Published: 30th January 2019
Budget expectations 2019: Skill development may be the big focus in the Union Budget
"Since they have started to assess the results of the education and skill-based programmes they introduced in the last quarter, they will feel the need to up their game," says D Dhanuraj
The most important factor about this budget is the fact that it is being announced during an election year. This will most likely affect most policies that will be mentioned and push the policymakers to make more people-friendly announcements. Whether it is good or bad, this means that after so many years, Indian politicians are finally talking about poor people. And it is highly likely that there could be some announcements for the underprivileged in this announcement.
As far as education is concerned, we know that they have already allocated money. So my estimate is that as usual, the allocation will come to around Rs 20-25,000 crores keeping in mind programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. In fact, there may be a marginal increase in that. In addition to this, I think more than education in general, they might prioritise skill-development programmes and other such schemes.
Since they have started to assess the results of the education and skill-based programmes they introduced in the last quarter, they will feel the need to up their game. Many people have reported that many such schemes are not functioning properly and that the funds are barely flowing in. The charm that surrounded these programmes, in the beginning, is not really there anymore. So they'll probably revive some of them.
They might also have something to say about higher education. As per the drill, they will need to address the number of fixed universities they've selected for accreditation and other such details. About 5 or 6 universities have been chosen so far. They will probably talk about increasing the budget so that more institutes of higher excellence and institutes of national importance will increase in number. That is another expectation. The government might use the budget as an opportunity to show us that they are really plunging into skilling. Of course, this is something that they have dealt with multiple times but they will probably have some special schemes, a few incentives and entrepreneurial programmes planned.
The author is Chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research