Employment indices are one of the best indicators of economic growth, especially for a developing economy like ours facing the twin challenges of low per capita income and bulging population. We always take pride from the demographic advantage predicted for India that by 2025 the country would comprise more than 65% of people in 18-64 years’ age group as the highest in the world, surpassing China, Japan and the US.
The uncomfortable question relates to the employability of these large numbers of people in manufacturing and service sectors. Data shows that agriculture contributing 17.4% to GDP provides employment to around 70% of our people. This percentage includes full and partial employment and also those under MGNREGA scheme.
There is not much innovative working methods emerging in agriculture and in the next few years’ time it is quite likely that permanent employment in this sector would be rather limited with shrinking opportunities for part employment while the number of people dependent on agriculture would still be significant.
Recent NSSO survey also shows that engagement in regular wage/salaried jobs comprise around 18 % of the total labour force, while self employment provides livelihood to 52% and the balance 30% in casual areas.
It therefore becomes imperative that skill gaps between what the industry requires and what is made available by the existing level of our school/college curricula are identified and appropriate training programmes are drawn up that blend both theoretical and practical aspects of specific skill.
This type of training, loosely termed as “vocational”, also reduces pressure on finding job opportunities in manufacturing and other services.
The weakness of the government-sponsored training programmes is that once the training schedule is complete, the future activities of the trainees and their engagement are not monitored.
This gap can be filled up by competent private and autonomous agencies.
Steel is one among the twenty two sectors under NSDC scheme that has recently created a skill council to make a long-term plan for meeting the skill gap in the sector.
As productivity improvement leads to cost reduction and efficient running of the plant, modern steel