The move to create global supply chain champions in manufacturing will boost scale and size in 10 key sectors, including automobile and textile.
“…It has reminded us of all the qualities that we as people, particularly our youth, epitomise of having abundant promise and the unsuppressed thirst to perform and succeed.” In presenting the budget for 2021-22, these words of the Union Minister for Finance were important pointers to the government’s approach to a new world order that calls for inclusive and equitable growth.
Employment opportunities across industries
Digital, data and technology have been made the core of the six pillars of growth to fuel India’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ vision. This includes the launch of MCA21 Version 3.0 (driven by data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning), development of a world class fintech hub at the GIFT-IFSC, a Rs 1500-crore boost to digital payments and transactions, and significant investment in research and innovation. I am sure this will unfold tremendous employment opportunities in the information technology sector.
An equal commitment emerges across industries to champion employment potential. For example, the move to create global supply chain champions in manufacturing will boost scale and size in 10 key sectors, including automobile and textile.
Strong social backing for a diverse workforce
Through the extension of social security benefits to contractual, gig and platform workers, the government will strongly facilitate the success of remote working. It will also enable organizations to acquire talent from all over the country – and provide employment opportunities in Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities. The setting up of a portal to collect and maintain information on this workforce segment will ensure accurate monitoring, besides lending the digital touch. More important, it provides the much-needed financial assurance to contractual workers during uncertain economic cycles.
Equally exciting is the push for bringing women into the workforce in greater numbers. In enabling women to work in all work categories (including night shifts with adequate protection), we have taken a big step to include a significant and critical talent segment in our national workforce.
A well-directed route to learning and skilling
Education and skilling have received commendable focus in the 2021 budget – at school, and university levels. The proposed formal umbrella structures will create better synergy between research institutions, universities and colleges.
What is exciting are the proposed amendments to the National Apprenticeship Act. This, we are confident, will enhance apprenticeship opportunities for our next-gen workers. Extending the apprentice programs with globally accredited institutions will enable us to build niche and future-ready capabilities.
Elevating the startup and small business ecosystem
The startup economy has, for the last few years emerged as a powerful growth engine for the country – they have significantly contributed to the digital, innovation and employment quotient of the nation. By increasing the thresholds for both paid up capital and turnover, and allowing capital gains tax exemption for startup investment, the government has sent extremely positive signals to accelerate the momentum of entrepreneurship. Similarly, the move to encourage One Person Companies (OPCs) to grow without any restrictions on paid up capital and turnover is very encouraging.
It is heartening to note that the MSME sector has been nurtured too – the extension of tax holiday by one more year, and doubling the outlay to Rs 15,700 crore will enable small businesses to contribute with confidence to the national economy.
(The writer is the Chief Financial Officer at Randstad India)