Jaitley Allocates Over Rs.2,000 Crore for Higher Education and Skill Development

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced the setting up of a higher education financing agency with an initial budget of Rs.1,000 crore.

Presenting the union budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha, he also allocated Rs.1,700 crore for setting up skill development institutes across the country.

“We have decided to set up a higher education financing agency with an initial capital base of Rs.1,000 crore. The agency will be a non-profit organisation that will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds,” Jaitley said.

The minister said 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas will be opened over the next two years in the districts where they don’t currently exist.

One crore youths would be trained under the government’s skill development programme in the next three years, he said.

“We have decided to set up 1,500 multi-skill training institutes across the country. I am settling aside an amount of Rs.1,700 crore for these initiatives,” he said.

He also said that a National Board for Skill Development Certification in partnership with the industry and academia will be set up.

“We propose to further scale up Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna to skill one crore youth over the next three years,” he added.

To encourage entreprenuership, Jaitley said: “2200 colleges, 300 schools, 500 government Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 50 vocational training centres through massive open online courses (MOOCs) will be set up for entreprenuership, education and training”.

To give a leg-up to the youth entering the job market, the finance minister announced that the government will pay the employee pension scheme contribution of 8.33 percent for the first three years of their employment.

“We propose to make 100 model career centres operational by the end of 2016-2017. And to inter-link state employment exchanges with the National Career Service platform,” he said.

Jaitley also said that more jobs could be created in the retail sector, if the regulations were simplified.

“If shopping malls are kept open all seven days of the week, why not the small and medium shops?,” he said.

“These shops should be given the choice to remain open on all seven days of the week on voluntary basis,” he added.