new schools of architecture and planning and a railway university is also in cards. Whilst the intentions are appreciable, at this point these lack specifics in terms of outlays to be spent during the 2018-19 for us to assess the adequacy of such provisions.
An additional 1% cess on income tax and corporate tax is proposed to be levied (taking the total cess to 4%) yielding an additional Rs.11,000 crore, to fund projects under education and healthcare schemes.
With average age of Indians being one of the lowest in the world, and India boasting to have the largest 'productive age group' population, vocational education and skilling become very critical. Two years ago in his 2016-17 budget speech the Finance Minister aspired to train more than one lakh crore people through setting up of 1,500 skill training institutes under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Programme (PMKKP) over the following three years. What has the finance minister given for this sector in the current budget? He has announced that 306 kendras have been established.
The Press Information Bureau highlights that, under PMKKP, around 40 lakh people have been trained to date. Considering the above, although we seem to be falling short in terms of executing the announced projects; there definitely seems to be a reasonable progress, on ground. Further, it would also be important to see how much of these skilled employees have entered the formal employment sector over the last two years. The government needs to publicize such information in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of such programs, which are so vital to the economy. Such announcements will give a higher level of credibility to the schemes and programs being announced in the budget!
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