The Union Budget of India will be presented by the Finance Minister on February 01, 2023. It has the potential to have a substantial influence on several sectors of the economy including the lives of young people in the country.
This series interviews students and young working professionals and seeks to understand the reasons for the lack of interest among today's youth in budget announcements as well as their expectations from it.
Paridhi Sharma of Kirori Mal College tells MintGenie in an interview about how she believes that reason behind the lack of awareness regarding budget among the youth is that the children are kept away from the conversations of taxes, loans, or budgets for the longest time possible. She is a 19-year-old content creator on LinkedIn. Topics related to career, personal growth, and personal finance interest her the most. She is a big advocate of holistic development and believes that only that can open the doors of unimaginably exciting opportunities.
Do you believe there is a lack of awareness and participation among the younger generation regarding the Union budget and its discussions? What could be the possible reasons behind that?
The level of awareness among the younger generation regarding the Union Budget varies significantly depending on their background and the school/college they attend. Most private schools, including mine, provide a project on the analysis of the Union Budget every year to expand the knowledge about this among its students. In colleges too, formal sessions are organised on Budget analysis in order to acquaint the students with a better understanding of where the nation’s money is being spent. However, this is highly restricted to some tier-1 colleges and elite private institutions only.
There is little ‘inherent’ excitement about the Union Budget among younger generations beyond the institutional level. This is because, in middle-class homes, children are kept away from the conversations of taxes, loans, or budgets for the longest time possible. So, most of us grew up with the mindset that the budget only influences big businesses, corporations, the rich, and the poor. We presume that there is nothing in it for the younger groups, and call it a topic not suitable for ‘us’ to discuss or analyse its impact on us, directly or indirectly.
Since young professionals are directly affected by the tax rates and their deductions, these conversations are more common among them than students.
How do the decisions undertaken in the Union Budget affect the youth and GenZ? Why is it important for them to actively engage and be a part of it?
As the future workforce and nation builders of the country, a lot of decisions that are made in the Union Budget have the calibre to revolutionise our lives for good or throw us straight into a jab. Education is the biggest game changer for most teenagers. And hence all the decisions related to that primarily affect the entire lifetime of young individuals.
Another part of the youth wants to avoid the conventional path. They are concerned with the opportunities that lie in sports or other creative fields more than higher education. And it’s important for the budget to recognize their needs and give such unconventional fields their due share. Either way, these affect our whole lives and the dreams we have been harbouring, directly.
The more we engage and illustrate our awareness about budget, the more representation we will be given in it. Hence, it is imperative for us to be a part of such discussions.
What are the expectations of today's youth from the government and its budgetary decisions? What do they look forward to?
Expectations are endless. But some of the most common ones are as follows -
Uniform funds to all the higher academic institutions - Data shared by MHRD in 2018 revealed that almost 50% of the central government’s higher education funds go to IITs, IIMs, IIITs, and NITs which accommodate only 3% of students. In fact, in the recently introduced CUET exam, 6.63 lakh candidates registered for Delhi University, the highest among all the participating universities whereas it can accommodate only 70,000 students at the UG level.
These numbers clearly show the disparity in terms of opportunities, exposure, and infrastructure that lies in the students studying in these institutions and other higher education institutions. Not everyone can go to an IIT or an IIM, and hence the government should focus on bringing the same quality opportunities to other institutions by uniformly distributing the funds.
Proper regulations for layoffs & addressing unemployment - A report by India Today revealed that almost 1.5 lakh people were laid off from tech jobs in 2022 and this number is only expected to rise in 2023 as well. Some of these companies literally laid off people over an email, which is disappointing, to say the least. In addition to some relief to the people affected by this, the youth expects the government to focus on developing proper rules and regulations to enhance job security. Moreover, it is important that the government addresses the issue of unemployment directly, rather than ignoring it like always.
Expanding financial literacy among unprivileged people - Financial literacy is a hot topic among the Genz. But since this is not taught in schools, only the section of society which can afford a good internet connection and smartphones are aware of it. In the longer run, this may create a huge financial disparity between the privileged and unprivileged sections. And hence, it’s time to start some TV programs and workshops at a cellular/rural level on these topics.
Promoting startup culture - It is the perfect time to promote the startup culture due to the ongoing startup wave and the mass layoffs happening. Things like tax benefits, and making the documentation procedures easier and hassle-free are something that we look forward to.
Less interest on education loans - With the economy still trying to recover from the effects of a global pandemic, the government should make education loans more affordable and accessible to all. No one should be devoid of quality education because they did not have the money to afford it.
Details on new technologies - Young India is obsessed with new technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrencies, the digital rupee, etc. They are also looking forward to the introduction of 5G pan-India. And we are eagerly waiting for more information on rules, regulations, and the stance of the Indian Government on these topics in detail.
Jobs for the LGBT community - Even after all the advancements that we have been through, we have mostly ignored the LGBT community. They have a long way to go before people treat them with the same respect and dignity as others. Your sexuality should never be the reason for not getting jobs, but unfortunately, it is. Hence, the youth will receive specific provisions for jobs in this community with open arms.
Regulations on the creator’s economy - There is an undeniable role of GenZ in fostering the digital economy, mostly the creator’s economy. Youtube creators contributed 10,000 Cr to India’s GDP in 2021. We are eager to see how the Indian Government looks at this new form of economy and the regulations and recognition they give to this space.