The country's youth have several reasons to cheer about the Budget, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sticking to Narendra Modi's ambition of galvanising the large demographic group to push development of the country. India is said to have one of the largest youth population in the world, with two-thirds Indians below the age of 35 years.
The Union Budget holds several schemes and promises that look set to bring the country's youth to take charge in the future.
From offering them skills training and giving them incentives to start businesses, to setting up sports facilities and premier educational institutes, the government's Budget looks to capitalise on this age group.
- Skill India Programme: This national multi-skill programme announced by the government on Thursday is meant to train the youth in several professional skills. With an emphasis on employability and entrepreneurial skills, the government has set aside ₹100 crores for this programme.
It will also provide training and support for traditional professions like that of welders, carpenters, cobblers, masons, blacksmiths, and weavers.
- Young Leaders Programme: "The youth of India are pragmatic, forward-looking and wish to be leaders in all fields. In order to promote leadership skills, I propose to set up Young Leaders Programme with an initial allocation of ₹100 crore," the finance minister announced on Thursday.
Jaitley allotted another ₹100 crore to promote village youth to take up entrepreneurship.
- Facilitating jobs: Jaitley said the government would work towards converting employment exchanges set up under the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 that primarily offer information on availability of jobs into career centres, where the youth will also be offered counselling on selecting jobs based on their aptitude and skills.
- ₹10,000 crore assistance for start-ups – In order to help entrepreneurial youth in the country to start up their own businesses, the government has set aside a ₹10,000 crore fund to provide venture capital for the micro, small and medium enterprises.
It also announced ₹200 crore for establishing a technology centre network to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Five more IITs, IIMs: The Modi government has decided to take the number of IITs and IIMs, the most premier institutions in the country, up to 21 and 18 respectively.
The government also announced that four medical instutions on the lines of AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) will be set up in the country.
- National-level Sports Academies: The current state of sports in the country is much below the international standard, and the focus of the government was to ensure the youth of the country get good sports facilities. The government has assured that academies with international-level facilities for training of accomplished athletes and for nurturing talent at junior and sub-junior level will be set up for shooting, archery, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting and various track and field events.
Jaitley also announced ₹200 crore for upgrading the indoor and outdoor sports stadiums in Jammu and in Kashmir Valley to international standards.
- Sports University: The government has allotted ₹100 crore to set up a national sports university at Manipal.
- Amendment to Apprenticeship Act: Jaitley promised that the Apprenticeship Act will be suitably amended to meet the current needs of the industry as well as the youth.
"Comparing the size of the Indian economy, the performance of the Apprenticeship Training Scheme is not satisfactory and a large number of training facilities in the industry are unutilised," he said during his speech.