Despite the fact that the Indian economy has witnessed a considerable growth in the last two decades, this growth rate has not been uniform. Underemployment, low educational levels, a high rate of dropouts and lack of proper vocational training which can provide better employment opportunities, are still prevalent. The shortage of skilled workforce is evident from the discrepancies of demand and supply in the market.
According to the reports of a Boston Consulting Group, India will have a surplus of 56 million working people while the global shortage of skilled working people will be 47 million by 2020. With a ‘demographic dividend’ of more than 50% of the population within the age bracket of 25, the 11th Five Year Plan identified the potential of India emerging as an important global entity in skill development. Currently only 10% of the youth population has proper vocational training. Realizing the importance of proper vocational training and skill development programs, the 11th Five Year Plan established the PM’s National Council for Skill Development (for framing policies), the National Skill Development Coordination Board (for coordinating the various skill development programs), and finally the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA – a catalyst to enhance the skill development programs).
Later the PM’s Council and the Coordination Board had been absorbed in NSDA, which is now empowered to serve as the flagship for countrywide skill development programs undertaken by the Government. The 12th Five Year Plan outlines strategies for further improving the vocational training programs at both the Center and State levels.
Some important vocational training programs undertaken by the Government:
• CRAFTSMEN TRAINING SCHEME (CTS): Under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the CTS aim at providing vocational training to the school leavers and educated youths (so that they can meet the industrial requirements). There are separate reservations for the SC/STs, physically handicapped and women.
• MODULAR EMPLOYABLE SKILL (MES) BASED TRAINING PROGRAMS: Under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, MES has been designed specifically through consultation with the Industries and backed by the opinions of the experts in the field of vocational training. MES aims at providing a ‘minimum skill set’ that is just sufficient to gain entry in the employment sector. MES is an extremely flexible program with the objective of providing vocational training to the school leavers, ITI graduates etc., to increase their chances of employment through optimal utilization of the existing infrastructures of the Government, private sector and the industries.
• NATIONAL RURAL LIVELIHOODS MISSION (NRLM)/AAJEEVIKA: The objective of this scheme is to harness the capabilities of the rural poor population by supplementing them with knowledge, skill sets, tools and finance so that they can have proper livelihood options. The primary target of this scheme is to deliver market driven skill training to the rural BPL youths in the age bracket of 18 to 35 years and provide placement in suitable sectors.
• NATIONAL URBAN LIVELIHOOD MISSION (NULM): An integral part of the SWARNA JAYANTI SHAHARI ROZGAR YOJANA (SISRY) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, NULM’s objective is to provide the urban poor with proper vocational training so that they can undertake self-employment and increase their chances of employment in different sectors. The primary target of this project is the urban poor population below poverty line with special reservations for the SC/ST and women. A special 3% reservation is also there for the physically challenged.
• SUPPORT TO TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM (STEP): Under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, STEP aims at upgrading skills of women converting them into viable assets for employment. This program also provides placements for women and access to credit facilities. Other than that this program has a complete package of support services, awareness generation, gender sensitization, educational programs, nutrition and nutrition oriented awareness program, legal literacy including day care facilities for dependent children.
• PARVAAZ: It provides comprehensive vocational training and education program for the rural below poverty line (BPL) areas. Operating under the Ministry of Rural Development, the primary objective is to include the BPL youths, minority youths especially school dropouts/left outs in the mainstream by providing them with a platform through extensive vocational training and educational programs and employment opportunities.
• RURAL SELF EMPLOYMENT TRAINING INSTITUTES (RSETI): The main objective of the RSETIs is to provide the rural BPL youths with free and unique, intensive, short term, residential, self employment training programs, which includes free food and accommodation so that they can undertake micro enterprises and wage-based employment.
• POLYTECHNICS: Operating under the Ministry of HRD, Polytechnics provide three years diploma courses in conventional disciplines like civil, electrical and mechanical engineering and also on the emerging disciplines like electronics and computer science. The minimum eligibility is secondary level. Employment oriented curriculum is being implemented in the Polytechnics. A new plan of setting up of 300 new polytechnics is currently underway.
• TOOL ROOMS: 10 such MSME tool rooms have been set up with Indo-German and Indo-Danish collaborations. Tool Rooms offer short term courses on manufacturing of quality tools to the school dropouts to assist the MSMEs. Long term courses like ‘Post Graduate Diploma on Tool Designing and CAD/CAM’ are also available. The Tool Rooms have achieved almost 100% placement with their long term course trainees in different industries.
• UDAAN: Funded by the Ministry of Home Affairs, UDAAN is specially designed for Jammu and Kashmir, aiming at training 40,000 students in 5 years in various sectors including retail, IT and BPO.
There are other Government endeavours like ROSHNI and vocational training programs, exclusively designed for the rural youths of the Left Wing Extremism affected areas of India.
Challenges likely to be faced by the vocational training programs undertaken by the Government as per the 12th Five Year Plan:
- Expansion of the various projects in remote and difficult areas through E-Learning, Internet and simulation packages
- Setting up of vocational training centers in underdeveloped areas
- Designing market oriented projects and extensive promotion of public private partnership
- Introducing AADHAR based tracking of the beneficiaries in pre and post placement programs
- Revamping the entire Employment Exchange Network to function as an effective human resource development centers
- Increase credibility of the certification procedure and streamlining it to avoid delays in granting certificates
A strict monitoring of the funds released under various schemes and projects to ensure their proper utilization and avoiding any misappropriationThe target of the 12th Five Year Plan is to create 50 million employment opportunities in the non agricultural sector with an equivalent supply of skilled manpower by the end of the plan. As evident from the above discussions, the ball has been set rolling. The Indian Bank has formulated an educational loan scheme for the underprivileged which is planned to cover tuition fee, exam fee, caution deposits, etc. The loan amount may vary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for a course of duration of more than one year. However, a more aggressive persuasion on the part of the Government is essential to generate 50 million work opportunities at the end of the 12th Five Year Plan.
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