Last year, the Centre had set a goal to achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2025. This is surely ambitious but also a much-needed directional goal. It has the potential to galvanise all our resources towards this challenging task and to revive many sectors that need a helping hand.
GDP growth is a vital input into the critical task of job creation. If India’s demographic dividend has to pay off, we will have to create adequate job opportunities for the youth. Coming to pre-Budget expectations, being in the education sector, I would say that the government needs to increase allocations to the maximum extent possible in all spheres of education, with a special focus on primary education. Higher fund allocation is needed but the more important part is how it is utilised.
Effective ways to improve the quality of teaching, particularly in schools, needs to be formulated. Teaching, as a profession, needs to be made worthwhile for those with academic excellence. Today, unfortunately, teaching — particularly at the primary level — is often seen as a line for those who could not get into anything else. If the quality of teaching at the school-level improves, the students going for higher studies will have the necessary skills to meet the requirements of the industry.
The Centre needs to not just invest in education, but create an enabling environment for the private sector. This is essential for attracting financial capital and quality brain-power — which this sector needs urgently.