Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of increasing capital investment outlay by 33% (to ₹10 lakh crore) in Budget 2023 could play a major role in employment generation. Sitharaman also announced the identification of 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last and first-mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertiliser and food grains sectors, which again would entail job creation.

“With an expected economic growth of 7% this fiscal and a slew of announcements made in the Budget, new job opportunities will emerge across sectors as well as regions providing meaningful and sustainable employment to many. And that is what will make India’s growth inclusive,” points out P. Vishwanath, CEO, Randstad India.

“A 33% increase in capital outlay will automatically create construction jobs. After agriculture, construction is the biggest employer in India,” adds Anandorup Ghose, Partner, Deloitte India. Salaried employees constitute only 23% of the workforce, while the percentage of self-employed is as high as 55-56%. “The percentage of salaried employees is coming down every year. When you make investments in structured sectors, salaried employment goes up and that is the positive. If a person is self-employed, he/she doesn’t get access to benefits or social security,” Ghose further explains.

The Union Budget 2023 has a slew of employment-friendly initiatives. The recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission, with an outlay of ₹19,700 crore is expected to create over 6 lakh jobs. Similarly, the announcement of the construction of 50 additional airports, heliports and water aerodromes would also lead to local job creation.

The Finance Minister also announced the launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 to skill lakhs of youth within the next three years. On-job training, industry partnership, and alignment of courses with the needs of the industry will be emphasised. The scheme will also cover new-age courses for industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. To skill the youth for international opportunities, 30 Skill India International Centres will be set up across different states.

Though these announcements are forward-looking, a section of the industry is sceptical. “A lot will depend on how the Central Government executes these initiatives,” says Aditya Mishra, CEO, Ciel HR. Mishra emphasises the need for public-private participation. The government has to form a task force to implement all of this. If they want to execute within a year, there has to be rigorous planning.”

“How much of this will lead to job creation depends on how much of the capital outlay is translated on the ground,” agrees Deloitte’s Ghose. Will the government walk the talk? Let’s wait and watch.

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