What is the status of India’s skills development programs and who are the major players in India executing the programs?
The Eleventh Five Year Plan had favoured the creation of a comprehensive National Skill Development Mission. A Coordinated Action on Skill Development has resulted in the creation of the National Skills Development Agency (NSDA) recently and the further strengthening of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC). Both these agencies have a distinct charter towards meeting the PM’s goal of skilling 500 mn people by 2022.
The NSDA has subsumed the erstwhile office of the Adviser to the PM. It is an autonomous body which will coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the Government and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan and beyond and endeavour to bridge the social, regional, gender and economic divide by ensuring the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and marginalised groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differently-baled persons are taken care of through the various skill development programmes.
What challenges do you see in implementing these programmes?
India’s workforce, the second largest in the world, needs to be trained across four levels, from the White, Grey, Blue and Rust Collar workers and linking them to job or self-employment.
However the major challenges in implementation of the skill development programmes continue to be Cost, Quality and Access. The Ministry of Labour and the State Skill Missions are setting up ITIs in un-serviced areas. Considerable efforts have been made recent years to operationalise new Government and private ITIs. The number has doubled from 5114 in 2006-07 to 10,000 by Aug 31, 2012.
Where do we stand in comparison with other nations?
It may not be right to draw comparisons with the developed economies of the world. The challenges of India and others are different. Our biggest challenge is the numbers. Just the number of unemployed in India is more than the total population of several developed countries. Having said that, there is a lot to learn from the best practices of these countries and adapt them to our conditions. The institutions like the Sector Skill Councils are now emerging, qualification frameworks are being put in place, integration of occupational standards has commenced, State Skill Missions have begun to take charge.
What has been the role and responsibilities of the Central & state govts towards skills development?
The role of Central and State Governments has been in the policy, implementation and more importantly in creating a conducive environment for private sector participation. Several policy decisions in the recent past have led to the setting up of institutional frameworks, innovative schemes like the MES, upgraration of ITIs and the plan to establish 50,000 Skill Development Centres.
What role does FICCI play towards these programmes?
We are committed to working with the stakeholders, especially the industry, government and academia to create sustainable and scalable skills propositions which will benefit the youth of the country from all sections of society. We believe that Skills Development cuts across all sectors that FICCI represents. We have a very active FICCI Skill Development Forum, a humble being of a few members the Skills Forum is a vibrant body of over 100 members. Through this platform FICCI engages with the stakeholders seamlessly, by participating in policy advocacy, industry engagement and international collaboration.