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Expectations Of B-schools From Union Budget 2020

Learning institutions can only function as the crucible where merit is nurtured. Factors such the economic situation, both personal as well as national, also contribute to the creation of nation-builders.

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For decades, business schools have pioneered the delivery of world-class higher education in India. By providing an environment conducive to effective learning and action-oriented research, they continue to create a talented pool of skilled professionals and thought leaders who can deliver immense value both within the industry as well as society. Any country will recognize such individuals as its key assets. 

However, learning institutions can only function as the crucible where merit is nurtured. Factors such the economic situation, both personal as well as national, also contribute to the creation of nation-builders. These also determine how and how well can these professionals participate and render their services to the various industries that are key drivers of a country’s economy.  

It is critical to know that every economy alternates between phases of hyper-growth and consolidation. Currently, India is going through the second phase. Once boasting a remarkable GDP growth rate of 8 per cent, it has come down to 4.5 per cent, steadily declining since 2013. Naturally, several undesirable consequences have come nipping at the heels of the plummeting economy. These include shrinking private as well as foreign investment, declining export figures, and shortfall in revenue collection that has resulted in an overbearing fiscal deficit. 

As such, it is high time that we, the Government as well as the ecosystem stakeholders – face the music. After all, the first step towards solving the problem is acknowledging there is one. The upcoming Union Budget that will be presented on February 1, 2020, thus holds great importance for Indians. Because almost everybody is looking forward to listening to what the powers that be have planned to get the economy up and running. To say that the expectations are immense would be an understatement. 

Needless to say, it will take strong political will and stronger policies to set the economy down the road to recovery. While it is obvious that the healing of the economy will be a long-drawn process, Budget 2020 will be critical in determining whether we start off in the right direction. 

A key concern, for instance, in the current economic landscape is the lack of jobs particularly among the youth. With the private demand collapsing and industrial production having suffered the brunt of the ongoing slowdown, the industry and services sectors have been unable to generate new jobs.  

Citizens as well industry stakeholders, therefore, have high hopes from Budget 2020 that it will shed light on how the Government plans to boost employment generation within the country. This is truer for b-schools in India as they are expected to provide their students with better employment opportunities commensurate with their knowledge and skills. If the employment situation stays grim then b-schools will find it even more challenging to satisfy the expectations of their students in terms of quality employment opportunities. In the long run, this will put business schools at risk of failing to attract meritorious students. 

Against this backdrop, Indian b-schools expect the Government to come up with robust structural reforms to revive the economy – the sooner the better. There is an urgent need to revive the private demand in terms of consumer spending as well as investment spending. In addition, the country requires major investments in infrastructure as well as research and development to enable Indian industries to compete in the global markets. 

More importantly, the Government needs to facilitate an environment for the industry conducive to job creation at scale. To achieve this, the Union Budget can provide specific budgetary allocations for business schools to set up centers for entrepreneurship and skill development. This would enable b-schools to create, nurture, and support future innovators and thought leaders who can effectively contribute to the process of making India a $5 trillion economy as envisioned by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Subhalakshmi Sircar

The author is Assistant Professor, Economics, MDI Gurgaon

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