The huge mismatch between education, employability and employment has been staring in the face of the country since the last 40 years now.
The country had more than 70 odd programs on skill development being run across 29 states through 21 different ministries. Each one had their own norms and outcomes and tracking mechanism. The multiplicity of these initiatives had diffused the impact that Skill Development could have had for the youth of India. There was no rationalisation of the process and system and the training were never outcome focused. There was limited emphasis on mapping of the skilled workforce that was required across sectors.
There have been no focused efforts towards streamlining entities working in the skill ecosystem. The country stood on the global map with the maximum number of people in the employable age-group (population between 15-60 years); waiting for some synergies to happen.
The first and foremost step that the current incumbent government took in shaping the skills landscape was the creation of a separate Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship which in the last one year has invested heavily, on restructuring and re-energising the skill ecosystem in the country. It has made some significant efforts in ensuring coordination and convergence across all initiatives and schemes that were active in the skill ecosystem.
The year 2014 saw the launch of Skill India, lead by the newly created Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), to leverage the potential of India’s aspiring youth by equipping them with the skills required to acquire sustainable livelihoods. In just 15 months MSDE has made great strides in streamlining and reinvigorating India’s skilling ecosystem. MSDE’s journey and its key achievements to date are detailed below.
I. The birth of India’s first Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
India’s challenge is immense. 54% of India’s population is below 25 years of age and over 62% of the population is the working-age group. Over 109 million incremental human resources will be required in India alone, across 24 key sectors by the year 2022. Yet, only 4.69% of the Indian population has undergone formal skills training. The lack of coordinated action dedicated to addressing the above challenges, has left India far behind, with India’s demographic dividend on the verge of transforming into a demographic nightmare.
The newly elected government created India’s first Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in July 2014 under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to rapidly address the above challenges. This Department became the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in November 2014 with Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy inducted as Minister. MSDE’s was given the mandate of leading India’s skill development and entrepreneurship agenda, at speed and scale, while ensuring quality outcomes. Though this step was taken 68 years too late, MSDE has made excellent progress in just 15months.
II. Key Challenges: Cementing a Fractured Ecosystem
In November 2014, India’s skilling ecosystem was highly fragmented.21 Central government Ministries and departments were implementing over 50 skill training programmes, operating in silos. Conflicting norms between schemes, poor monitoring mechanisms, varying assessment and certification systems and the absence of a coherent vision of success, limited the effectiveness of these initiatives. Further, the government vocational training ecosystem, led by the Directorate of Training (DGT) under the Ministry of Labour was entirely divorced from the private skill training ecosystem system created by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). Entrepreneurship and vocational training were separated from each other. Therefore, MSDE, as the lead Ministry for skill training and entrepreneurship and was tasked with coordinating, steering and ensuring coherence within this fractured ecosystem.
MSDE’s first step was to connect the different elements of the ecosystem together. Two verticals from DGT (Training and Apprenticeship), were transferred to MSDE in April 2015. Further, two major Entrepreneurship Development Institutes, were also shifted under MSDE, from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises.
With the bulk of Skill training and Entrepreneurship efforts now firmly under its ambit, MSDE made three crucial policy interventions, focussed on articulating an overarching vision for skill development in India, and ensure coordination, coherence and consistency of all skill training efforts across the country.
III. Policy Interventions: A Clear Policy Framework for Skilling Established for the first time in India
· India’s First National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 created to rejuvenate India’s skill ecosystem: The Policy articulates an overarching framework for skilling at scale and speed while ensuring high quality outcomes.
· India’s first National Skill Development Mission launched in July 2015 to coordinate and Scale up Skilling Efforts. The Mission seeks to converge, coordinate, implement and monitor skilling activities on a pan-India basis.
· Common Norms for skill development schemes across India notified to ensure standardisation: In November 2014, there were 52 programs running across different Ministries, each of which had their own training norms and standards. To ensure standardisation and consistency in the structure of skill training initiatives across India, Common Norms forall skill development programmes across Central Ministries/Departments were notified on 15 July 2015, after extensive Inter-Ministerial Consultations
· Operationalisation of National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) in progress: The NSQF was created to ensure consistency in measuring the outcomes of skill training. Over 1461qualifications from both the NSDC and ITI ecosystems have been already been aligned to NSQF. By December 2016, all government skill training programmes will be NSQF aligned.
