Vocational training programmes for underprivileged women Campaign 2

Skill Development is as important as gaining knowledge through education. While knowledge caters to our sensory needs, skills serve the practical purpose in life. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, they serve different purposes. While education helps us gain knowledge, form judgments, and reason, skill development aims at a more objective outcome. It is about training men and women for work-specific skills, to improve and polish the existing and unexplored abilities that they possess and turn them into more competent and productive. Developing skills of the manpower improves their ability to perform and achieve definite preset goals.

“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” – Larry Bird

Why is Skill development necessary?

People who possess goal-specific skills have an ascendency that help them to survive and earn their living over people who just earn degrees through education. In this constantly changing world, with an unprecedented development in the use of technology, skill development has become imperative. Wikipedia defines skill as “the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.” Hence, we gather that skill is an expertise necessary for meeting the goal of a specific task or job.

Why India needs Skill development?

In a country like India whose population is 138 crore (as of 2020, estimated by Unique Identification Authority of India) and unemployment rate is 5.4%, skill development is a necessity to progress in the economic scale globally. India is still a developing country and factors like unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, lack of full-proof plans for its advancement stunts the country’s growth. Major economies of the world like USA, China and Japan have an aging population. India, on the other hand, is one of the youngest nations of the world and the average age of over 50% of the population is below 30 years. India holds a favorable position as the average age of the population in other countries ranges from 40-50 years. India has the power of the youth and as Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship had said:

“We are a youthful nation. Our youth are our strength. The world and India need a skilled workforce.”

As per the report: ‘State of the Urban Youth, India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills’, India was estimated to become the world’s largest country with 64% of its population in the working-age group by 2020-2021, and that there would be a steady increase in the youth population to 46.4 crores by 2021. India used this favorable demographic dividend in the hope of using this vast potential of indigenous manpower and serve the manpower market when it launched the Skill India campaign in 2015.

It was found in a study that a major part of the youth population is unskilled and that leads to an increase in unemployment. If the youth could be trained in specific skills, it would contribute to macro-economic growth and socio-economic stability of the country.

Skill Development Program in India

The honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi launched the SKILL INDIA MISSION on July 15, 2015 which aimed to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022:

“I call upon the nation to take a pledge to make India the skill capital of the world.”   -Shri Narendra Modi.                        


The tagline of the mission is “Kaushal Bharat-Kushal Bharat” which means a prosperous and happy nation created by skill development in India.                     

Skill Development Program

The percentage of the workforce receiving skill training is only 10% in India which is comparatively not as much if  USA (52%), UK (68%), and Germany (75%) Japan (80%) South Korea (96%) is taken into consideration. It was estimated that by 2025, about 50-70 million jobs would crop up in India and that a major part of the employers will require vocational training to be industry-ready. It was a huge challenge and the Prime Minister launched the mission to prevent a massive demographic disaster. India has a target of training 500 million skilled workers by 2022. This would help India to be at par with the International market and prosper globally.

Features and Objectives of Skill Development Programs     

The Skill Development programs would enhance entrepreneurship and the employment and self-employment opportunities of the youth. The primary focus was to increase the employment rate by providing youth training in market-relevant skills. Skill Development would act as the missing link between demand and supply of skills. The Skill India mission is the first of its kind to assure financial prosperity to the mass, hence aiming to mitigate poverty, achieving socio-economic growth, and empowerment of the underprivileged class. The programs aim to make society more economically inclusive.

The Skill Development Programs aim at imparting quality training that will make the youth more competent to meet challenges in the job market. The training wouldn’t only be restricted to meet the standards of the nation but also on the International level so that skilled workers would be eligible to partner with foreign countries as well. The most notable feature of the Skill Development Program would be to create a hallmark called “Rural Skill India”. It will also narrow the divide between male and female workers and the division between rural and urban. The Skill Development Programs also aim at women empowerment. In the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, around 68 lakh women had undergone skill training, which shows that the government is working towards uplifting women and giving them equal space in the workforce.

The skilled workforce is pivotal for the success of recently launched missions like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’. The Skill Development Programs were meant to be carried out through public and private sector partnership. Partnerships were to be promoted between the Government, industry, local governments and skill providers. It would also include training Self Help groups and NGOs. The creation of an institutional mechanism was to be the founding stone of the Skill Development campaign. Some of the specific skills that the youth are trained to develop are nursing and healthcare, carpentry, weaving, cobbling, agriculture, beauty and wellness, electronics, mechanics, gem and jewellery, construction and many more. Plumbing is one of the most recognized skills that need development and would provide jobs in the ongoing ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. IT is yet another field that would require skilled workers to contribute to ‘Smart Cities’ mission. Skills in Retailing would help secure jobs in the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

The Skill Development Programs also provide numerous incentives to attract students to join the training as training in Skill Development Programs is an unconventional method of education. A lot of unaware Indians avoid joining such programs due to societal stereotypes. However, developing skills is one of the infallible ways to secure a job. Some of the initiatives under Skill Development Programs in India are National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and SANKALP (Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme), TIPP, PMKK and many more. Foreign countries like the UK, Japan have agreed to actively support India in its initiative.

Why is Skill Development necessary for the Middle and Lower Income Groups?

Unemployment and poverty have been a raging issue worldwide, particularly in developing countries like India. India is still a lower-middle-income country according to the World Bank’s classification of countries according to their incomes. As of 2011, according to the study made by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), 140.7 million (61.5 %) were middle-income households and 41 million (17.97 %) were low-income households.

It is a world run by capitalism and material-based pleasures, where luxury can be bought with money while some people still suffer to earn two meals a day and afford a comfortable shelter. Unemployment occurs when the manpower demand of a nation is less than the supply of skilled labor to join the workforce. One of the primary reasons for unemployment is a lack of technical know-how and vocational-based education.

Due to the lack of coordination between economic planners and educational planners, a mismatch arises in the type of laborers required in the economy and the number of turnouts from educational systems. Quality education has become a luxury and it is not possible to study in the top-tier colleges if you belong to the middle and lower-income groups. The meritorious poor fail to afford it. Capability deprivation occurs and they fail to get sustainable deserving jobs. Many educated and well-deserved candidates avoid manual work as the dignity of labor is not appreciated by them, which in turn leads to a class of educated unemployed. At times, seasonal unemployment also occurs in the case of farmers and likes.

Lack of skills results in inequality among classes, comparatively poor standards of living, and not only unemployment but also underemployment. When people develop skills, it helps them secure jobs based on their talent and aptitude. Hence, productivity also increases. At times, in rural areas of India, men and women can’t complete their normal course of education for various personal reasons. Skill Development programs come to their rescue. Women are still restricted from studying for a longer time period in certain areas of the country, but once they attain the independent age of 18, they can enroll themselves in these programs to earn their own bread. People migrating from rural to urban areas often come in search of better work to improve standards of living, Skill Development Programs can ensure that. The Government also makes sure that someone who has successfully completed the Skill Development Program earns a cash reward, and has access to loans such as Mudra Bank loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.          

In the end, it is about living a life with respect and earning your own bread while also contributing to the betterment of society and your own nation.

Shouma Banerjee



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