The percentage of school students owning a smartphone in rural India has increased to 61% from over 36% two years ago, the Economic Survey noted and stated that if utilised well, the resultant reduction in digital divide is likely to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
Revamp Boards of CPSEs
While disinvestment and rationalisation of some central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) are being planned, there is also a need to strengthen the ones that would be retained in their respective sectors so as to fully meet the expectations of the government. Revamping company boards, listing on stock exchanges, and strong corporate governance norms would be some measures to this effect, the survey said.
Climate Risk Meets Crop Insurance
Climate risk insurance is an important tool for providing security against loss of livelihoods and of assets as a consequence of disasters. Given the significant contribution of the agricultural sector in the Indian economy, coupled with looming “climatic aberrations”, crop insurance becomes a necessity to mitigate the risks associated with a majority of farmers, the survey said.
Incentivise Female Workforce
The Economic Survey 2020-21 has called for a need to incentivise female workers through affordable and quality child care facilities and paid paternal leave. Besides, non-discriminatory practices at the workplace like pay and career progression are needed to help draw more females to join the labour force. Female labour force participation stood at 26.5% in 2018-19 compared to 80.3% for males.
Gig Economy Makes it Big
India has emerged as one of the largest countries for flexi staffing in the world with gig workers becoming important during the lockdown when online retail businesses saw significant growth. “The gig economy allows flexibility in employer-employee relationships to both service seeker and service provider,” the survey said.
Umbrella Portal for Logistics
The survey called for integrating all logistics-related digital portals under an umbrella portal. Existing IT based solutions such as Indian Customs EDI Gateway for cargo handling at seaports, and Vahan by the transport ministry, among others, have adopted different approaches, leaving critical gaps that require manual or offline processing at various stages.