Demography is the key factor in the journey of emerging Bharat. Training and skilling the youth populace is a precondition to ensure success of other schemes like ‘Make In India’, ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, etc. A new focus is an endeavour towards a structured and common development plan for Skilling.
The short tenure of the BJP Government under the stewardship of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has brought in a very large change in the external and internal factors governing our country. In the Global forum, Bharat has been positioned as a country with a stable and transparent government which is looking at growing the economy at a fast pace. Bharat is also a country that is welcoming business and investments from overseas partners and companies. Some of these investments are already taking shape in the areas of infrastructure, one E.g. being Railway (bullet train with Japan).
What’s more, the current government has also launched a slew of much needed changes in Bharat through focused schemes like— ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. And most importantly ‘Make In India’. These schemes are to encourage the Bharateeya population to participate in the growth story and become a part of the mainstream earning population.
While all this is happening, one of the key challenges facing Bharat is in the area of SKILLING. The common factor for implementing any of these schemes or growth stories within the country is its Human Resource. This Human Resource has to be Skilled and Trained to ensure that the growth story continues and provides the Bharateeya populace between the age of 18 to 35 (school and college drop-outs) with an option and opportunity to come into the mainstream and earn a livelihood. Keeping this in mind, for the first time, The Skill Ministry was formed to focus on the Human Development needs of Bharat. This is headed by an independent minister to ensure momentum and continuous growth.
While Skilling has been there in the country for a while in many shapes and forms, this new focus is trying to ensure a structure and common development plan for – Skilling. In a recent study conducted by National Skill Development Council (NSDC), the skill gap in 21 key sectors will be of nearly 240 Million people by the year 2022. Currently, the government is only able to fulfill about 35 per cent of its annual skilling target (Study by NSDC). If this gap keeps widening, even with new entrants and private players in the business of Skilling, Bharat will not be able to meet its overall projections and requirements.
One of the key attributes of this wide gap in skilling is also to understand the Skilling Eco System in the country and address the challenges that we face. Some of these challenges are:
The people who have to be skilled are at the village or district level. To ensure a certain quality of delivery, not always good infrastructure in terms of building etc. exist in that geography. One has to than take the nearest nodal point and create a proper minimum infrastructure to impart the skill training including creation of class rooms, laboratories etc.
2) Mobilisation of Candidates
This is not an easy task. A lot of candidates have apprehensions about the Skill that is being imparted and how they will use that in the job market. Here, we have to involve the local state machinery at ground level, involve the local communities and share success stories of candidates from that state or region. In fact, we invite some of the successful candidates to come and give a talk to parents and prospective candidates about the opportunities.
3) Candidate Retention
This is a large challenge. Since this is not a paid course, candidates don’t always take things seriously or for personal reasons (especially during harvesting season), they go to work in the fields, as a result many a times retaining them in the classrooms is a challenge. Also the male to female ratio of candidates in states like Haryana is a challenge (mindset that girls should not move out of the village). To overcome this we have to continuously work with the local communities.
4) Placement, Migration and Re-settlement
This is the whole purpose behind the skilling story. While we may Skill the candidates in a specific geography, it is not necessary that there is any industry in that area where we can place them. Many a times, the candidates may have to move out of the state and therefore issues such as migration and re-settlement in a new location come into play. This is the toughest part as the families have to be convinced to let their near and dear ones (who have never ventured out of the state) to go somewhere else to work. Re-settlement by training partner, accompanying them to new place of work and settling them down over there is an important part of the overall cycle.
5) Policy Focus
The government grants come with a lot of caveats. Some of these make operations difficult in specific geographies and areas and fulfillment of certain conditions discourage training partners from setting-up centers over there. If the purpose is to gainfully employ a candidate, than that has to be the central push area for everyone and not the bureaucratic challenges. Here the training partners have to work continuously with the government machinery to highlight these factors.
While these challenges are continuous, the fact still remains that in 2014-15 the government still skilled nearly 3.7 Million people. This is a step in the right direction and as we go along, a lot of these challenges of Skilling will get resolved and more and more players will participate in this process to make a lot of the other initiatives in Bharat a big Success through the SKILLING push especially in areas like – ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ etc. Bharat is well on its way to become the hub of trained manpower for the rest of the world!
K Aayushi (The writer is the Director Research, Jammu Kashmir Study Centre, Delhi)