The initiatives under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship are focused towards inclusivity of all groups of people. Under PMKVY 2016-2020, more than 40 percent all trained are women. Multiple special projects specifically focused on the needs of women have been implemented across India, says K P Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill, Development, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, in an interview with Sreetama Datta and Shivani Babbar of Elets News Network (ENN).
What are the major focus areas of the Ministry of Skill, Development, Employment and Entrepreneurship?
Ministry for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) focusses on enhancing employability of the youth through skill development. Since its formation, MSDE has been working to provide fillip to all skill development efforts across the country through removal of disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower, building the vocational and technical training framework, skill up-gradation and building capacities for new age skills among others. The Ministry is continually working to achieve the objectives of Skill India Mission with Scale, Speed and Quality. It is aided in these initiatives by its functional arms – National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and 38 Sector Skill Councils (SSCs); training partners registered with NSDC as well as Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) Centres.
What are the recent initiatives taken by the Department? Who are the major stakeholders for whom these initiatives would be relevant?
Programmes such as PMKVY 2.0, Apprenticeship and Jan Sikhshan Sansthan (JSS), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) and Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) have not only been streamlined to achieve scale with quality but also to build the capacities at multiple levels to meet the skill demand and aspirations of the youth. More than 70 lakh youths have benefitted from PMKVY 2.0 and we have already started working on the next version of the Scheme which shall incorporate the learnings of the past to provide more holistic skilling avenues to the youth of the country.
Apprenticeship is another area where we are very actively collaborating with employers and State Governments to significantly increase the enrolment of apprentices in the country. We recently amended the Apprenticeship Rules in 2019 to make it more employer driven and attractive and simpler for the establishments. Multiple rounds of workshops have been done with the stakeholders including CPSUs to disseminate and encourage apprenticeship in the country. Similarly, the ITI ecosystem is also in consolidation phase wherein a lot of emphasis is being given to expand the coverage and increase quality. The total number of Industrial Training Centres (ITIs) increased from 11,964 in 2014 to 14,693 in 2018-19 with trainee enrolment increasing from 16.90 lakh to 23.08 lakh during the period. Far reaching institutional reform is being brought about by merging the existing skill regulatory bodies – National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). NCVET’s primary role would be to assure the quality of training services delivered in the VET sector in the country through the effective regulation of recognised bodies and Qualifications.
How is it ensured that there is to ensure an all-inclusive delivery of these initiatives across demographic dividend?
The initiatives under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship are focused towards inclusivity of all groups of people. Under PMKVY 2016-2020, more than 40 percent all trained are women. Multiple special projects specifically focused on the needs of women has been implemented across India.Similarly, the National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) was jointly launched by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability (DoPWD) on 21st March, 2015. The Plan envisages skill training of 25 lakh persons over seven years. Training Centres are continuously being encouraged to become PwD friendly. Additional incentives have been provided for PwD candidates in the form of enhanced conveyance support, increased cost of training, transportation cost and support for assistive aids.
“Far reaching institutional reform is being brought about by merging the existing skill regulatory bodies – National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET). NCVET’s primary role would be to assure the quality of training services delivered in the VET sector in the country through the effective regulation of recognised bodies and Qualifications.”
A cross-functional unit for Affirmative Action has been set up at NSDC to focus on projects for Persons with Disability (PwD), Women, SC, ST, Minority and other marginalized communities. A special Skill Council for Persons with Disability (SCPwD) was also formed in October 2015 for cross sectoral alignment and development of curricula in line with special needs of PwD candidates.
As per various reports, the Indian youth do not meet the employability criteria. What is your take on this?
In India, there exists a skill gap at two levels. On the one hand, there is the educated labour force that are not able to find employment matching their aspirational levels due to the mismatch in the skill sets sought by the employers. On the other hand, we see the low education/skill levels of the labour force leading to skill gaps in jobs that require skilled workforce. According to the Labour Bureau (2014) the current size of India’s formally skilled workforce is only two per cent. Recent studies have indicated that employers found just about 25 percent of Indian professionals ‘employable’ in the organised sector (NITI Aayog 2015). Nearly 82 percent of the workforce is in the informal sector with no formal training and primarily on-the-job learning. The question, therefore, is not only of fresh skilling but also of up-skilling / re-skilling the existing workforce to boost their employability in a labour market where job profiles keep changing with technological advancement.
