- India is passing through the phase of demographic transition which could be the biggest opportunity or the biggest concern of the country depending upon the utilization of its huge work force. India adds 12 million people to its workforce annually, but very few have any formal skill training. Today, less than four per cent of the Indian workforce is skilled, in contrast to the 42 per cent in US, 76 per cent in Germany, 80 per cent in Japan and 96 per cent in South Korea. Our workforce readiness is one of the lowest in the world and a large chunk of existing training infrastructure is irrelevant to industry needs. Without proper skills this huge youth population would be a demographic liability instead of demographic dividend, However, this could change if we reach out to more people with quality learning opportunities, revamp our existing infrastructure and execute plans more efficiently by making better use of monetary and resource support available.
Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. Countries with higher and better levels of skills adjust more effectively to the challenges and opportunities of world of work. India is facing several skill development issues which are hampering its’ progress & economic growth
Objectives of ‘Skill India’
The main goal is to create opportunities, space and scope for the development of the talents of the Indian youth and to develop more of those sectors which have already been put under skill development for the last so many years and also to identify new sectors for skill development. The new programme aims at providing training and skill development to 500 million youth of our country by 2020, covering each and every village. Various schemes are also proposed to achieve this objective.
- Based on formal skilling data for working age population from NSSO (68th Round)2011-12, it is estimated that only 4.69% of the total workforce in India has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68% in UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in USA, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea.
- India presently faces a dual challenge of paucity of highly trained workforce, as well as nonemployability of large sections of the conventionally educated youth, who possess little or no job skills.
- According to 68th round survey of the NSSO (2011-12), about 68% of graduates, 52% of post-graduate degree holders and 51% of graduate or post-graduate diploma holders were unemployed.
- According to a 2017 World Bank report ‘Skilling India’, more than 12 million youth in the age group 15 and 29 are expected to enter India’s workforce every year in the next two decades.
- A 2018 World Economic Forum report ranked India at 103 (out of 130 countries) in terms of prepared of talent.
- By 2026, 64% of the population is expected to be in the age bracket of 15 to 59 years; and 13% above the age of 60.
- As per the Economic Survey of India 2017 report released by the OECD, over 30% of youth aged 15-29 years in India are NEETs (not in education, employment or training).
- According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data (figure below), number of the unemployed youth that is seeking jobs has fallen – leading to the phenomenon of voluntary unemployment (see image ‘Dwindling numbers’).
GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT
- National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (NPSDE) 2015: o It sets the target at skilling 300 million people by 2022.
- Special focus on skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for women and Equity.
- Institutions such as the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and the Industr National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) (it is set up as a Society), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) (it is a Public Private Partnership Company – Section 25 under Companies Act 1956) and the Directorate General of Training (DGT) under the Skill India mission:
- NSDC and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) exist in partnership with the industry o NSDC has the mandate of designing standards for skill development o NOSs and QPs are laid down by the SSC with the participation of the industry
- Skill Development Missions, set up by all states
- Adoption of National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): aims to skill 2.4 million people in diverse trades within a year
- Other schemes: SANKALP, UDAAN, STAR (Standard Training Assessment and Reward).
Issues in implementation of Skill India Mission:
- The targets allocated to them were very high and without regard to any sectoral requirement. Everybody was chasing numbers without providing employment to the youth or meeting sectoral industry needs.
- No evaluation was conducted of PMKVY 2015 (the first version of the scheme) to find out the outcomes of the scheme and whether it was serving the twin purpose of providing employment to youth and meeting the skill needs of the industry before launching such an ambitious scheme.
- The focus of PMKVY has been largely on the short-term skill courses, resulting in low placements. There has been an over emphasis on this scheme and hence it is seen as the answer to all skill-related issues.
- The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) have pointed out flaws in the design and operations of the NSDC and National Skill Development Fund which has resulted in falling short of skill development goals. Majority of them also could not achieve the placement targets for the trained persons.
- The Sharada Prasad Committee, held the NSDC responsible for poor implementation of the Standard Training Assessment and Reward (STAR) programme. It highlighted that only 8.5 per cent of the persons trained were able to get employment. That is what has been claimed by NSDC.
- The government report has found fault with the STAR scheme on several counts. STAR offered school dropouts financial incentives to acquire new skills, but the report said that “of those who got their results, only 24% have received certificates and less than 18% have received monetary rewards. This is despite the fact that 80% candidates reported having bank accounts, and 91.3% stated they had Aadhaar numbers”.
- The Report also cites “serious conflict of interests” in the functioning of the National Skill Development Corporation.
- NSDC has not been able to discharge its responsibilities for setting up sector skill councils (SSCs) owing to lots of instances of serious conflict of interest and unethical practices.
- As per its original mandate, the NSDC should be mobilizing resources for skill development from the industry, financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral external aid agencies, private equity providers and ministries and departments of the central government and states. But the committee said found that the NSDC did not follow any standard criteria for creation of SSCs which not only increased their number but created overlapping jurisdictions.
- Another concern that arose was that the targets allocated to them were very high and without regard to any sectoral requirement. Everybody was chasing numbers without providing employment to the youth or meeting sectoral industry needs.
- There have been apprehensions on how many of the 11.7 million trained in the past two years are really in jobs.
- NITI Aayog’s programme ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ (SATH) is the much need intervention to harvest the demographic dividend
- Establishment of National Skills University will help in addressing the false perception of society with vocational education and setting up higher standards of skill
- Partnership with the industry experts is needed for creation of a pool of trainers and instructors
- Technology should be exploited to expand the reach of skilling programmes and institutes
- Mechanism to harness the Non-resident Indian (NRI) talent pool for mentorship, skill development and expertise (as recommended by Tarun Khanna-headed Expert Committee on Innovation & Entrepreneurship) are being worked upon e.g. VAJRA
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