Skill India Mission is a government scheme launched in 2015. It is an umbrella scheme that has many skilling schemes and programmes under it. The chief objective is to empower the youth of the country with adequate skill sets that will enable their employment in relevant sectors and also improve productivity.
Skill India Objectives
The chief objective of the Skill India Mission is to provide market-relevant skills training to more than 40 crore young people in the country by the year 2022.
- The mission intends to create opportunities and space for the development of talents in Indian youth.
- It aims to develop those sectors which have been put under skill development for the last many years, and also to recognize new sectors for skill development.
Other objectives are:
- Closing the gap between skill required by the industry and skills people possess for employment generation.
- Reducing poverty in the country.
- Increasing the competitiveness of Indian businesses.
- Ensuring that skill training imparted is relevant and of quality.
- Preparing Indians to take on the world manpower/resources market.
- Diversifying the existing skill development programmes to meet today’s challenges.
- Building actual competencies rather than giving people mere qualifications.
- Offering opportunities for lifelong learning for developing skills.
- Augmenting better and active engagement of social partners and building a strong public-private partnership in skill development.
- Mobilising adequate investments for financing skills development sustainable.
Features of Skill India
There are many features to the Skill India Mission that make it different from the previous skill development missions.
- The focus is on improving the employability of the youth so that they get employment and also enhances entrepreneurship among them.
- The mission offers training, guidance and support for all traditional types of employment like weavers, cobblers, carpenters, welders, masons, blacksmiths, nurses, etc.
- New domains will also be emphasised on such as real estate, transportation, construction, gem industry, textiles, banking, jewellery designing, tourism and other sectors where the level of skill is inadequate.
- Training imparted would be of international standards so that India’s youth get jobs not only in India but also abroad where there is demand.
- An important feature is the creation of a new hallmark ‘Rural India Skill’.
- Customised need-based programmes would be started for specific age groups in communication, life and positive thinking skills, language skills, behavioural skills, management skills, etc.
- The course methodology would also not be unconventional and would be innovative. It would involve games, brainstorming sessions, group discussions, case studies and so on.
Why does India need a skills development programme?
As of a 2014 report, India’s formally skilled workforce is just 2%. Additionally, there is a huge problem of employability among the educated workforce of the country. Lack of vocational or professional skills makes it difficult for the youth to adapt to changing demands and technologies of the marketplace. The high level of unemployment is due to the failure to get jobs and also due to a lack of competency and training.
- A study by the Skill Development Council (NSDC) indicates that there will be a need for around 12 crores skilled manpower by 2022 across 24 key sectors.
- Casual workers, who constitute about 90% of the labour force, are poorly skilled as they do not get adequate training. Current vocational training programmes do not meet their demands.
- There is a problem of social acceptability when it comes to vocational education. Vocational courses are looked down upon and this needs to change.
- Changing technology is a big challenge and opportunity for the labour force. Employees will have to constantly upgrade their skills if they are to remain relevant in the job market.
- There is a problem with the lack of infrastructure in the current training institutes.
- Another problem is the poor quality of trainers available. Students trained by such trainers are not employable in the industry.
- There is a big issue with the standardisation of skills in the country. New schemes are designed to resolve this issue by having nationwide standards that also stand up to international benchmarks.
Skilling is important because of the following factors:
- Demographic dividend: Most major economies of the world have an ageing population. India, with a favourable demographic dividend, can grab this opportunity and serve the manpower market. But, for this adequate skilling is to be provided to up the employability. To capitalise on this, there is only a narrow demographic window, that of a few decades.
- The percentage of the workforce receiving skill training is only 10% in India which is very small compared to other countries – Germany (75%), Japan (80%), South Korea (96%).
- Sectoral mobilisation: As productivity improves in agriculture due to increased mechanisation, there will be fewer people required in the farming sector. There will thus be a shift from this sector to other secondary and tertiary activities.
National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015
The chief objective of this policy is to match the challenge of skilling at scale with speed, standard (quality) and sustainability. It aims to offer an umbrella framework to all skilling activities carried out within India, to align them to common standards and connect skilling with demand centres. In addition to laying down the objectives and expected outcomes, the policy also identifies the overall institutional framework which will act as a means to achieve the expected results.
Skill Loan Scheme
Under this scheme, loans ranging from Rs.5000 to Rs. 1.5 lakhs will be provided for those seeking to attend skill development programmes. The idea behind the scheme is to remove financial hurdles for people who want to upgrade their skills and learn new skills.
Though skill training in the country has improved in recent years, the absence of job linkages is only aggravating the problem of unemployment. The newly appointed Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan has echoed a similar concern. “We have to think big way, a lot of technologies are coming, conventional jobs are squeezed, new verticals are emerging, what are they, they have to be informed to employable youths which all big jobs are there.”
Skill development starts with identifying future job prospects and segmenting it according to the need and feasibility of training candidates. The PPP model of operation of SSCs presents a great chance of bringing industry best practices in learning and development into such training modules. Private players can use technology to automate, improve and scale training and certification approach of skill-based training. By creating better linkages between the many stakeholders in the process and establishing key deliverables and a clear chain of accountability would help make such training programs more effective. Working towards increasing the accessibility of such training programs, in parallel, should also be looked at. A recently proposed move of making such training more district centric is a step towards that direction.
As India aims to have one of the strongest economic growth stories in the 21st century, it becomes vital for it ensure it growing workforce is capable to handle the incoming disruptions and find suitable jobs. And a core part of this is to tackle the problem of unskilled labor in India and fix its skilling initiatives, today rather than tomorrow.