Reflections on Skill Interventions in India

Source: Government of India 

The Modi Government is trying to strengthen the skill ecosystem in India which is creating a new narrative. With help from various policy pronouncements, the government is rolling out collaborative activities with a wide range of institutions. Such activities have created a sector – skill development where everybody has something to do maybe business activities. Now India has first integrated policy on skill development and intervention like Skill India. It is evident that many of these initiatives are merely rhetoric. Impact, substantive job creation, is yet to be released.
In this backdrop, Impact News is trying to unfold various skill development initiatives in India which were part of various ministries and organisations ranging from private to public sector.
In the early nineties, the Union Government started the economic reform. After this bold policy decision, some sectors witnessed an impressive growth in a couple of years. Such growth further created a demand for skilled workforce and industries expressed their concern over unskilled lebour force. Various studies and researchers find that there is an acute shortage of skilled labour in various sectors and industries are facing the brunt of such shortage. Such situation forced the government to start new initiatives to lag the gap.

Skill development has emerged as a force for inclusive development. In the last couple of years, India underscored the importance of skill development and various players are have involved in skill development initiatives.  We must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity.  Recently released India Skill Report 2018  separated both the genders to find out the top states which have a maximum male employable pool as well as top 10 states which have a female employable pool (See the Following Exhibit).


Source: India Skill Report 2018

Types of Institutions and Entities in Skill Development: 
(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. Startups

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)
In 2014, the Government of India created a new ministry for skill development after converging all skill development initiatives in India under one National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). According to the government reckoning, out of 2.5 crores candidates who have been skilled under the MSDE programs alone, more than one crore have been trained in 2017.

National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015
Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Union Cabinet chaired by gave its approval for India’s first integrated National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015. The Policy acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for the promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy. The previous National Policy on Skill Development was formulated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2009 and provided for a review after five years to align the policy framework with emerging national and international trends. With help from the policy decision, the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 supersedes the policy of 2009.

“To create an ecosystem of empowerment by Skilling on a large Scale at Speed with high Standards 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 mission is to:

  • Create a demand for skilling across the country
  • Correct and align skilling with required competencies
  • Connect the supply of skilled human resources with sectoral demands
  • Certify and assess in alignment with global and national standards; and
  • Catalyse an ecosystem wherein productive and innovative entrepreneurship germinates, sustains and grows leading to the creation of a more dynamic entrepreneurial economy and more formal wage employment.

National Policy on Skill Development 2009
In 2009, the Union Government approved the National Policy on Skill Development. It was a first national policy on the skill development which 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 unorganised workforce.
The salient features of the Policy:

(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.

List of Union Ministries/ Organisations Prior to MSDE Inception:
National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC)
Ministry of 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

Ministry of Labour & Employment
In order to train the workforce for industry, the Union Government started Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). 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 the 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 the burgeoning economy. It offers 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 youths but there was a lack of industry linkages.


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 the 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 unorganized employment, and, traditional and contemporary workplaces. 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 Micro Small & Medium Enterprises(MoMSME)
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.

India EU Skills Development Project aims to increase the capacity of policymakers 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.

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


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