Of Social Security And Skill Gap
In this budget, the government has tried to address many social-economic issues by unveiling measures for farmers, informal workers and other marginalised communities
Photo Credit : Reuters
Budget 2019 has tried to address some socio-economic issues by unveiling measures for farmers, informal workers and other marginalised communities. To relieve farmer distress, the Budget unveiled the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, an assured income support programme, for 12 crore small and marginalised farmers with an outlay of Rs 75,000 crore per year. This is a good move, however, with an annual relief of only Rs 6,000 per year, it may not make any meaningful impact.
The pension scheme for workers in the informal sector, Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan, is welcome as it will provide a social security net for nearly 10 crore Indians. It will also be the first step towards generating formal data on the kind of jobs being created in this sector. The allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been substantially increased, which will help in improving the condition of these marginalised communities. The budgetary of allocation Rs 60,000 crore for MGNREGA for the economically weaker sections of society will also bring some relief.
In the area of Education, the budget allocation for the National Education Mission has gone up. The government has announced approximately two lakh extra seats in educational institutions to ensure availability for various reserved classes. This should help in creating equitable educational opportunities. Similarly, the additional allocation for the Integrated Child Development Scheme will provide better preschool education and primary healthcare as well as improve nutrition in young children and their mothers.
The allocation of Rs 1,330 crore for the Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women is timely and will help in creating a safe and secure environment for women. It is encouraging to note that over 70 per cent of the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana are women, who are engaged in creating their own businesses.
We have certainly seen some progress in the journey of transforming India into a digital economy. The government’s plans to create one lakh Digital Villages over the next five years will give impetus to the Digital India programme.
The announcement of a national programme on artificial intelligence, which is based on Niti Aayog’s research work over the last one year, is a welcome move. Such an initiative will go a long way in addressing the skills gap in this area.
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