Effective Skilling – An Unavoidable Need

India with 18% of the world population, is the most populous country in the world. This constitutes 52% males and 48% females. Being number one in any sphere has its own challenges. Providing dignified life to a population of > 140 crores, in terms of fulfilling their needs and aspirations, if not daunting, is a task of great responsibility. Increase in population demands commensurate alignment with gross domestic product, gross national product, level of industrialization, per capita income, employment opportunities, employability skills, wide spread infrastructure, general standard of living, administrative and regulatory control.

India at present is being recognized as world’s fast-growing large economy, set to overtake Germany in very near future to attain number 3 rank. Demographic advantage is forecasted in its younger work force. Median age of 28-30 years, is estimated to stay for around two decades.

Drawing comparisons with other countries, faced with challenges of ageing population may not be of much help. We will be better off in leveraging this natural advantage towards maximizing the associated benefits. Greater weightage to the factors like employment opportunities, employability, skilling, reskilling, upskilling, inclusivity and future readiness may help us considerably.

There is no denying that our GDP growth is better amongst major economies and consistent for some time now. Perhaps there is need to realize that our per capita income, which although has grown over the past, is still far below others. Bangladesh, a much younger country has better ranking. Per capita income of a country has much to do with raising inclusive prosperity, standard of living, job opportunities and employment rate.

According to the world bank collection of developmental indicators, total work force in India in 2023 was reported to be 59.37 crores. When we talk about work force, it encompasses all persons who are working, seeking work or are unemployed or available for work, generally in the age group of >15 years and may extend up to 64 years. It covers males, females, skilled and unskilled.

According to periodic labour force survey annual report 2023 from NSSO (National sample survey office), there appears a positive trend so far as LFPR (labour force participation rate is concerned). In 2017-18 it was 49.8 % (Male-75.8, female-23.3). In 2022-23 it is 57.9 (Male-78.5, female-37.0). Same is true with WPR (worker population ratio). In 2017-18 it was 46.8 (Male-71.2, female-22). In 2022-23 it is 56 (Male-76, female-35.9).

India remains poised to take advantage of its demographic dividend. There is improvement in education levels which has increased aspirations. Any Gaps between aspirations and jobs available have potential to increase unemployment rate. Government has taken measures to facilitate job seeking through NES (National Employment Service). It operates through network of employment exchanges for regular jobs and self-employment. Rozgar Melas are held where employers from high growth sectors, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra’s (PMKK), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skill Councils (SSC) and job seekers come together for employment purpose.

For India to become HR capital of the world, skilling, reskilling and upskilling has to be multi-dimensional. It is necessary because of rapid technological changes and digitization. Continual upgradation of skills is unavoidable. Government has embarked on various schemes for skill development and employment.

To name a few: –

  • Skill India Mission. It is an autonomous body for skill training
  • Technical and vocational education training (TVET). It includes technical and soft skills
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVVY)
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra’s (PMKK)
  • Digital India- To make the country digitally empowered society and knowledge economy
  • Prime minister’s Employment Guarantee Programme (PMEGP). It is a credit linked subsidy programme for generating self-employment
  • Startup India- To build ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India
  • PLI Schemes- Production linked incentive schemes to boost output and employment
  • Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) for various business sectors– For Identification of training needs, framing curriculum for various job roles, partnering with training centers nationally and imparting core and soft skills. Objective is to enhance employability and generate job ready labour force
  • Excellence canters—Various Industries and confederations all over the country have started excellence centers for imparting advance skills and create a present and future ready work force

Suggestions that may be of some use: –

  • Our growth story needs to be employment intensive, sustainable, consistent and futuristic to contain unemployment at any stage. Healthy employment elasticity is required to be maintained
  • Skill development has to be inclusive and not restricted to high growth sectors alone
  • Skills imparted need to remain aligned to continual technological changes and high digitization. Global perspective needs to be weighed while focusing on enhanced employability
  • To create an ecosystem that encourages increased participation from Women work force
  • To create social awakening about shared responsibility at house hold level
  • Integration of Vocational training with school education.
  • Policy framers to constitute government, industries, Academia and subject experts
  • Further impetus to self-employed enterprises
  • Increase in economic Activity for more LFPR so that house hold income does not get irrationally divided and per capita income remains maintained at optimum level.
  • Monitor performance and efficacy of skill centers periodically and address the limitations
  • Review the targets given to skill centers rationally related to enrolment and employment. Ensure timely flow of funds for smooth functioning

While imparting Skills training, greater emphasis needs to be on effective learning for effective application and better employability. At this point of time, it may not be much about revenue and profits. This is valid for all government, private and joint partnership institutions. High growth and profits will automatically follow from the sectors employing such trained people.

Vijay Bhat



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