Skill Development in India – Skill India – What You Need to Know About

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While getting our daily household work done, we face major obstacles in getting a good resource who is properly trained in respective trade. Even a simple work like fixing air conditioner, most of the time takes multiple iterations. Story does not end at working level, but shockingly extends to 0.4 Million engineering graduates from India every year, only 20% are employable.

Presently, only 2% of the total Indian workforce has undergone skill development training. It is projected that 500 million people will require training for India’s workforce by 2022. In India, around 12 million people are expected to join the workforce every year whereas the current total training capacity of the country is around 4.3 million, thereby depriving around 64% entrants of the opportunity of formal skill development every year.

It is unfortunate that despite making considerable progress in terms of literacy, high incidence of illiteracy cripples the Indian workforce even today. The above facts are a stark reminder that India’s demographic dividend can rapidly convert into a demographic nightmare if skills are not provided to both new and existing workforce. Thus, there is a need for increasing capacity and capability of skill development programs.

India may squander the opportunity of having a young population of those below 35 years of age if it fails to impart employable skills at a faster pace, says World Trade Organization (WTO). According to the 2011 census, 65% of India’s 1.2 billion people are below the age of 35 years and sizable portion of them speaks English. GDP levels can increase by about 3% points in 2035 if India improves significantly on skill training, according to the WTO working paper.

In my 25 years as an IT & Telecom consultant, I have found that many of my clients are as frustrated by the lack of skilled workers for daily activities as well as India’s challenge of ease of doing business.

India has a great opportunity to meet the future demands of the world, India can become the worldwide sourcing hub for skilled workforce. Government of India is actively working with other stakeholders to encourage the development of skilled workforce across the country at various levels.

“Skill India” mission needs to be governed by following major constraints:

  • State of Art Training content : Design of training programmes should be on the lines of global standards so that the youth of our country can not only meet the domestic demands but also of other countries such as the US, Japan, China, Europe and those in West Asia. This is getting increasingly important with the government’s agenda of turning India into a manufacturing hub for the world. It will take more than cheap labour to pull global companies to use Indian resources and services for their products; it will need good quality manpower that can deliver at par with standards in their nations.
  • Short Term courses: Focus should be on short term cost effective modular courses, rather than long ones without industrial exposure. In India, the vocational training is offered nearly in 120 courses and mostly of long duration (i.e. of 1 to 2 years duration). Whereas in China, there exist approximately 4,000 short duration modular courses of average 8 weeks, which provide skills more closely aligned to employment requirements.
  • Widespread Vocational Institutes: Although China’s economy is only four times larger than India’s, its manufacturing sector is 50 times larger. China has annual 500,000 vocational training centres compared with India’s outdated 10,000 ITI.
  • Balanced Employment-Entrepreneurship program: Trainings should no longer going to be restricted to vocational ones but also put emphasis on micro-entrepreneurship trainings that can encourage them to start their ventures independently or improvise if they already have any.
  • Bespoke Training : Tailor-made, Need-based programmes-language and communication skills, life and positive thinking skills, personality development skills, management skills, behavioural skills, job and employability skills-have to be initiated for specific age-groups.
  • Women Oriented courses: Unfortunately, share of women workforce is declining in India which if not properly addressed would result in the wastage of the demographic dividend to India. Moreover, women in India are mainly concentrated in the informal sector and are engaged in low paid jobs with no security benefits. Elderly care, House Keeping, Play Centre Management, Web designing etc. are some of the women oriented courses which would be on demand all over the world.

Recognising that country needs to train 500 million skilled labourers by 2022 to meet its requirement and also for attaining the status of world-wide sourcing hub, Govt of India has Public- Private model to address the issue under “Skill India” mission. It has sought to embark upon a lucrative business opportunity estimated at more than $20bn.