The government’s flagship skilling initiative has completed three years; now is the time to look back and evaluate how successful it has been.
A booming economy is indicated by the availability of well-paid jobs, which relies on the availability of an employable workforce, and which depends on a favourable environment for skill and knowledge enhancement of individuals. To create a conducive environment for skill development and to assimilate various skilling initiatives under a single roof, the government launched the Skill India Mission on July 15, three years ago. Earlier, over 20 ministries/departments ran more than 70 skilling schemes, which had little or no coordination. Apart from consolidating skilling endeavours, the mission also aims to accelerate policy-making across sectors to ensure skill development at a large scale with swift pace and world-class standards.
What has been achieved
Through a ‘demand-led, reward-based’ framework, Skill India aims to train over 4 crore people by 2022. Spearheaded by the ministry of skill development & entrepreneurship (MSDE), Skill India is minimising demand-supply gap in skilled workforce, constructing a vocational learning ecosystem, innovating new and relevant skills courses, imbibing creating thinking and ensuring continuous employment for the skilled youth. So far, it has trained over 2.5 crore individuals in just three years.
The mission introduced intra-ministerial approach for skilling, wherein other ministries are helping MSDE by sharing data, infrastructure and expertise. The state-of-the-art Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK),in partnership with private training partners (PTP), have been devising initiatives in over 450 districts. The mission has strengthened India International Skill Centres to provide global-standard skilling and certification to Indian workforce and facilitate overseas placement. Over a dozen such centres are fully operational, and more are under way.
The National Skills Qualifications Framework has introduced skills/vocational training at school level. The Recognition of Prior Learning is helping candidates transition from informal market to organised, through assessment of their industrial competencies. MSDE is pushing work-oriented learning through apprenticeship, by introducing the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme.
The way ahead
Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that PTP-based PMKKs will be built in 700 districts by end-2018. As the geographical reach of these PMKKs increases, they are making skilling quality-oriented, sustainable and aspirational. The PPP model will bring enhanced industry practices in the skilling ecosystem. As India writes one of the strongest growth stories of all nations, human resource development through skilling will have a vital role to play in it. Although it is yet to be seen if the mission achieves its ambitious targets, it is safe to say that Skill India has positively impacted the national skills sphere and increased the acceptability of skill development as a viable means to augment employability.
Siddharth Chaturvedi is the director, AISECT