Skill India – An Inclusive and Optimization of Resources towards achieving National Industrial Growth
By – Dhiraj Rankhambe, 14th October 2016
The article presents the current state of skills development and employability with the long term linkage of quality education right at the school level. It elaborates on various initiatives by the government in creating employable youths, while curtailing the challenges faced by the skill development sector. The demographic divide presents the scope of work, while pointing the issues of cultural inhibition towards blue collar jobs and dignity of labour. The challenges in sourcing and retention of these students through-out the skills development program. How some low hanging earning opportunities in neighboring industries and referral contract employment is one of the biggest hurdle, to pull these students for training. There is 99% enrollment in schools, but lack of quality teaching, accessibility to higher education, adaptability to changing teacher and teaching method and clarity of vocation are some of the bold reasons for school dropouts. Some strategies for the skills development organizations and governments attention to focus on some softer issues to create real and long lasting impact. The strategic role of language, English language has taken up a very crucial stage in building carrier aspirations and professional attributes. The economic growth story, will limit its reach, if the deficit of skilled workforce supply to industries continues. There are various policies and programs, boosted with financial allocation and clarity of stakeholders, application and intervention package has laid the foundation stone for new skilling movement. This also posts clear opportunity for Indian producers and foreign investors, as local labour market will always be competent and viable, due to scale. How CSR is building constructive and inclusive intervention in skill India.
Profile of Skill India Movement
India’s statistics of 1332 million population and cultural diversity is a great opportunity for skill India. The profound visionaries of our nation have taken pioneering steps in teach India, virtual connectivity and now skill India. India has 672 million population in working age, in the age group of 15 to 59 age of which 259 million are in the age group of 15 to 24 age. Youth literacy rates are 91.83% and 87.24% for male and female accordingly. Annually 12.8 million youth are entering into the employment market (GoI 2011). The social impact of having a powerhouse of educated yet frustrated youth will create a skill gap of 75-80% till 2020, if Indian don’t change the way of looking at skill development. India is moving towards high wages to skilled employment with no assurance of feasibility. Almost 90% are employed in unorganized sector of which 60% represent in contributing to GDP, but only 25% actually contribute in it. Currently India has 4.6% total workforce with formal skill training as compared to 68% in UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in USA, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea (2011-12 NSSO survey). Maharashtra is not among the top 10 states, where students prefer vocational skill development program.
In higher education the ratio of skillfulness is discouraging; only 10% MBA’s and 17% Engineering graduates of the country are employable (CII Report). So the lack of quality in school and higher education is big continuing challenge. We need to build encouraging and appreciative skilled and self servicing culture in society, Which will harness quality education. In this era of knowledge based economy, skilled and employment ready human resource is very curtailing. Various initiatives have been launched like the Skill India to improve skilled power; career centers to connect the dots in the employment zone; Make in India to create entrepreneurial capabilities and generate more employment facilities and jobs etc. The future will depend on how successfully we are able to implement these schemes.
The employability index in 2015 is 38.12% and 2014 was 37.22% which is a minor progress. The states with highest employable population are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Haryana. India is expected to create 500 million skilled work force by 2022. About 12 million persons are expected to join the working age every year. The Industry Sector which are available for these workforce is: Consumer Goods, Aviation, Tours and Travels, Hotels, Software and IT, Diversified BPO, KPO and ITES, Core Sector of Oil and Gas, Power, Steel, Minerals, Engineering and Automotive, Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Manufacturing, FMCG, Automotive and Engineering, Pharma and Healthcare Retail, e-commerce, Transport and Logistics Telecom and Allied. As per NSDC in 2014-15, 20,67,859 received skilled training of which 4,51,845 were job placed since the movement of Skill India rolled out. Interestingly, however, manufacturing employers largely favor rural youth. Large firms, including multinationals, seek rural youths who complete vocational training even in remote areas.
Indian new age industries are growing rapidly in recent years. The increase in purchasing power has resulted in new level of quality of services, though there is a growing shortage of skilled human resource in India. In the present growth scenario and changing economic environment, it is prudent to focus on inculcating and advancing culture of owing skill sets among the younger population of the country. Indian youth is the biggest strength, we need to build ‘dignity and respect for labour’ in the minds of country man. To enhance and maintain the momentum of growth story, we need to bridge the gap of urban and rural opportunity divide.
