The state-imposed lockdowns following the covid-19 health crisis disrupted the economic activities across the country. Workers experienced either reduction in employment opportunities or complete loss of it. This shed light on revisiting livelihood and employment strategies to address the losses incurred in the labour market.
The economic relief measures declared by the government in the subsequent quarters of 2020-21 gave impetus to the revival of economy. Disproportionate allocation was given to eight schemes aimed at providing the much-needed push for safeguarding people and their businesses impacted by the lockdown.2 This led to a significant decline in the unemployment rate to 9.3 percent in the last quarter of 2020-2021. 3
Undoubtedly, the crucial need of creating more economic opportunities, re-skilling and investing in building digital capacities was highlighted during this period. The announcements in the Budget 2022-2023 targeted these needs prioritizing inclusive development, rapid infrastructure building and productivity enhancement.
With the infusion of funds into several employment and livelihood related schemes, the Indian government is set to propel economic growth in the country. Fund allocations made to product-linked incentive (PLI) scheme in fourteen sectors, promises a potential to create 60 lakh job opportunities. Expanding employment opportunities further, additional credit of Rs. 2 lakh crores will be facilitated for Micro and Small Enterprises under the Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme.
The setting up pf DESH-stack-e portal and Digital University for upskilling will encourage the development of a resilient digital ecosystem for the predicted digital boost in the future. This is an empowering step which will enable the youth to upgrade their technical skills, find relevant jobs and keep up with local and global markets. Moreover, the government announced to expand the scope of entrepreneurial and employment online portals such as MSME UDHYAM registration, National Career Service (NCS), E-Shram and Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portal to facilitate convergence between employers, employees, and entrepreneurs.
The provisions under the budget have been expanded to address the lack of livelihood opportunities in border villages, hilly and northeast regions. This allocation is directed to prevent livelihood related migration, develop entrepreneurial ecosystem, and strengthen border security. This will enable India achieve its primary goal of inclusive development.