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Facilitate Post COVID-19 Recovery For Jobs In India
Employment generation was the key focus across multiple interventions proposed by the Union Budget; the production linked incentive scheme alone has the potential to create 60 lakh job opportunities.
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The Union Budget 2022 has been centred on economic growth and post COVID-19 recovery of India. While the government was facing monumental pressures owing to the advent of the third wave and rise in inflation, it dug its heels in and released a sensible plan that focused on generating future income and employment. Rightfully so, the government focused more on investments and incentives than concessions.
The Union Budget has set the tone for India to become the next economic powerhouse and ensured that adequate benefits and required cover were provided to the youth, farmers and protected tribes. Healthcare, farm economy, digitisation, infrastructure and the revival of the MSMEs were undoubtedly the primary focus.
Primary Focus - Employment
Employment generation remained the focus across multiple interventions proposed by the Union Budget. The provisions laid down under PM Gati Shakti would unlock a wealth of potential to provide employment to a populous country such as India. The capital expenditure push of Rs 7.5 trillion would create a multiplier effect in accelerating the seven engines of growth and open avenues of employment.
The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme alone has the potential to create 60 lakh job opportunities across 14 sectors including some of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, large-scale electronics manufacturing, food products, solar EV modules, automobiles/auto components, ACC battery, and textile products.
The success of the PLI scheme is critical to positioning India as a global hub and attracting investments in a post-pandemic setup as global organisations seek alternate sourcing options. Facilitating ease of doing business continues to be on the government’s priority list and it is encouraging to see the steps taken in terms of making it easier to start as well as shut down companies.
Stepping into the Metaverse
India’s burgeoning startup and technology space is perhaps set to benefit the most from the proposals announced which would increase funding for startups, facilitate ease of business for firms that haven’t had the easiest of times with the pandemic. The support for emerging tech has once again highlighted the growing relevance of space which has opened up a tremendous source of employment and led to the creation of promising unicorns in the sector.
It is truly a Digital India Budget that will lead to the birth of new-age businesses and entrepreneurs. We are bound to see an upward trend in the demand for animation, gaming and visual effects professionals with the set-up of the sector’s promotional task force. The efforts to build capacity to meet domestic and international demand will be streamlined. This is exciting news for the youth of the country who can explore newer, more lucrative and exciting options for their future. It is, as they say, a step into the metaverse.
Several other measures such as the push for digital inclusion that involves the introduction of the Central Bank Digital Currency would boost the digital economy creating jobs in a sector that governments all over the world have shied away from, more from fear of the unknown rather than rational reasoning. The steps taken by the government would also lead to stable regulated payments, settlements, and faster real-time remittance lowering the cost for all parties concerned and leading to increased cash in hand.
Job Market at a Glance
The jobs being created today did not exist a decade ago and keeping in line with the need to establish India as a global self-sufficient talent hub that need not outsource, the government has addressed the growing skill gap in the economy and taken active measures to reduce the same through the DESH-Stack e-portal (Digital Ecosystem for Skilling and Livelihood).
The digital university would create a personalised, equitable standard of learning for students and young professionals throughout the country, ensuring geographical and economic barriers do not impede learning and growth in any shape or form. We optimistically look forward to witnessing the execution of these provisions.
The education sector was hit the hardest due to the pandemic leading to the closure of schools for months at a stretch. This has had a direct impact on the quality of education received by school students who faced insurmountable hurdles such as lack of a conducive learning environment, high-speed internet, standardised teaching among others.
The ‘One Class, One Channel’ would be a godsend for those who cannot have afforded access to remote learning. The measure is equitable and would go a long way to bridge the learning gap faced by many today.
The National Skill Qualification Framework is a step in the right direction as it provides the missing link between general and vocational education and enables the youth to aim for better jobs by marking their competency. Currently, there is a lack of uniformity in the country as each university runs on its curriculum making it difficult to establish any equivalence of qualifications. This framework would make significant headway by judging people purely on merit and skill and giving them recognition for their prior learning and experiences.
Digitalisation on the Roll
The establishment of digital infrastructure in smaller towns would also make enormous strides in bridging the gap between urban and rural areas. The smaller towns and rural communities always had the potential to drive economic growth and innovation but often lacked the broadband infrastructure required to prosper. The increased investment in tier-2 and tier-3 cities would enable digital connectivity and growth.
Needless to say, the trend of reverse migration is here to stay as professionals flock to these towns for a better and cheaper quality of living. With the dream of 5G set to become a reality, uninterrupted internet would assuredly help as remote work becomes the future
The measures under the Budget provide much-needed relief to ensure the revival of the MSME sector, both from the growth and employment perspective. Schemes such as the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee, Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises and the Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance would help smaller businesses revitalise, recover and reach pre-pandemic levels. These measures are also a welcome relief for industries such as hospitality which were impacted by the pandemic, as well as the blue-collar workforce who unwittingly paid an unjustified price over the last two years.
Towards a Brighter Future
From here on though, the government would have to move fast by facilitating a consistent flux of capital to ensure that the projected commitments are met. If the said measures are implemented quickly, we would undoubtedly see the rate of unemployment go down quite significantly.
The latest Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data also indicates that India’s unemployment rate fell in January 2022 to 6.57 per cent from 7.91 per cent in December 2021. The labour market is expanding quite rapidly, thus the onus falls on the government to hit the ground running and ensure the pace of job creation keeps up with the increase in the labour force.
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.