India’s focus is going to be on skilling and digitisation so that there’s greater ease of living, transparency and formalisation of the economy, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, observing that the country is reaching near saturation in providing the basic facilities to the people.
Speaking at a fireside chat at the Peterson Institute for International Economic think-tank on Monday, Sitharaman said the approach of the government is to empower the poor people with at least the basic amenities. “We are reaching near saturation in providing the basic facilities in India,” she said. She noted that the discussions earlier used to be on poverty alleviation. “Have we removed these many numbers of people from poverty and lifted them out,” she said. Sitharaman talked about the facilities the Indian government is wanting to extend to the poor in the country.
“And that is to give them some good house to live in, which is made of concrete and not thatched roof with toilets in them, with drinking water reaching them through pipes, electricity, and a good road, not just to the village, but also to the streets in the village and then connect them to the nearest highway; connect them with good transport facility and so on and financial inclusion so that each member of the household has a bank account and they get every such benefit, which has to reach them, but directly into their bank account rather than through a middle agency,” she said.
“So, in each one of these, we are reaching saturation, which means if there are a hundred people today who are eligible to get them, they would get, we are near 98 points 99. And of course, newer people can get added as the population grows, we’ll keep attending to them,” Sitharaman added. She said India was focusing very much on skilling people. “We are now focusing very much on skilling people, each according to their level. Skilling centres are now spread all over the country. The gradation of the skilling varies according to individuals. Businesses and private sector entrepreneurs are also tied into it so that there is a link between the kind of training that businesses want and actually those who are getting the training so that immediately they can get recruited. There will be a lot of skilling emphasis,” the minister said.
“India’s digitisation programme will be going at full throttle and it’ll cover most aspects of our lives. Today, it covers health, education and also, and financial transactions. We expect it to move on to other areas as well so that there’s greater ease of living and transparency economy gets even more formal. And therefore, with that, you find the economy has its full strength coming on board rather than having a second layer, which remains in the grey area,” Sitharaman added.