Does India Need a Serious Dose of Skills Development?

The shortage of skilled labor is costing India dearly but the remedies continue to remain uncoordinated and the aspirations of the young generation is a far cry from the everyday reality. The demographic bulge of the nation comprises of millions of young people who are supposed to flood the job market in the next few years. But the reality is quite the opposite. There is a danger of this population to slide into a downslide that will weigh us down and crumble the GDP. The reason behind the mishap? India’s obsession with textbooks and white-collar jobs.

Most Indians attempt to shy away from respectable blue-collar jobs which could guarantee them employment and a means of supporting their families. The formally educated people do not get exposed to vocational training and are doomed to get shuffled from one low-pay to another. The government as well as the private institutions must spend at least 10,000 Rs for training each individual in the right technical skills. The most modest budget also gives a bill of Rs. 530,000 crore which makes the impending challenge very obvious. 

According to the reports of the National Skill Development Corporation, a public-private relationship got finding as well as directing skilling programs can help at least 12.8 million individuals can become a part of the job market each year. 

The urgency is rising at a whopping pace and there is a lack of coordination between the skill development organization and the ministries offering different kinds of programs. When the agendas are conflicting amongst themselves the goal is becoming more far fetched. Also, there are ministries whose proposals are running parallel to each other which means there’s nobody who can be followed. 

In the first place, India is speeding against time for becoming rich. We are a paradox between the young and old as the number of old people will grow more than the young people by 2035. So, it is very important to increase the per capita income before we grow old. 

Secondly, the developed countries around the world are aging and we are still young. This offers a scope for the Indians to supply skilled manpower to countries that will have a shortage of skills. 

Thirdly, our economy is developing quite fast and becoming efficient from diverse aspects. But there is a lack of output growth due to minimized elasticity of labor to their output. Thus it has become imperative to create gainful employment opportunities for the young generation by fostering entrepreneurship.

Finally, the Indian economy also requires to surge its transition to a knowledge-oriented, innovative, and techno-led economy for increasing the per capita income rather than stagnating it at the present level. 

So, there is an urgent need for skilling the job aspirants and upskilling those who are presently at service for participating in the global economy driven by emerging innovations such as data analytics, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence among others. 

In the last couple of years, India has responded to these current trends with mixed outcomes. It cannot be accepted that the skill development agenda has been totally successful. There is still a need for building institutions, improving access of the individuals to both private and public sector institutions, and surging the training capacity. There is no sector that can survive for the long term without the policies, monitoring and operations are properly channelized. 

New policy design 

To start with, the new policy designs will have first have to pay attention to transforming the present push system in such a way so that it gets changed into a pull system. And to make this happen, a few changes will be necessary:

  • It is important that the trainee makes an important decision about the training program he or she wishes to pursue through counseling support. Also, the trainee can pay for the program through skill vouchers issued by the government.
  • Conducting a well-managed skill training operation for ruling out undesirable ones do that the trainee gets ample support.
  • Strengthening the assessment as well as the certification system so that it becomes credible.
  • Decentralising the skill development initiative for capacity building in the backward districts. 

As pointed previously, in the last ten years there has been a set up of a number of institutions and reconfiguring their roles. There is a three to four times increase in the training capacity with far-reaching geographical access. More than 5,000 scheme based training centers have been established under a variety of skills development initiatives. Also, there is a growing awareness for the need for skilling amongst the individuals as well as the employers and the need is simply unignorable. 


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