In 2014-15, the Skill Training programs reported in Maharashtra was 1,84,881 of which 1,22,754 were job placed which is highest compare to other part of the nation. While in Electrical Hardware only 439 were trained of which only 160 were job placed. The maximum influx was in sectors like Retail, e commerce, BFSI, Pharma and Telecom.
Proposition and Challenges
The biggest challenge in the Indian ecosystem lies in finding out how to make skilling program aspirational? How do you create a desire or need in the minds of people to pursue skill development programs vis-a-vis a pure educational course? Lack of jobs or a limited number of jobs, ineffectual vocational training, lack of skills, unrealistic expectations from jobs, lack of entrepreneurship, absenteeism in schools, early dropouts and countless other factors have given rise to youth unemployment. Growth in economies has not led to consequential increase in formal jobs or a youth-friendly labor market. The situation is further aggravated with an influx of youth from rural areas to populous urban centers. Manufacturing cannot become a growth driver if skilled workers continues to be the greatest constraint. The biggest bottleneck is getting the students to the classrooms and retaining them there. Government and training partners need to work together to ensure that the candidates are incentivized to attend classes through industry aligned courses, relevant training methodology, deeper connect with jobs and industry, so that they themselves can visualize there career path ahead. India faces the challenge that a vast majority of the youth joining the workforce are unskilled and unemployable. (The Economic Survey of 2014-15)
The perception of job security is stuck in getting a government or related employment and professionally being doctors or engineers. The changing trend is towards managerial and white collar jobs. The opening of new jobs in these category is demanding higher qualification, skills sets and polish attributes. The blue collar employment is still a narrow pass in acquiring meaningful employment. These 1960s and 70s mindset has tragically hamstrung efforts of skill building and most importantly the stage during school. The CBSE offers 50 vocational courses and the school management is now encouraging students to discover original or innovative talents in themselves. Before skills can be translated into gainful employment the aspirants need to poses technical skills, domain knowledge, and soft skills. The first two are a matter of training and application. The soft skills are most crucial to get the employment and retain on job. Today whether you are a car mechanic, beautician, tour guide or a taxi driver, a working knowledge of English is a force multiplier when it comes to employability. The overall skills of client management and regular enhancement in service delivery efficiency will ensure continuous returns.
The present Prime Minister has become the brand ambassador of skilling as he passionately mentions ‘Skilling India’ in all his speeches. Realizing this need the government has made provisions for upgrading skills under multiple disciplines and allocated resources across the length and breadth of the country. The ministry is taking efforts to come up with a legislation to set-up a “Skill Development University”. Further, a separate Ministry for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship has been tasked to coordinate and streamline multiple skill development initiatives undertaken by the government and other parties to build skilled and employable India. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, approved an outlay of Rs 1500 crores for the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). 11,000 ITIs and other apprentice and training divisions, which were earlier with Ministry of Labour, will now be integrated with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
Strategies and Intervention
The strategy to meet the skill development requirement of the country and empowerment of its citizens. The Finance Minister has rightly recognized the most critical aspect, which is taking a step towards effective implementation of the Right to Education Act. An increase in budgetary allocation for primary education is a long awaited requirement that been met. Another major highlight is the provision of fiscal incentives to the private sector for setting up vocational and skill development institutions. This has motivated a lot of private sector organizations to emphasize on skilling sector. With focus on self-employment as a key aspect to job creation, the Government has chalked out a plan to set up incubation centers at all districts across the country to train budding entrepreneurs. The 11th plan recommendation for creation of a comprehensive National Skill Development Mission, a Coordinated Action on Skill. The Government has initiated to revamp the antiquated Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) that will skill over 20 lakh youth annually and devise special courses based on industry needs. The larger training players also need to harness technology wherever available digital solutions, smart tools, Internet-driven delivery to achieve the required scale and maybe even for large scale mobilization.
