According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), currently 3.1 crore unemployed people are looking for a job. According to a report by BSE index, 7.15% of rural India is unemployed. The youth across India is facing challenges regarding skills and jobs. Competition has intensified, and automation appears to be another threat, as technology is replacing humans, resulting in layoffs. According to US-based HfS Research, the IT services industry alone is set to lose 6.4 lakh low-skilled positions to automation by 2021.
According to the UN, the working-age population increased by 30 crore between 1991 and 2013, but the number of people employed rose by only 14 crore. Can the existing skill development programmes cope up with the market trends? Based on a study of the National Sample Survey in 2015-16, of the 47 crore people of working age (18-35 years), only 10% receive any kind of training or access to skilled employment opportunities.
The policies launched with much fanfare fail to do justice to their objectives. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) targeted to train 1 crore youth during 2016-20. With the failure of the first phase, the second phase was launched with a budget of Rs 12,000 crore, to skill 1 crore youth by 2020, of which only 60 lakh were provided fresh training and 40 lakh were certified for RPL (recognition of prior learning). But there was no evaluation to find out the outcome of the scheme and whether it was serving the twin purpose of providing employment to the youth and meeting the skill needs of the industry.
The situation is worse in rural areas, as most of these interventions focus on urban areas. For supporting rural youth, authorities merely focus on opportunities that provide partial employment—not a sustainable means of income generation. There is a mismatch between the skill-sets that industries require and the skill-sets the youth are equipped with. These structural challenges result in a demand and supply mismatch, and it becomes tough for the youth to find suitable employment.
The government needs to focus on specific areas. Every state has diverse needs and job opportunities. If states are given greater power, more focused skill development programmes can be designed. There is also a need to focus on understanding the aspirations, industry requirements and standardisation across the skill development value chain. The planners must map skills that are being imparted as per specific industry needs in the private sector. A regular monitoring and evaluation framework is needed, aimed at course-correction and understanding the best practices in the skill development ecosystem.
Another way is partnerships between corporations and social enterprises, which can build appropriate market linkages for the employment of the youth. Under the CSR umbrella, corporates can mobilise significant resources towards skilling.
By- Soumitro Chakraborty. The author is CEO, Fiinovation, a CSR consulting company, and Chairman, Centre for CSR and Sustainability Excellence