The government has disbanded the Security Sector Skill Development Council, set up to provide professional certification for private security industry, after an audit found several malpractices, including misuse of funds and serious conflict of interest. The powers of assessing trainees and awarding certificates have been taken away from the Security Sector Skill Development Council (SSSDC) and it has been subsumed into the management sector skill council. The development comes in the backdrop of rising concerns over job creation and the government’s increased focus on skilling to create workforce ready to be absorbed by the industry. Sources said there are complaints from various quarters regarding the functioning of the sector skill councils that are set up as autonomous industry-led bodies by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The sector skill councils are being closely watched, and recommendations for the non-performing ones have been submitted to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, as there is a need to “weed out” the bad ones, NSDC MD & CEO Manish Kumar told PTI. A directive has also been issued for freezing the bank account of the Security Sector Skill Development Council to protect the public money lying with it.
“Inquiry is done, now we will file an FIR. It is something which is serious and we are not going to leave it, we are going to pursue this,” Kumar said. The FIR, he said, will be filed against the executive authority who was signing the cheque. “Apparently, the signing power was with the Chairman (Kunwar Vikram Singh), whoever was signing the cheques we will hold accountable,” Kumar said. The council has 22 persons on its Board. Kumar said an audit which was shared with the NSDC Board raised a “lot of money misuse” and the report was shared with the government. “A government request had come that they (security SSC) should not be entrusted with the responsibility of a sector skill council. A formal communication had come from the government, so it is a combined decision of the government and NSDC,” he said.
In NSDC too, 6-7 employees have resigned in the recent past, perhaps owing to feedback on their poor performance, whereas a couple of others may have resigned as their “integrity was under cloud” and an inquiry would have followed, Kumar said, adding that poor-performers may be asked to leave in future. However, he said that mass sacking is out of the question. According to sources, the government is not satisfied with the performance of the flagship skilling scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) being implemented by NSDC. “PMKVY’s performance and IT (Smart Portal) performance has not been up to the level that we wanted. Therefore, that does mean that we need to do more out there. We want to improve that,” Kumar said.
The NSDC had earlier wrested control of its Skill Management and Accreditation of Training Centres (SMART) portal from Quality Council of India, following several complaints regarding inspection of its training centres being run under PMKVY. The Security Sector Skill Development Council was constituted as per the National Skill Policy of the government. It was jointly formed by the Central Association of Private Security Industry and NSDC. The NSDC was set up as a one of its kind public private partnership company.