However, skilling this huge labour force is a challenge given the very dynamic work environment, high proportion of school-dropouts, huge informal workforce, poor quality of training in the past etc. The task therefore involves effective measures to meet the skilled manpower requirement of the high growing sectors, increased investment in training infrastructure, ensuring that in the informal sector, skills that have been acquired informally are recognised and certified through recognition of prior learning to facilitate the transition to the formal sector. The imperative of developing skills to reap the demographic advantage and providing decent jobs to all has led to several programmes that have been introduced at the national as well as state level.
What are the major challenges faced by the Ministry and what are the ways taken to mitigate those?
Given the nature of Indian economy, more than 80 percent of our workforce is in the informal sector mostly working with low level of skill sets and limited avenues for skilling/ re-skilling and up-skilling. At MSDE, we are cognizant of this fact and that is where one of the major strategic priorities of our Vision 2025 roadmap is to “Catalyse Demand for formal skills specifically from small and informal enterprises and entrepreneurs”.
We were already facilitating the process of recognising informal skills through Recognition of Prior Learning. Multiple courses aimed towards informal and MSME sector has been developed but now we would like to take this to our next level. We are already working on a comprehensive plan for the same.
The second challenge that we face is the low aspirational value of skill development. It is still considered only a secondary alternate to general education. Our third focus is convergence, currently more than 18 Central Ministries are implementation various Skilling Schemes and programs which are sometimes targeted towards similar segments. In addition to this State Governments also do run their own skill development programmes.
How does MSDE offer support to those with an entrepreneurial bent of mind?
To promote entrepreneurship development within the country, MSDE has taken multiple initiatives, some of which are listed as follows:
• Integration of Entrepreneurship Orientation Module in ITI and PMKVY – Keeping in view the mandate of MSDE, an end to end customised entrepreneurship orientation module has been integrated under the Employability and Life Skill Course module in the PMKVY courses ensuring that every candidate undergoing skill training is oriented towards Entrepreneurship. In ITI courses, the module on Entrepreneurship is already integrated as a section in the Employability Skills Module.
“In India, there exists a skill gap at two levels. On the one hand, there is the educated labour force that are not able to find employment matching their aspirational levels due to the mismatch in the skill sets sought by the employers. On the other hand, we see the low education/skill levels of the labour force leading to skill gaps in jobs that require skilled workforce.”
• Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana (PM YUVA): PM-YUVA scheme was launched in 2017 which provided entrepreneurship education to 33,325 candidates in 239 institutes of higher learning over two years, is now being re-structured to make it relevant for the candidates emerging from skilling ecosystem (ITI, Polytechnic, PMKK, JSS and RPL trainees). Pilot programme is being conducted and revamped Project proposal of Rs 490 crore has been submitted to Ministry of Finance (Deptt. of Expenditure) for their approval and the same is awaited.
• National Entrepreneurship Awards Scheme (NEAS): NEAS was instituted by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in the year 2016-17 to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship in the country by recognising the efforts of exceptional first generation entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders i.e. to individuals and organisations supporting entrepreneurs in their entrepreneurial journey. These entrepreneurs should have established models of excellence for others to emulate and improve upon.
• Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women (WEE) – To encourage women entrepreneurship and start-up by women, MSDE has signed an agreement with Deutsceh Gesellschaft for International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on August 16, 2018 to be implemented for three years (2018 to 2021) with the objective to improve the framework conditions for women-led enterprises in India.
• The National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Noida and Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Guwahati – Both the Institutes are autonomous bodies registered under Societies Registration Act-1860 and functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The organisational structure and functions of these institutes have been restructured to align it with the mandate of the Ministry. The revised functions of the institutes now focus on providing training, mentoring, consultancy, research, etc. for entrepreneurship promotion and development.
What is your message for the youth as well as the readers of eGov magazine?
Skills and Knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. Countries with higher levels and better standards of skills adjust more effectively to the challenges in domestic and international job markets. India adds approximately 12 million people to its workforce every year. However, less than four percent are deemed employable or skilled enough to serve the needs of the organisations. To address these challenges, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in coordination with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Industry hascreated in skilling ecosystem. Through your magazine, I urge the youth of our country to join this skilling movement to make India the skilled capital of the world. Over the last four years, MSDE has been able to create the foundation for skill development in India. We have been able to create a dialogue around the importance of skills. Youth need to focus on continuous learning and lifelong learning.