Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's first budget on Friday provides the policy direction for building a new India that aspires to become a $5 trillion economy in the next couple of years. This is to be achieved through accelerated economic growth and resultant job creation.
The envisaged growth through substantial investment is focused on (i) infrastructure comprising roads, highways, railways, ports, housing, water management, tourism; (ii) extending the digital backbone across the country; (iii) development of the MSME sectors, including entrepreneurship in both urban and rural areas, which will entail significant opportunities for skilled persons to take up jobs in infrastructure development as well as operating and maintaining these facilities and enterprises.
The focus on emerging sectors -- in terms of providing fiscal incentives for foreign investments to set up mega enterprises in areas like semi-conductor fabrication, solar photo voltaic cells, computing hardware -- as well as the intent of making India the global electric vehicle hub will ensure that there is demand for engineers and other highly skilled professions.
This will lend an impetus to strengthening the existing research and innovation centres as well as setting up of new such units in the country.
By allocating Rs 400 crore for transformation of higher education institutions into research-oriented world class institutions and improvement of higher education outcomes through policy & regulatory changes expected from the proposed Higher Education Commission of India, the budget supports the talent requirements.
Further, the focus of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) going forward on new age skills like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 3D Printing, etc. is a step towards ensuring availability of requisite skill requirements for supporting India's growth aspirations.
(Anindya Mallick is Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt Ltd. The views expressed are personal)