As the nation eagerly awaits the unveiling of the interim budget for 2024-25, the spotlight is on how fiscal decisions will impact various aspects, especially in the realm of human resources. The budget document has revealed a significant allocation of over 1 lakh crore to the Ministry of Education, signaling a strong emphasis on education and comprehensive skill-building for students. As we anticipate the budget announcement, expectations are high for initiatives that align education, employment and digitization to foster a resilient and inclusive economy.
Education & Skill Development
Given the substantial allocation to the Ministry of Education, there’s a prevailing expectation of continued support for holistic development. The budget is anticipated to focus on bridging the digital divide, especially in rural areas and promoting online education initiatives. As digital literacy becomes increasingly crucial, investments in technology-driven education are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping a future-ready workforce.
Youth Empowerment & Employment
Skill development initiatives are likely to take center stage, aligning the workforce with emerging market demands. Support for entrepreneurship is also anticipated, fostering economic growth and creating job opportunities. Recognising the youth as a demographic powerhouse, the budget is likely to incorporate initiatives that empower and engage the youth. Skill-building programmes tailored to the aspirations of the youth, coupled with opportunities for entrepreneurship, are anticipated.
Policy Reforms & Labor Laws
Anticipations are rife regarding policy reforms in labor laws and social security measures. The budget might introduce measures to streamline and modernise existing labor laws, fostering a more flexible and business-friendly environment.
Potential changes in Provident Fund (PF) regulations and social security schemes could be on the horizon, aiming to strike a balance between employee welfare and the ease of doing business. The emphasis may be on creating a supportive legal framework that encourages investment while ensuring the protection and rights of the workforce.
Inclusivity & Diversity
A socially inclusive budget is anticipated, with measures to address diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Encouraging gender diversity and providing support for underrepresented communities may find a place in the budget’s priorities. Initiatives that promote equal opportunities in the professional sphere and bridge existing gaps are expected to contribute to a more inclusive workforce.
"While tax breaks for startups and MSMEs are crucial for job creation, a truly inclusive future demands deeper attention to diversity and inclusion within academia. Budget 2024 should address concerns around faculty diversity, equitable scholarship opportunities for underprivileged students, and robust anti-discrimination policies across campuses. Nurturing talent from all backgrounds within these institutions will ensure a generation of future leaders equipped to build an equitable and thriving India,” adds Sethi.
Leveraging digital technologies for efficiency, transparency and inclusivity is expected to be a key theme. The budget may introduce measures to accelerate the digital transformation of various HR processes, making them more accessible and streamlined. This digital push is envisioned to enhance the overall efficiency of human resources management.
India is heading towards a big Techade as we push for a $10 trillion economy by filling global talent voids. Employability has risen from 45.9 per cent in 2021 to 50.3 per cent in 2023, making India a leading source of high-skilled talent, as per India Skills Report 2023.
The budget expectations for human resources encompass a holistic approach that aligns education, employment and digitization. As the budget unfolds, the nation awaits the specific measures and allocations that will pave the way for a robust and inclusive workforce.