Simplifying the new tax regime in the Budget is an excellent move and a big stride in being recognized as a globally competitive economy while also boosting consumption. A nod to the power of entrepreneurship for the country’s economic development and the announcements to extend income tax benefits for start-ups will set India on the path to be the world’s biggest start-up ecosystem.
As a teacher, I am especially thrilled to see the innovative approach to education outlined in this budget. The historic allocation of ₹1.12-lakh crore to the Ministry of Education underscores the government’s commitment to digital literacy, teacher training, innovative pedagogy, and curriculum transformation.
The proposed national digital library for children and adolescents represents a pivotal moment in bridging the digital divide and ensuring equitable access to quality education. The focus on device-agnostic accessibility is essential in light of the pandemic-related learning losses.
Implementing the Eklavaya Model residential schools, with the recruitment of 38,800 teachers and support staff, will greatly improve education opportunities for tribal students. This is a major milestone in the education development agenda and sets the foundation for a future-ready India. PMKVY 4.0 will skill millions of youth in new age skills such as AI and mechatronics over the next three years.
Reimagining teacher training
Training data indicates that the estimated number of teachers was around 95 lakh in 2022. The budget’s plan to reimagine teacher training with innovative pedagogy, continuous professional development, and ICT implementation, will provide a fillip to these millions of teachers by not only improving the overall quality of education but also ensuring that teachers are equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
India is poised to become a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, leading the world with its thriving start-up ecosystem. The proposal to develop district education institutes into vibrant training institutes is visionary. According to a report by the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), there were over 63 million MSMEs registered in India in 2021, which generated employment for over 110 million people.
The growth-focused digital initiatives for skilling will expand with the launch of a unified skill India digital platform that links with employers, including MSMEs, and will provide stipend support to 47 lakh youths in three years. With access to anonymised data, the country is paving the way for a data-driven future filled with endless possibilities for discovery and progress.
AI to the fore
The budget proposal to make India future-ready through the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is path-breaking. The creation of three proposed AI centers of excellence within prestigious academic institutions, as well as partnerships with prominent industrial entities to facilitate interdisciplinary AI research, will lead to the development of advanced AI applications in the domains of agriculture, healthcare, and sustainable urban development. Likewise, establishing 100 labs for 5G application development in engineering institutions is a forward-thinking initiative that will open the doors to numerous opportunities across various sectors, including precision farming and smart classrooms, as well as facilitate the creation of new business models and job prospects in the digital era.
This budget has struck a fine balance in powering the India story into the Amrit Kaal while not derailing from its fiscal prudence path. I am confident it will continue to bolster India’s path as a bright spot in the global economy. By investing in education, skill development, and digital infrastructure, the government is poised to unlock the full potential of India’s human capital and drive growth in the long term.
(The author is the co-founder of BYJU’S)