Government should make vocational education mandatory for women who are not pursuing full time education. Jobs and hiring in India needs to shift from being ‘qualification based’ to ‘skill based’. With ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and ‘Digital India’ schemes being rolled out by the Government, youth and especially women must be compulsorily taught to use computers and be skilled. Government also needs to take specific steps for differently-abled people and help create job opportunities for them by building relationships with employer and industry groups. If the Government can get the major chunk of the above target groups in its umbrella, the dream of empowering and transforming lives will be achieved to a great extent.
The core purpose of Skill India is to create opportunities, space and scope for the development of youth talents in India. The emphasis is to skill youths in such a way so that they get employment and also improve entrepreneurship. Provides training, support and guidance for all occupations that were of traditional type like carpenters, cobblers, welders, blacksmiths, masons, nurses, tailors, weavers etc. Special emphasis is on new areas like construction, transportation, textile, gem industry, jewellery designing, banking, tourism and various other sectors, where skill development is inadequate. It also emphasis more on those sectors which have been already put under skill development for the last so many years and also to identify new sectors for skill development.
The target group of skilling are youth who are jobless, college and school dropouts, along with the educated ones, from rural and urban areas. The National Skill Development Council has accredited skills certificate and would be recognized by all public and private agencies and entities, including overseas organizations. Skill India is a program for the entire nation. The advantages of skill development are to raise confidence, improve productivity and give direction through proper skill learning program. Skill development will enable the youths to get blue-collar jobs or start their own entrepreneurship and the soft skills enhancement to lead a proper and decent life. India’s workforce will increase by 32% in the next 20 years. India has the potential to provide skilled manpower to fill the expected shortfall across industries in the ageing world. While the surplus young workforce gives India a strategic advantage.
Skill development prepares aspirants for jobs that are based on manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic and totally related to a specific trade or occupation. As it is a short term technical education, the learner is expected to directly develop expertise in a particular trade in terms of techniques and acquaints to technology. Skill development education focuses on specific trades such as electrician, automobile mechanic, welder, mason etc. Traditionally these trades are considered as lower economic activity in the society, and has been stigmatized. Which is why aspirants being reluctant to take up inhand skilled jobs after completing a short term skill development program, and wait to get in some other job activity. These aspirants take up these jobs only because of need. It should be mandatory for the employees to invest in building their adaptability, to avoid dropouts from the acquired skills. Once they acquire experience and knowledge, the aspirant’s confidence level goes high and become ready to get associated with that skill.
We need to work on removing the stigma, building a respect for the skilled employees and abstain them from substance abuse. Alcohol, Tobacco and other substance abuse most of the time become hindrance in their carrier progression. Along with skill enhancement training we also need to equally focus on softer skills and issues. These skill development movement and recruitment drive is paving an employment growth story. To share an example, the percentage of domain wise hiring through vocational training is reported as 8.90% in 2015 as compare to 9.66% in 2016. Where as through ITI’s 13.87% hired in 2015 as compare to 13.79% in 2016. This shows the employers are ready to groom the skill trained aspirants to match with their specific job requirement and retain them. This also poses requirement challenge to the ITI completed aspirants, these short term trade specific aspirants pose challenge to 2 years course completed aspirants. It calls to elevate the ITI training quality and technical exposure even before starting apprenticeship.
CSR in Skill Development
The Company Act, 2013, and the Rules of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandate for Indian companies. The Skill Development Sector has evolved a robust framework to solicit CSR funds for skill development projects in line with the guidelines. While many private and public sector enterprises have supported vocational training programs in the past. The Act provides an opportunity to tap into these funds in a structured manner. Earlier skill development by corporates were seen as an opportunistic investment, but with the CSR provision in section 135 of the Company Act, it is now considered as Social Responsibility of Corporates.
Progressive companies are looking for ways to leverage their core strengths, such as technical expertise, process rigor, and widespread presence across the country to create sustainable social impact. There has been a strong interest in skill development since it offers companies a chance to create sustainable impact while leveraging their core technical expertise. Investing in skill development to enable access to skilled resources to the industry also provides long-term business value to the corporations and the entire industry ecosystem. Companies are increasingly creating structured skill development initiatives in their specific sectors while leveraging the ecosystem enabled by National Skill Development Council.