India embarks on a journey to become the world’s ‘skill capital’
Sarvada Vigyata Vijaya – Skill always wins
Indian acumen and ingenuity is renowned world over; academicians and corporate workers are thriving. ‘Bangalored’ which means losing one’s job to an Indian due to outsourcing, is a word that now features on yale.edu. 54% of the Indian population is below the age of 25 and provides a limitless reservoir of talent. However, it is also true that 50% of graduates were deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ for employment in a survey. Until vocational training is provided, India’s image as a hub of ‘job stealing engineers’ will remain no more than a fallacy in Amartya Sen’s words. Only 2.3% of the Indian labour force is formally trained, compared to 80%, 68% and 52% in Japan, UK and USA respectively.
Launched on World Youth Skills Day on 15th July 2015, Skill India Mission is a venture to tap into the untapped potential of the youth by equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications. Its objective is to provide ‘opportunities, space and scope’ for the development of talent of youth, identify new sectors of development and bring development to sectors already under the programme.
Skill India Mission has the following features—
- Focus on employment and entrepreneurship
- Provide training, support and guidance to traditional workers (carpenters, cobblers, welders etc.)
- Strengthen the manufacturing base to meet internal and external demand
- Course methodology includes group discussions, games, brainstorming sessions, lab work, case studies and practical experience
It will endeavour to provide training to 40.02 crore people by 2022. The logo of the programme is a clenched fist with a spanner and pencil to depict the want of skill and general education by the aspirational middle class. The tagline is ‘Kaushal Bharat, Kushal Bharat’ i.e. A skilled India is a prosperous India. On the day of launch, keeping in spirit of the programme, over 18,000 ITI (Indian Training Institute) graduates got offer letter for jobs. 2.3 lakh youth received certificates from ITI. Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it ‘a decade of the ITIs’ as the IITs have long since carved a niche for themselves.
Under the umbrella of the Skill India Mission, there are 4 programmes, namely—National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Skill Loan Scheme. A feature of the aforementioned programmes is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) under which 10 lakh youth will be assessed and certified for their existing skill set. Skill cards or skill certificates will be provided, each having a unique QR (Quick Response) code to share their skill qualifications with their potential employers in a quick and easy manner. Loans between Rs. 5,000 and 1,50,000 will be given to 34 lakh youth.
In a nutshell, it is a certifying programme to increase employability. It is not a programme but a movement to add value and skill to the unskilled and even graduates from rural and urban areas alike. There are 410 classroom cub labs or Kaushal Vikas Shivirs across 300 constituencies to cater to 9 lakh plus youth enrolled. There are ‘skill vans’ which would go to remote areas to train people. Many corporates, foundations and PSUs brainstormed to provide input for training programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). Training will be provided as per the benchmarks set for quality of skill development called ‘National Occupational Standards’.
The programme has received an enthusiastic response so far, especially from UP, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Maximum enrolment has been in Logistics, Agriculture, Electronics, Beauty and Wellness, Retail and Automotive.
Census 2011 and the 68th round of NSS show that 10.4 crore fresh workers would enter the labour market and 29.8 crore existing workers would require upskilling by 2022. Studies say that India’s demographic advantage of a young population would only last till 2040. We have few years to harness the demographic dividend and overcome skill shortages. Skill India Mission comes at a right time to enable the aspirational youth live a life of dignity and pride by providing opportunities they need to excel.
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