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Gist of Kurukshetra : Skill Development

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  • Published
    12th Mar, 2020


With a favourable demographic dividend and an increasing percentage of youth in the workforce, the potential for growth and development is at its highest in India. It is crucial for the country to take advantage of this opportunity and bring the nation on the path of rising socio-economic progress. To achieve this aim, Skill development is vital for the enhancement of the workforce and to bring in the unused resources into the mainstream.

Need for Skill development:

  • About 54 per cent of the population is under the age of 35 and close to 15 million enter the workforce every year. The only way enough jobs can be created for such a huge number consistently is by creating an environment for entrepreneurship and innovation which encourages young people to aspire to become job-creators and employers.
  • Skill development especially in a country like India with its large young population, which is estimated to be 34.33 per cent of the total population in 2020, assumes greater importance to effectively reap the demographic dividend.
  • Skilling the growing workforce would improve their productivity and employability which, in turn, will improve incomes and the quality of life.
  • With the majority of the population living in rural areas, the need for sustained skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling is very much the need of the hour and assumes great importance for rural India.
  1. Reskilling and Upskilling
  • Along with fresh skilling, India requires a sustainable re-skilling and up-skilling ecosystem, which besides making the workforce present and future-ready, would also address the concerns of women who for several reasons, take a break from work.
  1. Online skilling to be encouraged:
  • Complementing the existing skilling ecosystem with the increased use of Online Skilling which, in a technologically-driven environment, appears to be a viable, cost-effective solution that would enable a person to select a trade of his/her choice.
  • Online skilling would increase the span of both horizontal as well as the vertical reach of youth to skill courses. This also implies that online skilling would improve the reach of rural youth to a formal training system as they would be able to access these training courses online.
  • A possible way forward is to set up a hybrid model of online skilling having online theory sessions along with practical training videos and also practical hands-on training model, especially for manufacturing sector skills.
  1. Private sector participation
  • Private sector and industry participants should be leveraged in strengthening the skilling ecosystem. Enhanced industry linkages could lead to more employment opportunities for skilled candidates as they would be industry-ready.
  1. Linking skill to entrepreneurship
  • To ensure employability, employment, entrepreneurship and self-employment amongst skilled youth the skilling curriculum should have a fair dose of entrepreneurship and know-how to start one’s own enterprise.
  • Skilling should create not only job seekers but also job creators and job givers.
  • Necessary credit support along with market linkages also needs to be provided. Setting up of incubation centres and cluster-based approach would give great impetus to this.
  • Soft-skills training is also an indispensable part of skilling for both employment as well as entrepreneurship.
  1. Role of Apprenticeship in skilling
  • The need to strengthen and popularize apprenticeships in India is immense and immediate as it is one of the best ways of on-the-job skilling and increasing the employability of person manifold.
  • Apprenticeships need to be popularised and incentivised with measures like preference in recruitment, higher stipends for female apprentices and assistance to MSMEs engaging apprentices.
  1. Integrated portal of job seekers and job givers
  • There is also a need to have a single integrated portal wherein all data of job seekers as well as job givers is available and regularly updated which will go a long way in augmenting matchmaking and placement of trained youth.

Facts and figures:


    • According to the National Policy for Skill Development, more than 54 per cent of India’s population is below 25 years of age and 64 per cent is aged between 15 and 59 years.
    • India has a total workforce of about 52 crores out of which 49 percent are employed in agriculture, however, their contribution is only 15 per cent of the GVA.
    • The Labour force Participation Rate for persons 15 years or above is nearly 49.8 per cent.
    • The unemployment rate, defined as the percentage of unemployed person in the labour force, was 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 and if, one considers unemployment as a percentage of the population, around 2.2 per cent of the total population was unemployed as per latest NSSO survey in 2017-18.
    • The unemployment rate among youth has increased over the years. During 2004-05 to 2011-12, the unemployment rate among rural youth was much higher as compared to that in the overall population.
    • On the skill development front, the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labour is one of the causes of increasing unemployment rates among youth.
    • 83 per cent of the workforce is engaged in the unorganised sector.
  1. As per NITI Aayog’s report, strategy for New India@75, skill development plans and strategies should be developed by geography and sector mapping the availability of infrastructure and on the basis of assessing skill requirements both at the national and state levels.
  2. The report also posits that an Overseas Employment Promotion Agency should be set up at the national level under the Ministry of External Affairs, in line with international standards.
  3. The report also states that to address the requirement of skilled workers in the unorganised sector, scaling up RPL is required under the PMKSY, using bridge training, apprenticeship, dual training, work-based learning and advanced courses.
  4. It should be made compulsory for Industry stakeholders to publish their vacancy details through the National Career Centres with some incentives given to industries, which are hiring trainees of flagship schemes like PMKVY and DDU-GKY.
  5. Training capacities of trainer in training institutes need to be upgraded to ensure the availability of qualified trainers. Trainers’ training centres should be established in each of the districts of India.
  6. MSDE should have a single regulatory body with branches in all states to lay down minimum standards for all players in the skilling system like training providers, assessors, etc.
  7. Centralised MIS should be there to provide information on skill development on all types of short-term training programmes implemented by various departments, ministries and institutes.
  8. Internship in industries is quite important as both the employer and trainee understand each other’s requirements. So, more emphasis should be given on increasing interactions between industry and trainees.
  • NSSO indicates that the worker population ratio for females in the rural sector was 24.8 in 2011-12 and 54.3 for males. In the urban sector, the ratio is 14.7 for females and 54.6 for males.
  • Female participation in the labour force has remained lower than male participation as women account for most of the unpaid work. Poor participation ratio of women in the labour force gets repeated in the poor ratio of participation of women in skill development courses.
  • Mainstreaming gender roles by skilling women in non-traditional roles and increasing gender sensitivity in the workplace will have a catalytic effect on productivity and can be a smart economic decision.
  • Skill development for employability can be used as an agent of change in promoting women’s employment.
  • Skill development initiatives under MSDE need to work in synergy with policies of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).

