Budget 2017: 3 interventions each for improving education and skills, and increasing formal employment.

23 Jan, 2017
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Non-fiscal interventions for education and skills

Restructure education regulation: Innovation, quality improvement and quantity expansion in education is held back by the lack of separation of the regulator, service provider and policy-maker. Fixing government education delivery needs to be separated from education policy-making, which needs to be separate from a regulator that is agnostic to private or public delivery;

Amend the Right to Education Act. The Right to Education is overly centralised and overly focused on inputs. We must amend it to become the Right to Learning Act by giving power back to state governments and shifting focus from inputs to learning outcomes (curriculum, teacher training, assessments, etc). The Right to Education Act has led to massive corruption by block education officers and specific concerns need to addressed;

Remove ban on universities for online higher education: The regime cannot prevent foreign universities from operating in India online, but prevents Indian universities from developing capabilities in online education. All varsities should be allowed to launch online campuses.

Non-fiscal interventions for formal employment

Allow low-wage employees (people with less than Rs 20,000 per month salary) to choose mandatory salary confiscation: Today, low-wage employees only receive 55% of their salary because 45% goes to statutory deductions like EPFO, EPS, ESI, LWF, EDLI, etc. Low-wage employees do not have a 45% savings rate and prefer informal employment, where haath waali (in-hand) salary equals chitthi waali (on-paper) salary;

Aadhaar for employers: The proposal to adopt PAN as the universal enterprise number across all central government agencies has been stuck because of a ministry of labour demand for an establishment number. This is irrational;

Adopt paperless, presence-less and cashless labour law compliance.

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This article was published in Financial Express: https://goo.gl/h3Jdgv

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