Reflecting the NDA government’s strong emphasis on job creation, the Union Budget proposed a Rs 10,000 crore fund aimed at creating “a conducive eco-system” for the venture capital in the medium and small industry and proposed changes to the Apprenticeship Act to make it more responsive to industry and the youth.
The Budget also unveiled a national multi-skill programme called “Skill India” that would equip the youth with skills, with an emphasis on employability and entrepreneur skills. It will also provide training and support to traditional professions, like welders, carpenters, cobblers, masons, blacksmiths and weavers.
The Budget, though, did not offer a roadmap detailing the rollout of labour reform measures. “India today needs a boost for job creation. Our manufacturing sector in particular needs a push for job creation,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech.
Jaitley also made a specific response to the challenges in the promotion of entrepreneurship and start-up companies. “While there have been some efforts to encourage, one principal limitation has been availability of start-up capital by way of equity to be brought in by the promoters. In order to create a conducive eco-system for the venture capital in the MSME sector, it is proposed to establish a Rs 10,000 crore fund to act as a catalyst to attract private capital by way of providing equity, quasi equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-up companies,” he said.
Jaitley also announced the establishment of a technology centre network to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and agro-industry, wherein he proposed the setting up a fund with a corpus of Rs 200 crore.
He also said the government hopes to transform employment exchanges into career centres, in addition to providing information about job availability. These centres will also extend counselling facilities to the youth for selecting the jobs best suited to their ability and aptitude. A sum of Rs 100 crore for this purpose has been kept aside. In order to promote leadership skills, he also proposed to set up “a Young Leaders Programme” with an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore.
Jaitley said that comparing the size of the Indian economy, the performance of the Apprenticeship Training Scheme had not been satisfactory and a large number of training facilities in the industry are unutilised. “Apprenticeship Act will be suitably amended to make it more responsive to industry and youth. We will also encourage MSMEs to avail of the benefits of this scheme,” he said. Jaitley also said growth in infrastructure and construction sectors is necessary to revive the economy and generate jobs for millions of youths.
“The early indications look like this budget is pro-reforms and growth-focused, with a clear long-term strategy for getting back the growth momentum. I expect the Budget to have a positive impact on the job market,” job portal Naukri.com executive VP and national head sales V Suresh said.
The government’s emphasis on the importance of FDI in several sectors is also expected to help in promoting domestic manufacturing and job creation. “The liberalisation of FDI in e-commerce sector will provide much-needed certainty to foreign players and to a sector that has the promise to provide increased commerce and generate employment in the country,” PwC India Technology leader Sandeep Ladda said.