By – Christabell P J
The knowledge-based economy is the keyword of the modern era. This new phase of development is built on knowledge, skills, information, and technology. Finance minister Thomas Isaac has given thrust to the importance of quality education, skill up-gradation, and innovation for imminent development.
The future of a state like Kerala is envisioned upon knowledge, which is an intangible asset and economic growth depends on the production, distribution, and effective use of knowledge. With a whopping 16 lakh educated unemployed registered with the employment exchange waiting for a job, the minister has recognized that bountiful opportunities promised by the knowledge economy are a boon. On the one hand, the current budget envisages increasing enrolment in higher education to 75%, while on the other, it is giving utmost importance to enhance the employability of the youth by investing in industry 4.0 skills.
The move to give a boost to their innovative ideas by holding innovation challenges, setting up of start-ups, bringing in the digital platform, tying up with the Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC), and providing easy finance emphasizes that selfemployment is the way out rather than depending on jobs. If the educational institutions can put in a concerted effort, the highly competitive human resource can push the economy forward in the coming decades.
With a high female unemployment rate of 19.1%, a vast chunk of women is out of the ambit of economic participation. The budget visualizes to bring back five lakh women professionals to the labour market who have been forced to take career breaks due to familial responsibilities by exploring the opportunities provided by the digital world to work remotely.
An addition of 40 lakh educated women who could not participate in labour force will be adequately skilled and trained to find a place in the job market. Young women entrepreneurs will be given utmost nurturing by encouraging them to initiate start-ups.
In short, it is primarily a youth and women-friendly budget, which gives a new push to discover the hitherto arenas the state has not attempted to venture into so far in a big way. Though it is laudable, the primary concern is that the road to these high-sounding dreams is long. Getting the investments in human resources translated into employment is another challenging factor. The structure existing in higher education has to be revamped, and the industrial ecosystem has to be reoriented. Last but not least, the resources have to be mobilized and channelized judiciously.
(The writer is associate professor, department of economics, University of Kerala)
By – Christabell P J