Skill development in India is spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development of Entrepreneurship (MSDE). It gives a tangible, systematized funnel of progress for skilling the youth of India. It states its industry-relevant skill training vision in lucid terms – to remove or narrow down the gap between demand and supply in skilled labor.
In the course of skill development in India, any skill university in India faces unique challenges such as the need to bring together a collaboration between the public and private sectors. To address this need and improve employment outlook, the Government of India defined such collaboration in 2011 as a PPP – public-private partnership. Under the stewardship of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the foundation for the Golden Quadrilateral project was laid. It is an early example of a 3P collaboration that brought India’s four major cities, in addition to several other commercial, industrial, and agricultural locations, under one network – to be managed by the National Highways Authority of India.
As a more recent example, George Atalla of EY cites the success story of how Kochi was developed into a smart city in India through the collaboration of the state and central governments. The city-wide metro system, smart-ticketing, and incentives of speed and convenience have made this logistics project exemplary to other tier-II cities in India like Nagpur, Noida, and the state capital, Hyderabad. These examples speak to the very real way in which efforts of skill development in India such as Skill India programs pay back to society.
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Another challenge that is unique to India’s human resource development is the wide gap in the participation of women compared to men in the workforce. Women require more incentive to put by the concerns of domestic and family-care responsibilities and participate in the workforce. The Indian Prime Minister’s Kaushal Vikas Yojana, a venture of the National Skill Development Corporation, seeks to overcome this by training women in non-conventional trades and organic farming. Right along, it points out the importance of enhancing awareness and developing skills in digital and financial areas. It identifies specific competencies that women miss out on and offers them as part of skill development programs in India.
Yet another challenge is the need for standardization across international yardsticks. To help this along, the National Skill Development Corporation rolls out the India International Skill Center program.
A less recognized challenge among the workforce, mainly in the unorganized sector, is that the nomenclature and the nature of the skills required for some jobs are not formally documented. To counter this, Skill India itself acts as a portal where youth can register their competencies, access reports, and documents, and get assessed for their existing potential even as they build new ones.
A great shot in the arm for the general scene of skill development in India is the nearly 59 million youth set to join India’s workforce. These numbers from the Periodic Labor Force Survey of 2017-18 show that young, trainable, bilingual individuals will blend into the working population by 2023. They can further the mission of the Ministry of Skill Development of Entrepreneurship in empowering youth through a slew of programs. The Skill India Mission is on everyone’s mind because it is backed by the Prime Minister’s Office. It seeks to bring together learners and training partners, helps register candidates to maintain a database of individuals with well-defined skill-sets, and also offers counsel and advisory services.
It is a common phenomenon that small and medium sized businesses constantly grapple with retaining or obtaining digitally-savvy employees. As a recent study cited, 85% of Indian companies are looking to reskill their existing workforce, which is instrumental for growth. This is when businesses look to initiatives such as Skill India where they are offered bankable human resources to drive their business growth.
Another initiative is the National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP), a Public Private Partnership of TeamLease Skills University, CII, and NSDC under the National Employability Enhancement Mission of the Ministry of HRD (AICTE). This program is driven to help unemployed youth to build skills through Learning by doing and Learning while earning along with providing them with access to practical skills.
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For skill development in India, more programs such as the Skill India schemes are surely the way forward if they train a specific focus on women, young professionals, and those moving laterally so as to be cross-functional.
- Manish Kumar, The 3 challenges to skill development in India – and how to tackle them, World Economic Forum, Oct 1, 2019
- Investopedia, What Impact Do Public-Private Partnerships Have on Economic Growth?, Oct 19, 2019
- George Atalla, How public and private sector collaboration can help overcome the challenges of urbanization, EY.com, April 26, 2018
- The India Employer Forum, Digital Skilling: How Trinity Of Govt, Edtech Startups, Tech Businesses Is Helping MSMEs Grow Online, March 6, 2020