Initiatives by Government and Limitations of the Skill Development Programs

Skill Development Programs, After coming to power in 2014, the current Government had launched several missions and campaigns to move India up the global ladder. One of the biggest strengths of a nation is its workforce. However, India suffered from a major dearth of skilled manpower. On the other hand, according to reports, the majority of Indian workers would require skill development by the year 2022. In comparison to other developed countries, India, in spite of being a developing country, has a demographic advantage over others as it has a huge population of youth who could represent the manpower. Unfortunately, the time window is not much as predictions say that this demographic advantage will only last till 2040. Hence, it was time India initiated some programs for skill development as that could perhaps ensure the economic growth of the country. 

         Skill development had always been one of the priority agendas of the Government even in the 12th Five Year Plan. The Planning Commission had made an allocation of more than 22 billion rupees for the plan schemes of the Ministry of Labor & Employment during the 11th Five Year Plan. A National Skill Development Council had been established where the Central Government committed 10 billion rupees and 150 billion rupees was envisaged to be generated from other governments, public sector entities, and private sectors.

How is the Government conducting the Skill Development Programs across the country?

          The most recent mission that was launched by the Government was the ‘Skill India’ mission on the 15th of July, 2015 which is also recognized as the International Youth Skills Day. They launched four primary sub-schemes or programs under the Skill India mission, namely, ‘National Skill Development Mission’ (NSDM), ‘National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), and ‘Skill Loan Scheme’. 

  • National Skill Development Mission (NSDM)

        This mission was launched to develop and promote skill training across various states and sectors. Some of the objectives of the mission were to support the weaker, unprivileged, and disadvantaged classes of the society, especially in the rural areas through goal-based skill development programs; implementing such a framework like NSQF that will allow opportunities for long-term and short-term training and lead to increased productivity among the trainees. It would also act as a bridge to aid the transition between the vocational training system and the formal educational system, via a credit transfer system. The NSDM would also maintain a national database called Labor Market Information System (LMIS) which would not only make the citizens aware of the mission by providing them information but also monitor existing skill development programs running in various states. Seven sub-missions had been proposed to meet the goal: Institutional Training, Infrastructure, Convergence, Trainers, Overseas Employment, Sustainable Livelihood and Use of Public Infrastructure.

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY):
Initiatives by Government and Limitations of the Skill Development Programs 1

        This scheme was started by the Prime Minister himself with the vision to skill the youth of India by providing them vocational training, including school dropouts, existing workers, and ITI graduates. It would improve their employability by utilizing the infrastructure available in Government in coordination with private institutions and the industry. The scheme contains certain specialized components such as the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), RPL, and Rozgar Melas. The strategy was to attract youth towards skill development by awarding prize money (about 8K rupees). As per reports, by mid of 2016, 17.93 lakh candidates were trained out of 18 lakh who were enrolled in the scheme. It also strives to promote the participation of women in the workforce. Almost half of the candidates enrolled are women. Women dominate sectors like Apparel, Beauty & Wellness, and Healthcare.

          Under RPL or Recognition of Prior Learning, lakhs of women candidates have been enrolled to develop various skills. Their existing skills are also being recognized by providing a formal certificate. Therefore, helping them to earn a better livelihood.

  • National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2015)

          This policy acts as a link to improve employment rate and productivity for skill development. It aims to shelter all the skill development programs in India in an umbrella-like framework.

  • Skill Loan Scheme

          This scheme is for the ones who have talents, skill and potential yet are unable to pursue their careers due to lack of funding. It also acts as an incentive to join the Skill India initiative. Under this scheme, loans starting from five thousand rupees to 1.5 lakh rupees will be issued for those seeking to attend skill development programs.

A few other schemes and policies under the Skill Development Programs across India

      Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion or SANKALP is one such program that aims at including the marginalized sections of society like SC, ST, OBC and even the PwD.

      Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement or STRIVE aims at developing quality training and therefore strengthening institutions like NSDA, NSDC, SSDM, SSC among others. It also aims to encourage Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to improve their overall performance.

Some schemes especially for Women  

           Women in the rural areas are often deprived of an independent lifestyle due to societal pressures where they are married off early without proper education or training. NSDC, along with its partners like Shri Mahila Seva Sahkari Bank Limited and Shri Sarada Math Rasik Bhita are working towards the skill development of women in rural areas of India. Thousands of training targets are being allocated to train women in Pradhan Mantri Mahila Kaushal Kendras or PMMKKs. They are being trained to develop skills in Tailoring, Beauty therapists, Customer Care Executives, Hair Stylists, Yoga trainers, and more. Creche facilities are being made available keeping in mind new mothers and residential facilities are also being provided to women trainees, which is a huge step towards equality.

Vocational training programmes for underprivileged women Campaign 3

           In 2017, in a session held at the Lok Sabha, Rajiv Pratap Rudy claimed that over 30 lakh candidates had received training from the Kaushal Vikas Yojana out of which over 2.9 Lakh candidates had secured jobs through placements. The Prime Minister had also written that every year more than 1 crore youth were benefiting from these programs.

Limitations of the Skill Development Programs

       There are several more Skill Development Programs that are being carried out throughout India. This “demand-driven, reward-based” mission has definitely helped many across the country. However, some loopholes remain even in the most full-proof strategies by Governments all across the world. That is why space for improvement also opens up. There are pros and cons to everything in life.

Some of the challenges faced by the Government and limitations of running the Programs

        There lies a vast hidden canyon between the claims made and accomplishments. It is true, that various training centers had been set up and skill training was being imparted, but due to various reasons like lack of funding, shortage of trainers, inaccessibility to remote areas, and a gap between proper planning and execution, Skill Development Programs can’t be awarded the laurel of success.

  1. With too many programs under their belt, institutions have compromised on the quality of training at times, hence affecting the outcome of the mission. There hasn’t been much difference in the impact of the most recent mission in comparison to the previous vocational training programs launched.
  2.  The Sharda Panel had pointed out that the focus of the SSCs seemed to be more on the implementation and promotion of the PMKVY rather than assessing whether the program will meet the needs of the industry or produce skilled trainees who will meet global standards.
  3. Lack of proper infrastructure is one of the primary reasons why India is lagging behind. The majority of prime institutes providing training lacked proper infrastructure to an extent that they didn’t have ample space to train even a fraction of the claimed number of candidates.
  4. A lot of training institutes have practiced outsourcing to the third party which is against the laid regulations. As soon as corruption crops up in a system, it becomes really difficult to meet the end. The Government hasn’t been completely able to monitor these issues.
  5. Lack of initiative for spreading information and awareness across the country, even to the remotest areas has prevented a lot of worthy and needy candidates from joining the programs.
  6. The methodology of experiential learning courses, that is, a combination of classroom and practical training is lacking in the curriculum of the programs.
  7. Lack of State Government participation is yet another major reason behind the low success rate of the mission. The mission is majorly a centralized one and the Districts and States have not many roles to play.
  8. Along with the Government, it is also the student’s role that plays a major role in achieving something. The candidate’s disinterest and mobilization to get trained is also a huge reason due to mindset, unwillingness to travel, and very low salaries at beginner-level jobs.
  9. There are no counseling cells that actually sort candidates into the right training centers according to the skills they possess.
  10. Salaries are paid by the categorization of skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled. These have to be aligned with skill standards set by the NSQF.
  11. Slow Enrollment is yet another issue. In India, less than 10% of the total workforce receive training whereas, in other developed countries, the rate is 60-70%.

The Prime Minister had dreamt of making India the Human Resource capital of the world. Several Skill Development missions, programs, and schemes and have been launched. India is still on its way and it is only desired that someday, our nation reaches the heights dreamt of.

Shouma Banerjee



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