Strengthening the skill component among the employable youth is one of the biggest components contributing towards the country’s economy. Rajasthan has been one of the first states in the country to set up a Skill Mission. Kartik Sharma and Sreetama Datta of Elets News Network (ENN) assess how Rajasthan has pioneered in building a skilled and empowered youth vis a vis human resource for the country.
Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of our nation’s economic growth and social development. India has been facing severe shortages of well trained and skilled workers. India is the most dynamic and youngest economy across the world, for foreign investments and to cater the same we will need trained and educated, and niche workforce in diverse sectors.
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. Our workforce readiness is one of the lowest in the world and a large chunk of skill impartment infrastructure is redundant to the industry needs. To address these challenges, Ministry of Skill Development, Employment and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is being instrumental in creating an ecosystem of coordination of all skill development efforts across the country.
MSDE also aims to remove disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower. The Ministry not only imparts the necessary skills but also aims to develop innovative thinking for existing jobs as well as the jobs that would be created.
Rajasthan has been one of the first states in the country to set up a Skill Mission, Rajasthan Mission on Livelihoods (RMoL) in 2004 for skill development in the state, which has been rechristened as Rajasthan Mission on Skill and Livelihoods in 2009-10.
In a bid to improve the employability index among the youth of the state, Department of Skills and Employment and Entrepreneurship (DSEE), Rajasthan has conceptualised and implemented various schemes which are essential to equip and empower the youth with more and more job opportunities. Talking about the initiatives of the Department, Ashok Chandna, Minister of Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship; Sports & Youth Affairs, Government of Rajasthan says, “As we know, employment and skilling are interlinked, and unemployment is the most critical and reason for frustrating among youth of the State. Therefore a lot more needs to be done. On the skilling and employment front, since taking up the charge this year, I have been trying to strengthen skilling avenues for the youth and to link it with employment opportunities.”
AREAS OF CHALLENGE
India currently faces a severe shortage of well-trained, skilled workers. It is estimated that only 2.3 percent of the workforce in India has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68 percent in the UK, 75 percent in Germany, 52 percent in USA, 80 percent in Japan and 96 percent in South Korea. Large sections of the educated workforce have little or no job skills, making them largely unemployable. Therefore, India must focus on scaling up skill training efforts to meet the demands of employers and drive economic growth.
MSDE mentions that India’s annual skilling capacity was estimated at approximately 7 million during the period 2013-2014. Apart from meeting its own demand, India has the potential to provide a skilled workforce to fill the expected shortfall in the ageing developed world.
“In a bid to improve the employability index among the youth of the state, Department of Skills and Employment and Entrepreneurship (DSEE), Rajasthan has conceptualised and implemented various schemes which are essential to equip and empower the youth with more and more job opportunities.”
The Ministry further states, “The enormity of India’s skilling challenge is further aggravated by the fact that skill training efforts cut across multiple sectors and require the involvement of diverse stakeholders such as: multiple government departments at the centre and state levels, private training providers, educational and training institutions, employers, industry associations, assessment and certification bodies and trainees. All these stakeholders need to align their work together in order to achieve the target of ‘SkillIndia’.”
A Nasscom report states that about 40 percent of India’s total workforce has to be re-skilled over the next five years to cope with the emerging technology trends like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
RSLDC – ARCHITECT FOR SKILLED AND EMPLOYABLE YOUTH
Rajasthan Mission on Skill and Livelihoods was converted into corporation in the year 2012, and was further rechristened as Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation (RSLDC). RSLDC currently operates by employing multipronged strategies to engage stakeholders from industries, training institutes, education sector, associations and government bodies with various active Skill Development Centres.
Naveen Jain, Chairman, RSLDC, who is also the Secretary, Labour, Skill, Employment & Entrepreneurship, Factory & Boiler Inspection & Medical & Health Services (ESI), shares the objectives of RSLDC as:
- Establishing skill development centres in different parts of the state with the help of government agencies and private training partners.
- Connecting the youth either to placement or self-employment once skill training has been given.
- Analysing the skill demand and supply gaps by having constant interactions with industries and working for those skills which are going to be in high demand in the future.
- RSLDC works as a centralised nodal agency. If any other department wants to implement some skill training programmes, they don’t need to set up their own infrastructure. They can transfer their budget to RSLDC and the corporation can arrange training programmes according to the objectives of that department.
Mukta Arora, DGM, RSLDC says, “Every year 8 to 10 million youth enter the working age population in India. This may appear as a huge opportunity, but it also poses a threat of a demographic disaster unless and until it is timely addressed by making youth employable at the same pace as they are penetrating into the job market. Rajasthan seeks to provide employment opportunities to 1.5 million youth in five years. RSLDC has acknowledged these gaps and have designed platforms to enable to take care of the ground realities.”.
RAJASTHAN REACHING OUT TO WEAKER SEGMENTS OF SOCIETY
DSEE has laid special emphasis in ensuring last-mile connectivity to every segment of the society. In an attempt to ensure last-mile reach, the DSEE is laying special emphasis on providing Skill training to women, transgenders, Persons with Special Abilities, juveniles, inmates of the correctional homes, LTV PAK Migrants and other such special and untapped segments of the society, thus empowering them with quality training and placement opportunities.
Samit Sharma, Managing Director, RSLDC says, “Having visualised the dream of creating ‘Skill Rajasthan’ and with an aim of generating numerous job opportunities for the youth, the Rajasthan Mission on Livelihoods (RMOL) was set up way back in 2004. Since then, Skills has come a long way. Now with streamlined support from the Central Government through the National Skill Development Corporation and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Skills has become a buzzword among the training partners as well as the masses.”
INTEGRATING IT WITH SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
In a bid to create transparency in the skill imparting ecosystem and also to mobilise the youth towards registering and participating in the skill training sessions, RSLDC and DSEE are heavily deploying Information Technology.
“RSLDC currently operates by employing multipronged strategies to engage stakeholders from industries, training institutes, education sector, associations and government bodies with various active Skill Development Centres.”
Some of the IT and ICT initiatives include Integrated Scheme Management Systems (ISMS), Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS), Online Skill Calendar, Livelihood portal etc.
According to Chandna, DSEE and RSLDC are leaving no stone unturned to achieve this through proper coordination of all skill development efforts across the State; building the vocational and technical training framework; skill up-gradation; building of new skills; and innovative thinking not only for existing jobs but also jobs that are to be created. .
Stating the importance of soft skills, Jain says, “We will have a flexi-course containing three components:
- English speaking
- Basic knowledge of IT
- Personality development
In this flexi-course, youths can choose either English or IT or personality development or all three or any of three.
Another area that has been taken up is blue collar entrepreneurship. We believe that ideas can come to anybody; it is not limited only to B. Tech students or highly technical people. It has been decided that RSLDC will prepare a project proposal that would be presented to the state government in the next budget (2020). If everything goes right, we will convince the government to take certain measures to encourage the incubation of ideas coming from the youths of ITI or from the RSLDC skill centres.
The other initiatives are to provide coaching to the youth who aim to join the Army or Police and to aid in the overseas placement process. Sharing message for the youth, Jain says, “The youth in Rajasthan has to understand that these days, some knowledge of the English language, IT skills, and personality development traits are necessary. Your body language is important; your behavior towards the women in the office has to be very good because any wrong gesture may land you into trouble. The youth today has to understand that if they struggle for the coming four to five years of their life, the next 50 years of their life can be turned into something beautiful. So my message to the youth is – try to struggle and adapt yourself to the new conditions.”