Towards a skilled and empowered India

Jan 27 2014, 08:45 IST
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The country’s population is expected to reach 1.3 billion over the next six years The country’s population is expected to reach 1.3 billion over the next six years
SummaryDespite having undergone vocational training at fairly substantial costs, the Indian youth...

Vocational training has been one of the major topics of discussion for policymakers in India for the past couple of years now. The country’s population is expected to reach 1.3 billion over the next six years (by 2020), with almost 60% being in the employable age group of 15-59 years. A research by Boston Consulting Group has also estimated that, by 2020, India will have a surplus of around 47 million of the active population. Simply said, this means that we will have a remarkable 60% of total population available for working and contributing towards GDP, but out of this total pool, only 25% will find employment in the job market.

According to several research reports, there would be a demand-supply gap of 82-86% amongst the core professions. The IT industry is likely to face a shortage of up to 3.5 million skilled workers. Similar fate can be predicted for almost all the other primary sectors. The demand for skilled workforce will not only be restricted to traditional sectors like auto and BFSI but also include sunrise sectors such as organised retail. Construction and manufacturing are just some of the large-scale sectors where there is an alarming shortage of skilled labour. Construction companies, for example, were forced to import labour from China to complete the planned Commonwealth Games projects. There is a growing pool of urban professionals with more money than time who are eager to hire skilled electricians, plumbers, tailors, cleaners and carpenters, but these trades remain poorly trained and organised as are the staff of restaurants, hotels, spas and salons which are rapidly multiplying. Demand for such a workforce has begun to reach tier two and three cities, thus pumping up the demand for skilled service professionals. Such opportunities would be great news, except only 10% of Indians between the ages of 15-29 receive formal vocational training.

In short, while our market/economy grows and creates an increasing number of jobs which require skilled and trained manpower, a huge scarcity of this very resource is what we will be faced with.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that rather than witnessing a growth in the number of vocational training institutes, one is seeing a sharp decline in the quality of education being provided. Numerous engineering/computer education institutes are testimony to this fact. Most of these are driven more by the business opportunity they present rather than the ability to impart

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