Setting up Eklavya schools, digital classrooms steps in right direction : XLRI Director

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Jamshedpur, Feb 1 : Leading B-school XLRI welcomed announcements made under general budget 2018. Fr. E. Abraham, director, XLRI- Xavier School of Management said, “We welcome the education-sector related budget announcements. Setting up more Eklavya schools for tribal children and allocating funds for migrating from blackboard to digital board and most importantly treating education holistically with integration of “class 2 to class 12” are steps in the right direction and will help school-going students in rural and urban India in the long-run, especially as we are increasingly moving towards a digital economy.”

He further noted that the decision to allocate Rs. 1 lakh crore over 4 years for infrastructural upgradation in educational institutions will give a much needed impetus to Research and Development activities in the realm of higher education.

Prof. K.R. Shyam Sundar of XLRI said that the Union Budget 2018 has been preceded by an Economic Survey which has been more aspirational than realistic as it anticipates the revival of economic growth despite shockers such as rise in oil prices, fall in public investments to name a few. The biggest challenge for the government is to fulfil if not legitimise its poll promise of huge employment growth.

“Growth story till now has shown that it need not necessarily result in employment growth though dispensable. Employment growth even if its numbers among others must rely on more money in the pockets of people and investment sops. The Union Budget has not come up with much credible measures on jobs front. The government has now extended its sector specific policy of short term pay-roll tax sops to all sectors now and extending fixed term employment category to all sectors. It is clear that the government is more interested in numbers and not on quality of jobs as its sops and employment policy is short terms,” said Prof Sunder.

The professor said that the hike in customs duty on mobiles etc. will make it costlier on the one hand and may not jack up production in India as innovation is not India’s strength. This move which is expected to strengthen Make in India may not happen but will affect Digital India as mobiles will be costly thanks to high customs duty. The assured rise in MSP over cost of production could be tricky though a welcome move. However, continuance of the dream of doubling farmer income even in the medium term continues.

‘In short, this is a Dreamy Budget talking high numbers while missing on empirical realities. There has not been any talk on MGNREGA in this budget though it has stood the test of time despite problems. Further, disinvestment target has been hiked to INR 80000 crores which again has negative implications for employment creation.

In passing the pro-reformers will ask: is the credit note of disinvestment realisations for 2017-18 being higher than the target of 72000 crores of rupees worthy of jubilation? It is ONGC bailing out the government. Again, nothing has changed in terms of strategic management of disinvested enterprises. Hence neither the pro-reformers nor the unions are happy about this progress cheat. FDI in aviation and defence sector should bail us out in terms of jobs and research shows that FDI is not job-intensive. So where are the jobs? Job growth failure will haunt India yet again!’, added Prof. Sundar.

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