India needs more women entrepreneurs because of the following reasons:

    • Economic growth: Women can start a new business that caters to a different market or niche than their male counterparts. Enabling women benefits future generations because women tend to spend more time on their children’s education and health, which in turn boosts productivity.
    • Narrowing gender gap: Women entrepreneurs inspire other women to start business leading to job creation for women, which ultimately helps in bridging the gender gap in the workforce. Narrowing the gender gap in employment will increase global income.
    • Company culture and safety at the workplace: Creating and preserving a strong positive company culture is a pre-requisite for the growth and long term success of any company. Studies show that a women-led company tend to have a better company culture, high values and transparency.

  1. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
  • This scheme aims to offer 10 million Indian youth meaningful industry-relevant, skill-based training. Under this scheme, the trainees are offered a financial reward and a government certification on successful completion of training and assessment.
  • The scheme is implemented through NSDC and is applicable to any candidate of Indian nationality.
  1. Apprenticeship Training Scheme (ATS)
  • There are five categories of apprentices namely- trade apprentice, graduate, technician, and optional trade apprentice. Monthly stipend is paid to candidates by the employer.
  1. Craftsmen Training Scheme
  • Training courses under this are being offered through a network of 15,042 government and private Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) located all over the country. The scheme is implemented through Directorate General of Training. Candidates with a minimum age of 14 years can apply under this scheme with no upper limit.
  1. Skill Development Initiatives (SDIs)
  • The SDIs aims to provide vocational training courses to develop skilled manpower for the industry since 2007. The scheme provides vocational training to school dropouts, existing workers, ITI graduates, etc. to improve their employability by optimally utilising the infrastructure available in government, private institutions and the industry.
  1. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
  • NSDC operates through partnerships with multiple stakeholders in developing and evolving the skilling ecosystem. The main objectives of this scheme are:
    • Upgrade skills to international standards through significant industry involvement and develop a necessary framework for standards, curriculum and quality assurance.
    • Enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives for skill development through appropriate Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models.
    • Prioritize initiatives that can have a multiplier or catalytic effect as opposed to one-off impact.
  1. National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
  • The vision of the policy is to create an ecosystem of empowerment by skilling on a large scale and to promote a culture of innovation based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country.
  • The policy seeks to bridge existing skill gaps, promote industry engagement, operationalise a quality assurance framework, leverage technology and promote greater opportunities for apprenticeship training.
  1. Skill India Mission
  • The mission was developed under the aegis of the MoSDE to create convergence across sectors and states in terms of skill training activities and to achieve the vision of ‘Skilled India’. The move enables the modernisation of ITIs with respect to the curriculum, pedagogy, technology and infrastructure of state-run ITIs by corporate India.
  • Skill Development Training through Science & Technology (STST): aims at development through training intervention by developing special curricula and creation of models for offbeat and innovative skill areas. The main objective of STST is to demonstrate that skills can be developed through the application of Science and Technology in order to harness the resources of S&T infrastructure of the country, which have so far remain underutilised.
  • Student Start-up NIDHI Award

     It aims to take forward student innovations in New Generation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre to the commercialization stage and accelerate the journey of idea to prototype by providing initial funding assistance.


They are institutional linked facilities promoted by the Department of Science and Technology to nurture innovative and technologically-led new ventures during the initial and critical period i.e. the start-up phase.  The primary aim is to tap innovations and technologies for venture creation by utilising expertise and infrastructure already available with the host institution.

  • Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)

      This is an exclusive scheme for women with the mandate to bring gender parity in S&T through gender mainstreaming. The programme is aimed at providing opportunities to women scientists who had a break in their career primarily due to family responsibilities.

  • Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research- AWSAR

     It aims to disseminate Indian research stories among the masses in an easy to understand and interesting format. It has been initiated by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC).

    • A skill development culture needs to be built from bottom to top. It should be integrated within the education system wherein students at school and college levels master at least one job skill and gain certification of proficiency.
    • Skill Development and Entrepreneurship training for women is imperative for narrowing the gender gap, enriching the future generation and empowering women. Exposure is necessary for women entrepreneurs to move from traditional fields of employment towards new-age business ideas and skills.
    • It is important that skill development needs to be amalgamated with new innovations and technology. New-age skills such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, Data science should be promoted to prepare the country’s youth for future advancement and explore unchartered territories of S&T for faster, sustainable and inclusive development of people.
    • Going by the government-supported studies that estimate an incremental human resource requirement of 103.4 million during 2017-2022 across various sectors, India’s Skill India Mission will need to keep the momentum going to achieve its ambitious growth targets.
    • There is a definitive and very important role of Skill development in health service delivery, which contributes to improved health outcomes, women empowerment, job creation and economic growth and development. The return on the investment in health sector skill development is clearly high and desirable.

India has made huge progress in the field of skilling, but keeping in mind its huge potential and a large number of people to be skilled, sustained and innovative efforts in right earnest involving all stakeholders is the need of the hour. For India to become the skill capital of the world, skilling of rural India assumes great importance as it would also enhance employability, employment and entrepreneurial activity in rural areas, where the majority of the population still resides.

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