(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Skill development: A way forward [FEBRUARY-2020]

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Skill development: A way forward


Skill development: A way forward


  • The National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 mentions that more than 54 per cent of India’s population is below 25 years of age and 62 per cent of India’s population is aged between 15 and 59 years. This demographic dividend is expected to last for the next 25 years.
  • The policy also says that the average age of the population in India is 29 years as against 40 years in USA, 46 years in Europe and 47 years in Japan. Labour force in the industrialized world is expected to decline by 4 per cent, while in India it will increase by 32 percent.
  • The demographic advantage of India in a real sense can be transformed into demographic dividend by imparting right skills to the youth in tune with the current and future skills in demand.

Workforce breakup in India:

  • India has a total workforce of about 52 crore out of which 49 per cent are employed in agriculture, however, their contribution is only 15 per cent of the GVA (Gross Value Added). In China only 21 percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture.2 Growth has often been highest insectors that are relatively capital intensive, such as automobiles and pharmaceuticals.
  • There is a need to increase the pace of generating good quality jobs to cater to the growing workforce, their rising aspirations and to absorb out-migration of labour from agriculture.
  • By some estimates, the Indian economy will need to generate nearly 70 lakh jobs annually to absorb the net addition to the workforce. Considering the shift of labour force from low productivity employment, 80-90 lakh new jobs will be needed in the coming years.

Globalisation effect in market:

  • Globalisation, growing domestic market, automation and adoption of new technologies like AI, Robotics and Internet of Things by various segments of the economy have significantly impacted skills in demand.
  • Though there has been a significant focus on skill development, the employability of skilled manpower has remained a big challenge. As per India Skills Report 2019, the employability of final year students of ITIs and polytechnic has declined in recent years and Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) and IT courses have the highest employability rates.
  • Lack of focus on industry linkages and core employable skills were the main reasons for the downturn in employability. This is corroborated by the fact that engineering courses which are linked with industries or corporates have higher employability rates.
  • The report also revealed that around 43 per cent of engineers from various institutes across the country had remained unemployed. In such a situation, skill development needs to be more comprehensive by including industry alliances for internship and employable skills within its ambit.

Labour Force Participation Rate:

  • Aim of any skill development programme is to reduce unemployment and make a higher percent of population economically active.
  • Labour Force Participation Rate is one of the key indicators, which explains the conditions of labour market and the extent of population that is economically active.
  • The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is defined as the percentage of persons in the labour force among the persons in the population. LFPR for the persons 15 years or above was nearly 49.8 per cent.
  • The LFPR for persons of age 15-29 years was 38.2 per cent in 2017-18. LFPR had declined over the years by 5-6 per cent from 2011-12 to 2017-18. Workforce including the persons who worked for a relatively long part of a year constituted around 34.7 per cent in the year 2017-18.
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR) in India had also decreased from around 42.3 per cent in 1977-78 to 34.7 per cent in 2017-18. WPR during 2017-18 for the persons of age 15-29 years was 31.4 per cent.
  • Sector-wise employment status as per the NSSO survey reveals that there has been reduction in persons engaged in agriculture. The proportion of rural male workers engaged in agricultural activities fell from 59.4 per cent in 2011-12 to 55 per cent during 2017-18.

Proportion of workers:

  • The proportion of workers in rural areas engaged in manufacturing sector, trade, hotel and restaurant, transport, storage and communication has increased as per the NSSO’s latest report.
  • With the advent of government focus on infra-sector, there has been structural shift of employment from agriculture to non-farm sector like construction, trade and transport.
  • In addition to this, introduction of advanced automation technology has given boost to growth of information technology and business process outsourcing sectors.
  • These sectors are expected to provide employment to many trained youth provided that they acquire the skills to meet the changing needs.
  • Supply of appropriately skilled manpower is a necessary condition for reducing unemployment, meeting the aspirations of youth, increasing productivity and remuneration. On the skill development front, the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labour is one of the causes for increasing Unemployment Rates among youth.
  • NSSO defined technical education as a degree in engineering, medicine, agriculture, etc., or a diploma/certificate in agriculture, engineering/ technology, medicine, craft, etc. In India around 97.30 per cent of persons of age 15 years and above had no technical education and around 2 percent of persons of age 15-59 years had received formal vocational training. The percent of persons of age 15-59, who received non-formal vocation training were 6.1per cent.
  • This implies that around 8.1per cent of persons aged 15-59 had received vocational training by the year 2017-18. In terms of sector specific vocational training, the NSSO report has mentioned that a higher percentage of persons of age 15-59 had received vocational training in IT-ITES, beauty and wellness, textiles and handlooms, healthcare and life sciences, etc.

Way forward:

  • As per NITI Aayog’s report, strategy for New India@75, skill development plans and strategies should be developed by geography and sector by mapping the availability of infrastructure and on the basis of assessing skill requirements both at the national and state levels. Talukas/districts should be required to provide the information required for such mapping.
  • In addition to this, Panchayat should be a geographical entity to mobilise rural youth for skill development and training programmes in a formal manner and Panchayat office should maintain a database on skill requirements after counselling rural youth. Employment and skill counselling centres should be established in each Panchayat. If possible, the Government should establish skill training centres at the Panchayat level in PPP mode on a long-term basis.
  • It should be made compulsory for Industry stakeholders to publish their vacancy details through the National Career Centres with some incentives given to industries, which are hiring trainees of flagship schemes like PMKVY and DDU-GKY.
  • Training capacities of trainers in training institutes need to be upgraded to ensure the availability of qualified trainers. Trainers training centres should be established in each of the districts of India. The training centres in addition to providing training should conduct training to upgrade the training skills of trainers. The training centres for trainers should have labs equipped with advanced tools and technology.
  • Trainers training should include a relevant industry exposure component in the course work. Master trainers may be selected from reputed industries to train the trainers.
  • MSDE should have a single regulatory body with branches in all states to lay down minimum standards for all players in the skilling system like training providers, assessors, etc., and to issue NSQF aligned certificates.
  • Centralised MIS should be there to provide information on skill development on all types of short-term training programmes implemented by various departments, ministries, institutes and other organisations.
  • MSDE should issue guidelines to the TSPs regarding training centre locations and selection of job roles through state level officials and TSP should obtain clearance from labour department prior to starting the training programmes. More emphasis should be given to link the labour department with skill development missions at the state/district level. The Labour department should generate demand for skilled manpower and coordinate accordingly with the skill development functionaries.
  • NITI Aayog’s report, Strategy for New lndia@75 states that to address the requirement of skilled workers in the unorganised sector, scaling up RPL is required under the PMKVY, using bridge training, apprenticeship, dual training, work-based learning and advanced courses. In addition to scaling RPL, there should be a focus on the identification of transferable skills.
  • NITI Aayog’s report, Strategy for New lndia@75, also posits that an Overseas Employment Promotion Agency should be set up at the national level under the Ministry of External Affairs, apart from working with the MSDE to train and certify Indian workers keen on overseas employment, in line with international standards.
  • Internship in industries is quite important as both the employer and trainee understand each other’s requirements. So, more emphasis should be given on increasing interactions between industry and trainees.

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Courtesy: Kurukshetra