Pre-budget 2017 expectations
Skill development, industrial products, automotive sector
Skill Development for Nation Building
Key steps have been taken in the last few years, including formation of the new Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), introduction of Pradhan Mantri Kausal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 2.0), Skill Loan Schemes, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), National Apprentice Promotion Scheme (NAPS), Nai Manzil, etc. This has attracted private investment and provided momentum for the Skill India mission. However, the challenge lies not only in expansion of facilities for skill training, but also in raising the quality of skills.
To further provide an impetus to the skilling challenge in India, a unified approach needs to be adopted where the idea of convergence could be explored.
The focus on this year’s budget from a skilling perspective should be on integration strategies to increase skilling outcomes and sustain economic growth. The key focus areas could be:
- Integrate current skill initiatives with nation building missions (Smart City, Swachh Bharat, Make in India and Digital India)
- Prepare for increased digitization
Over the last financial year, the constant concern has been the lack of growth in the private sector investment. Furthermore, demonetization has created fresh and further concerns about the strength of demand in the coming calendar year.
Government should take the focus away from demonetization to growth. While consumer demand has been the most important driver of economic growth, it is time to look beyond for the moment. This can only come from demand generated by government investment. A stronger push will be required for optimism to return and to create opportunities for the industrial products sector. The best articulated plans still take several months to trigger manufacturing demand. So, the need to do this urgently cannot be overemphasized.
Many infrastructure projects are still in the domain of the government and take time to be implemented. Is it time to partner more with the private sector to get large, complex projects delivered? Is there a need to rethink public-private partnerships and can the government get much better at facilitating investment and stay away from investing? It is only these steps that will create demand for capital goods.
With the possibilities of policy reorientation in the US, and the consequent impact on capital, interest rates, etc., the government may have act very fast and very decisively.
Demonetization seems to be playing out in ways that were not quite expected. This issue that will stay with us for a while, both in reality and in the minds of potential buyers of automobiles.
In a situation like this, it is important to have the government facilitate demand. This can happen through both financial and non-financial methods. It is important to speed up the plan to implement urban bus corridors and have demand created through urban upgradation programs. Tightening and implementing retirement norms for vehicles can support demand creation. Strengthening the framework by which the vehicle aggregation models flourish would enhance consumption in that segment. Demand could also be enhanced by building adequate road infrastructure, particularly in the urban areas.