These three initiatives were formally launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 15 July 2015, on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day. India now has a robust policy framework for skilling and entrepreneurship, for the very first time.
MSDE’s took its mandate as the nodal agency for skill training, a step forward by translating its policy framework into a coherent programme of action, to deliver results on the ground. These are detailed below.
IV. Programme Interventions: Implementing a Coherent Programme of Action to catalyse Skilling Across India:
MSDE’s programme interventions are guided by the principles of Speed, Scale and Quality – which have been addressed simultaneously in each of the initiatives mentioned below.
· MSDE’s Flagship Scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana (PMKVY) launched, Over 18 lakh youth enrolled to date: PMKVY, an outcome-focused, rewards based scheme seeks to provide fresh training to 14 lakh youth and train 10 lakh through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). More than 18 lakhyouth have been enrolled in fresh training programmes, of which over 10 lakh have completed training.
· Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) Ecosystem Revitalised: Some of the key achievements include:
o 1,141 new ITIs with 1.73 lakh seats have been added in past one year.
o 15,000 instructors have been trained by Central Institutes of Directorate General of Training (DGT).
o Distance learning infrastructure created and over 18000 trainers trained.
o Capacity Building training of Government ITI Principals conducted at various
o Monitoring Mechanisms Strengthened through Web-based MIS Portal hosted atwww.ncvtmis.gov.in - a one-stop information source for all Government as well as Private Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs)..
· Private Skill Training Ecosystem Catalysed through National Skill Development Corporation:NSDC partners have skilled 27.80 lakh people and placed around 12 lakh people through its ecosystem in the last one year. NSDC funded partners have trained over 65.46 lakh students, till date.
· Entrepreneurship Initiatives Scaled up: National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) has already covered 2,00,885 trainees.
Making Skills Aspirational through Participation in World Skills Competitions: India participated inThe World Skills Competition (held in in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August 2015) - the Olympics of Skills and came out with flying colours, winning 8 medallions of excellence in Beauty Therapy, Welding, Graphic Design Technology, Prototype Modelling, Jewellery Design, Plastic Die Engineering. .
Apprenticeship Training scaled up through the modification of the Apprenticeship Act in December 2014. As far back as 1975, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had made changing the legal regime for apprenticeship a public policy priority in her 20-point programme for governance. But for 40 years, the law that required every employer to have apprentices and prescribes stiff penalties including jail terms for those who violate its tenets, had remained unchanged.
· Comprehensive amendments to Apprentices Act 1961 made with effect from 22nd December 2014. Act has been made more responsive to industry and youth. Employers can now engage up to 10% of its total workforce as apprentices. The number of apprentices in the country has increased from 2.70 lakh to 3.10 lakh in the past one year.
V. Achieving Scale and Quality: An Agenda for the Way Forward
· Scaling Up: Some of the proposed initiatives to scale up existing skill training initiatives include:
o 7000 new it is to be opened in the next one year
o Two new Apprentice Training Institutes for Women to be set up in Haryana and Uttarakhand.
o 27 new Advanced Training Institutes (ATI) under PPP mode set up for Training of Trainers throughout the country.
o 1500 Multi Skill Training Institutes (MSTIs) to be established with active participation of Industries/Private partners
o Model Skill Centres to be established in every district of India, to provide access to high quality, aspirational skill training opportunities for short-term courses across the country.
o Two new World Bank Projects have been approved to scale up skill development in the country. This includes the Skills Strengthening For Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) project to revitalize the ITI ecosystem and Skill Training for Employability leveraging Public Private Partnership (STEPPP), which will be implemented in mission mode through World Bank support to achieve the objectives laid down in the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM).
· Enhancing Quality and Ensuring Consistency
o A National Board for Skills Assessment and Certification will be established to ensure quality and consistency of skill training qualifications. The Board will combine industry-led SSC certification processes and government authorized NCVT certification and will act as a one stop shop for examinations, assessments and awarding national level certificates in compliance with NSQF, for skill development courses in the country.
In its first year, MSDE has dynamically consolidated the skill ecosystem and made important strides towards revitalizing India’s skill training ecosystem.