Modern vocational training in India has its origin or roots in the Industrial Training Institutes or ITIs and the Industrial Training Councils or ITCs. These have been the mainstay of the skilling initiative for the last five decades. These institutes were established under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the erstwhile Government of India had also set up various councils for certifying those who had been successfully trained under the guidance of these institutions. But apart from these mentioned above, various initiatives have been undertaken by the Government of India to take the skilling mission of the youth forward. These are the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 and its subsequent amendments, the National Skill Policy of 2009 and the recent most initiation of the National Skill Qualification Framework or NSQF. These skilling policies are defining the roadmap for skilling the youth of the country.
Failure of the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 and subsequent measures are taken to consolidate it :
The Apprenticeship Act of 1961 was conceived with a massive expectation. It outlined the regulations for the training programmes for apprentices as well as laid the foundations for the training infrastructure in private and public sector establishments. The objectives included exposure to a real work environment for the trainees and to grant the industries access to a skilled workforce.
But this act failed miserably as the annual number of trainees mentored under the auspices of this act was a distressingly small number of around 2.8 lakhs, whereas there were around 4.9 lakh seats available under the program. The failure was due to the unenthusiastic approach of employers and to synergistically work with the training providers and their lack of participation from the industry, to hire a youthful, energetic and skilled workforce.
Thus the Government introduced the much needed Apprentices Amendment Bill in 2014, which restructured the whole idea of Apprenticeship training and made it mandatory for the industrial bodies to absorb at least 2-10% of the workforce as apprentices, who would have their wages linked to the semi-skilled workers and would receive similar benefits like those of the regular workers of the organised sector.
The new skilling ecosystem :
In 2009, the Ministry of Labour and Employment formulated the National Policy on Skill Development of NPSD which was the first concrete effort to create a skills ecosystem in India including the Government and all the stakeholders like the industries, trade unions and civil societies. Subsequent;y the National Skill Qualification Framework was introduced, which was a crucial step in the right direction to skill the Indian youth. The newly established Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship outlined the successful adaptation of a standardised form of education linking all institutions and training academies to provide employment-oriented courses would be dependent upon building the consensus amongst all central and state government agencies, academic institutions and regulators apart from enablers implementation agencies.
The economic growth of the country has led to an acute demand in the number of skilled workforces and has thus ensured that the skilling ecosystem has larger participation from all stakeholders which include decision making bodies to enablers to executing bodies and various beneficiaries.
- The key bodies in the skilling ecosystem include the MSDE, MHRD, MORD and other central ministries.
- The most essential enablers include NSDC, SSDM, NSDA, SSCs, NCVT, SCVT, Labour Laws, Minimum Wages Act, Financial Institutions and the Apprenticeship Act and its amendments.
- The implementing bodies include ITIs, Training Providers, Captive Training by Employers, Schools, Universities, Assessment companies.
- Marginalised societies, Unemployed youth, Low-income groups of people, School and College students with various educational backgrounds, be those technical or non-technical would be the beneficiaries of this skilling framework.
Thus this much-needed structure has been developed and work is being conducted in a synergistic manner to ensure the bright future of all the beneficiaries that would result in a massive economic expansion of the nation as a whole.