Skills First

Recently, Indian Prime Minister (PM) said that nation needs to think big and focus on skill, scale and speed to get India back on track. It’s not first time PM expressed his concern, but he underscored importance of skill development from various platforms. Keeping importance of skill development in mind, the new government has created a separate ministry for skill development and entrepreneurship. This is an indication that the Union Government is very serious about skill development.
In this backdrop, I am trying to unfold various skill development initiatives in India. They are part of various ministries and organisations ranging from private to public sector.
In the early nineties, the Union Government started economic reform. After this bold policy decision, some sectors witnessed an impressive growth in couple of years. Such growth further created a demand for skilled workforce and industries expressed their concern over unskilled lebour force. Various studies and researches find that there is acute shortage of skilled labour in various sectors and industries are facing the brunt of such shortage. Such situation forced the government to start some serious initiative to lag the gap. Skill development has emerged as force for inclusive development. In last couple of years, India underscored importance of skill development and various players are have involved in skill development initiatives. These are:

(1) Skill Development by the Government
(2) Corporate led Skill Development
(3) Skill Development by International Players
(4) Initiatives by Not-for-Profit
(5) Initiatives by Social Enterprises or Small Ventures

Before delving into detail, I will shed light on existing skill development policy in India. First of all I will discuss national policy on skill development, followed a leading body at the union level and its role in skilling the unskilled in India. Then, I will shade light on involvement of various ministries.

National Policy on Skill Development
In 2009, the Union Government approved the National Policy on Skill Development. It was proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. In order to ensure inclusive development, this policy underscored the importance of increasing productivity. It unlined the importance of organsied and unorgansied work force.
The salient features of the Policy (1):
(a) Demand driven system guided by labour market signals thereby reducing skills mismatch.
(b) Expansion of outreach using established as well as innovative approaches.
(c) National Vocational Qualifications Framework which will inter alia include opportunities for horizontal and vertical mobility between general and technical education, recognition and certification of competencies irrespective of mode of learning.
(d) System to deliver ‘competencies’ in line with nationally and internationally recognized standards.
e) Focus on new emerging occupations.
(f) Focus on pre-employment training and Lifelong learning
(g) Equity consideration – adequate participation of women, disabled persons and disadvantaged groups including economically backward & minorities – enhancing their access to training; improving employability and increasing employment opportunities.
(h) Stress on research, planning and monitoring
(i) Involvement of social partners – responsibility for management and financing of the system would be shared with all stakeholders and provide greater space for Public Private Partnership.
(j) Promoting excellence.
(k) Use of modern training technologies including distance learning, e-learning, web based learning, etc.
(l) Skill upgradation of trainers, their quality assurance, and improvement of status.

Union Ministries/ Organisations
National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC)
Labour & Employment
HRD Ministry (HRD Higher Education & HRD Vocational Education)
Road Transport and Highways
Women and Child Development
Micro Small and Medium Enterprises
Rural Development
Heavy Industry
Urban Development
Construction Industry Development Council (under Planning Commission )
Urban Development
Information Technology
Consumer Affairs
Social Justice & Empowerment
Overseas Indian Affairs
Chemicals & Fertilizers

National Skill Development Council (NSDC)
In October, 2009, National Skill Development Council was launched by the then Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. It is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 by the Ministry of Finance. In the NSDC, shareholdings of private and government are 51:49. In other words one can say that it is a PPP enterprise and emerged as an apex body for skilling and up skilling unskilled workforce in India.
Speaking on the formal launch, Pranab Mukherjee the then Finance Minister said, “The vision outlined by the Prime Minister’s Council calls for serious up-scaling of the skill development targets. Hence, as against 40 million people currently, who have received any kind of formal or non-formal training, the vision envisages creation of a pool of 500 million skilled people by 2022. This translates into a rapid escalation of the training and skill development capacity, and, a quantum leap in the number of trades, wherein training is currently being imparted through existing institutes. The vision also emphasis, a high degree of inclusivity, which shall effectively deal with the current, divides prevailing in our society, such as gender, rural and urban, organized and un-organized employment, and, traditional and contemporary work places. In order to achieve the mission outlined in the vision, it has become imperative for Government to engage with the private sector, through long term partnerships to achieve synergy in delivery and implementation. The NSDC, therefore, is the important component of the overall roadmap for radically transforming India’s skill landscape.”
With NSDC, seventeen union ministries and departments are associated. But it comes under the Union finance Ministry. It provides funding to entrepreneurs through equity, loan and grants.

Ministry of Labour & Employment
In order to train workforce for industry, the Union Government started Industrial Training Institutes. According to a document of FICCI – an industry body, “The Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T) had the initiated Craftsman Training Scheme in 1950 by establishing 50 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for imparting skills in various vocational trades to meet the manpower requirements for technology and industrial growth of the country. Since then the demand for skilled manpower has increased substantially due to rapid economic growth, changes in technology and work process, and globalization of economy.”
The Minister of labour & Employment is running this scheme since then. It is certified by International World Organisation (ILO) There are about 200 it is in India run by Indian Government.

Ministry of Human Resource Development
Several decades ago, the Union HRD Ministry started Polytechnics for skill development keeping needs of burgeoning economy. It offer three year generalized diploma courses in subjects such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. The courses are now diversified to include electronics, computer science, medical lab technology, agriculture and hospital engineering. There are 1292 polytechnics under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Since its inception, polytechnic centres trend score of people.

Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises
The MSME Ministry conducts a number of vocational and entrepreneurship development programmes throughout the country. They focus on entrepreneurial skills development. Such programmes are associated with various sectors like food processing, solar power, electronics such programmes help the budding entrepreneurs to start their own ventures.

International Collaborations in Skill Development
In order to skill unskilled, the Government is fostering several international collaborations with industrialized countries and leading international bodies.
The UK India Skills Forum (UKISF) established in April 2002 is an initiative led by the UK India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO). It provides a platform for organizations across the technical and vocational education sectors in UK and India, to tap the business opportunities in the sector by exchanging ideas for delivery of skills training by collaborations between the two countries.(3)

India EU Skills Development Project aims to increase the capacity of policy makers and key counterparts, develop a National Vocational Qualification Framework, and enhance labour market analysis processes. The overall objective of this exercise will be to improve the quality and relevance of training provision and the number of certified skilled labourers in various sectors of employment. The aim of this project on skill development in India is to contribute to achieving rapid and inclusive growth. (4)

Skill Councils in Various Sectors
Aerospace & Aviation Sector Skill Council
Agriculture Sector Skill Council of India
Apparel Made-ups and Home Furnishings Sector Skill Council
Automotive Skills Development Council
Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council
BFSI Sector Skill Council of India
Capital Goods Skills Council
Construction Sector Skill Council
Electronics Sector Skill Council
Food Processing Sector Skill Council of India
Gems & Jewellery Sector Skill Council
Healthcare Sector Skill Council
IT-ITeS Sector Skill Council
Indian Plumbing Skills Council
Iron & Steel Sector Skill Council
Leather Sector Skill Council
Life Sciences Sector Skill Council
Logistics Sector Skills Council
Media & Entertainment Skills Council
Mining Sector Skill Council
Power Sector Skill Council
Retailer’s Associations Skill Council of India
Rubber Skill Development Council
Security Knowledge and Skill Development Council
Telecom Sector Skill Council of India
Textile Sector Skill Council
Tourism & Hospitality SSC

(2) NSDC