The Union Budget 2018 presented today addressed many of the concerns of rural India and that of the MSME sector. We applaud Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, for introducing measures to alleviate some of the pain points they suffer. The outlay for healthcare and education is a much needed boost to create a more healthy and skilled & educated India.
On the civil aviation front, Finance Minister unveiled plans to increase the number of airports in the country by 5 times in this year from a current total of 124. India is the third largest and the fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world with respect to the number of domestic tickets sold, and this plan will greatly aid in growing the number of trips to one billion a year. It further mentioned 56 new airports and 31 new helipads will be connected under the UDAN scheme. The massive expansion, as envisaged, will have a multiplier effect on employment opportunities in the aviation sector. It will also have a commensurate effect on training requirements which are of a critical nature. Pilots, airport staff, baggage handlers, among others will have to be given proper training to minimise untoward incidents, potential accidents and be on the ready to deal with emergencies such as that of Indigo Airlines in the recent past. The mismanagement and rude behaviour by the crew members highlights the need to improve the standard of training the professionals in the industry.
In a major step, the Budget announced the largest government-funded health insurance scheme to be implemented anywhere in the world. The sheer size and coverage of the scheme committed will require investment to train and skill additional resources and address shortage of qualified medical professionals. India lacks trained experts, and the corresponding measure to increase the number of medical colleges will provide a boost. However, this needs to also be backed by improvements in training. Technology can help bridge the gap here, with cloud and virtual reality based training modules, there are now more efficient pathways for these front of line critical care providers to be on top of their game.