India is facing a path-breaking opportunity with its potential to leapfrog its GDP from $3 trillion to $9 trillion by 2030 and $40 trillion by 2047 if it effectively employs its demographic dividend. The country remains youthful, with a projected increase of 183 million in the working age group by 2050, accounting for 22% of the growing global workforce. Despite strong economic growth between 2004 and 2018, the Indian labor market has not lived up to its potential, but post-pandemic recovery has been fragmented.
The right policies and investments in physical and digital infrastructure can create job opportunities for the country’s youth and tap into the growing demand for technical skills. The upcoming Union Budget 2023 is crucial in creating a pathway for the productive development of India’s human capital. The author’s dream is for a country with equal opportunities for all and a fair shot at a value-driven life, starting with the staffing industry.
To achieve this goal, the author recommends specific actions for the Union Budget 2023, starting with the staffing industry. These measures could include incentives for companies to hire and train workers, investment in vocational training programs, tax benefits for businesses that create jobs, and funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, investments in infrastructure, both physical and digital, are crucial in creating job opportunities and preparing the workforce for the future.
The Union Budget 2023 can also focus on creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, by providing access to capital, mentorship, and skill development programs. This can help foster innovation and create jobs in emerging sectors like technology, renewable energy, and digital services.
Finally, the author stresses the importance of equal opportunities for all and a fair shot at a value-driven life. This can be achieved through policies that address income inequality, promote financial literacy, and provide access to affordable healthcare and education.
In conclusion, the author highlights that extraordinary opportunities require extraordinary efforts. The Union Budget 2023 has a critical role to play in creating the right environment for India’s demographic dividend to realize its full potential and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Focus on job creation opportunities
The government’s initiatives such as the PLI scheme, Make in India, and Atmanirbhar Bharat have given a boost to job creation, but the budget must sustain this momentum by fostering new job opportunities across various industries.
Enhance greater skilling initiatives for the youth
The India Skills Report 2022 shows that only 48.7% of India’s youth are employable, yet 75% of companies report a skills gap. Closing this gap is crucial for offering meaningful job opportunities to the country’s youth. The budget should build upon existing initiatives such as Skill India, Desh Stack E-portal, and Digital University by providing further investment to address the skilling gap.
Industry Status for Staffing
The staffing industry is crucial in creating job opportunities for the common man and driving economic growth. It also offers valuable services to businesses by assisting with technology, skilling, and other needs. Thus, it is deserving of being recognized as an official industry.
Roll out labor codes with clear timelines
This is essential and would benefit from the central and state governments establishing help desks in the initial stages to facilitate implementation.
Additionally, my wish list includes the following specific recommendations:
● Bring in suitable amendments to the Income-tax Act sensitizing the issuance of orders within committed timelines — especially given the commendable levels of digitization and automation achieved
● Enable efficient reporting mechanism and tools for 26AS to enable transparent and accurate reconciliation with books where the data is voluminous
● Reduce employees’ PF contribution to 5 percent (from the current 12 percent) to enable higher disposable incomes, and a fair chance for professionals to invest their money in other instruments
● One-time GST correction window for the initial tumultuous years of GST implementation
● Centralized registration under GST for large service providers to streamline and simplify compliance, refunds, assessments, audits, etc.
● Abolish gratuity, which has no relevance in a world where people change jobs almost every two to three years
● Extend the Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) for FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22 to give a much-needed boost to service industries
● Permanent disallowance under IT Act on delayed statutory remittances for staffing service providers, given their undue dependence on principal employers
With India set to become the most populous nation with a peaking demographic dividend, the time is now or never.