Despite the good intention of increasing employability, skilled manpower, production and thus exports, the government has lagged on the execution front.
To drive India closer towards Narendra Modi-led government’s ambitious goal of a five trillion dollar economy, the government is trying to tap traditional skills to boost industrial production and to reduce its dependence on imports. In the 15 days of the Apprenticeship Pakhwada 2019 event, the industry has committed to engage 4.5 lakh more apprentices, with states committing another 2.5 lakh apprentices. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also pledged Rs 560 crores to the state governments to promote demand-driven and industry-linked skill development. As many as eight PSUs, including BHEL, GAIL, have also committed to train about 35,000 apprentices.
The apprenticeship programmes not only boost the number of skilled manpower and thus help in increasing production, but it also raises the standard of society. “Most of the students who opt for apprenticeships are from middle or lower-middle class, largely from Tier 2, Tier 3 colleges and once they are absorbed, the wage premium significantly improves their living standard as well,” Sumit Kumar, Business Head, National Employability through Apprenticeship (NETAP) told Financial Express Online.
Around 10-40 per cent apprentices are absorbed in the same organisation where he is trained. “The flourishing of the apprenticeship will undoubtedly help the economy to reach the $5 trillion mark. Just under the NETAP, 1.5 lakh apprentices have been trained, out of which over 90 per cent or 1.42 lakh are absorbed into formal employment,” Sumit Kumar added.
With the increasing potential of the apprenticeship programmes to add employment, that too as skilled manpower, apprentices can be directly absorbed by the industries to increase production and thus exports. The increase in exports is likely to expand India’s economy. However, the apprenticeship programmes have a few roadblocks on the ground.
- Despite the good intention of increasing employability, skilled manpower, production and thus exports, the government has lagged on the execution front. Sumit Kumar says that bureaucracy still exists and thus certain approvals like curriculum approvals are difficult to get.
- Another major roadblock that he pointed out was that under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), promised subsidies are received very late, hurting the confidence of people involved.
- Lack of information also leads to operational challenges in this field. The system is well regulated but when there is an operational issue, it takes a lot of time and energy to get settled.
What needs to be done
Working closely with the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) of the Ministry of HRD, Sumit Kumar brings out the following solutions.
- Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana, which was designed to incentivise employers for the generation of new employment, should be linked to apprenticeships for their higher absorption rate.
- Provision 80 JJ of the Income Tax Act that gives tax incentives on new employment should make special window for a net addition of the employees through apprenticeship.
- The Public-private partnership (PPP) model needs to be more effective for better execution.