If not jump in euphoria, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given youth some reason to smile with his Union Budget announcments. If you happen to be a first-time earner and draw a salary of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, you can be happy because you will only pay 2.5 per cent as tax as against 5 per cent. If you are making below Rs 3 lakh per year, you don’t have to pay any tax whatsoever. The earlier limit was set at Rs 2.5 lakh, so here is another measure that would bring a smile on the faces of India’s youngsters.

The end result of changed income tax rules is that those making between Rs 3 lakh and 5 lakh will end up saving a little over Rs 2,500 on tax now. The budget move is likely to be received favourably by millions of Indian youth workers who have just entered the workforce. Around 50 percent of India’s population was below the age of 25, with almost 65 percent under 35 years of age, as of 2011.

During his speech, Jaitley also noted the power of India’s youth demography as he announced a host of other youth-centric measures. Some of the highlights from Jaitley’s budget speech which may be relevant to the youth include:

  • Jaitley emphasised the role of “quality education” in developing India’s young population, announcing creation of an “Innovation Fund” aimed at providing financial support to primarily science students and technology students.
  • Digital empowerment was a big theme of the budget speech, which largely aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India program. The finance minister said that ICT-enabled education would be a prime area of focus of the government in coming days.
  • Jaitley also said that government would fund courses in foreign languages which he said would make Indians more employable overseas.
  • Nearly 3.5 crore youngsters will be trained at a cost of almost Rs 4,000 crore under a livelihood promotion scheme, Sankalp.
  • Jaitley said that the government would create a national common entrance test for admission into higher education institutions.
  • The government would also initiate further reforms in the University Grants Commission (UGC), an autonomous body responsible for regulating education standards across the country. Jaitley said that more colleges and universities would be awarded autonomous status, a move that may lead to further private sector investment in education.
  • Jaitley also said that the government would continue to remain committed toward Skill India Mission, one of flagship programs of the Modi government. The minister announced the setting up of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) in 600 districts to train youth for job.