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Indian National Budget boosts skills training

This year’s Indian National Budget has allocated increased funding for skills training, highlighting a need for both domestic and outside players to help plug India’s upcoming skills gap. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also announced a rollout to 150 countries of India’s visa-on-arrival system, which could help to boost inbound mobility.

Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - minister Arun Jaitley at the India Economic Summit 2010. Photo: World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland.

"In an increasingly competitive world, along with a knowledge economy a skilled economy is important to maintain our competitiveness”

Though the visa-on-arrival system is only available to tourists, Lakshmi Iyer, director and head of education at market entry consulting firm Sannam S4, commented: “If people have a good experience coming into India, maybe for their future activities involving studying and living and working here, they might consider [India].”

“It is a massive agenda and India needs all the help she can get”

The funding boost for skills initiatives highlights a shift towards a focus on employability and not just academic excellence over the last five years.

“In an increasingly competitive world, along with a knowledge economy a skilled economy is important to maintain our competitiveness,” Iyer said.

She also stressed the need for international cooperation and opportunities for foreign providers.

“It is a massive agenda and India needs all the help she can get,” she said.

“If you look at the work being done by the 31 sector skills councils, we have looked at occupation standards in different countries like the UK, Australia, Germany and so on to evolve a system that will work for our skills sectors,” she continued.

“They continue to engage with foreign players.”

Digital learning, which has also come to the fore in recent years with the announcement at the end of last year of SWAYAM – a new national MOOC portal in development – has also been given a boost, with Rs. 200 crore ($US32m) allocated to India’s National Mission in Education through ICT.

“We believe [this funding] will give push to the adoption of digital learning,” commented Sanjeev Duggal, CEO and director of vocational and corporate training provider Centum Learning.

“While definitely there is need for more, digital learning is already engaged in helping India build its capacity to provide world class content, pedagogical intervention and creating more jobs,” he added.

The budget includes an allocation of Rs. 1500 crore ($US240m) towards skills development and entrepreneurship and Rs. 196 crore ($US31.5m) to support skills based higher education, including community colleges.

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