Skip to main content

Skill India 'failing' as it's considered a social stigma for less-academically able students

Counterview Desk 
A policy research paper by the top Paris-based non-profit think tank, Institut Montaigne, has regretted that, five years on, the Narendra Modi government’s “first education-related full-fledged initiative” pertaining to vocational training, Skill India, is anywhere near achieving two of its desired goals – provide employment to the youth, and make them capable enough to become entrepreneurs.
The failure, says the paper, authored by scholars Christophe Jaffrelot and Sanskruthi Kalyankar, has come despite the fact that Modi linked Skill India with his Make in India initiative in order to ensure that the Indian capacity for harnessing entrepreneurship in the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector contributes, only 17% of GDP as compared to 85% in Taiwan, 60% in China and 50% in Singapore, goes up drastically.
A very important aspect of Skill India, say the authors, was its public private partnership (PPP) character: the entrepreneurs were requested to “earmark 2% of their payroll bill (including for contract labor) for skill development initiatives”; these funds were to be channelized to the government’s coffer in order to finance Skill India. In parallel, the ITIs were supposed to “tie up with industry in the relevant trades to improve placement opportunities for candidates”.
With this aim in mind, Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) in 2015, presented as “the flagship scheme” of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), in order to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training, completely paid by the government, the paper, “Demographic Dividend or Demographic Burden? India’s Education Challenge”, notes.

Excerpts:

The PMKVY’s budget was about Rs 1.2 billion for four years (2016-2020). Its main tool was the “Short Term Training” which could last between 150 and 300 hours and which included some placement assistance by Training Partners upon successful completion of their assessment by the candidates.
Today, there are more than 15,044 ITIs with capacity of approximately 2.6 seats, which means that since the inception of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in 2014, there has been a 32% increase in ITI count and 54% increase in seating capacity.
New types training centers have seen the light of the day with the rise of new programs. For instance, 450 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) have been “operationalized” in 2017-18. The objective was “to train a minimum of 300 million skilled people by the year 2022”.
The PMKVY’s budget was about Rs 1.2 billion for four years (2016-2020). Its main tool was the “Short Term Training” which could last between 150 and 300 hours and which included some placement assistance by Training Partners upon successful completion of their assessment by the candidates. Today, there are more than 15,044 ITIs with capacity of approximately 2.6 seats,, which means that since the inception of the MSDE in 2014, there has been a 32% increase in ITI count and 54% increase in seating capacity.
New types training centers have seen the light of the day with the rise of new programs. For instance, 450 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) have been “operationalized” in 2017-18. While these achievements are commendable, they fall short of the initial objectives.
The target of this government scheme was to reach out to 300 million young people by 2022 but only a mere 25 million had been trained under this scheme by the end of 2018116. This is partly due to mismanagement and partly to the fact that funds available for Skill India, either were not spent quickly enough because of a lack of candidates.
Indeed vocational training faces a social stigma of being an option for the less-academically able students or because of a paucity of funds, as evident from a letter that the Director of the MSDE sent to the officers in charge of this program in the States and Union Territories of India:
“As already mentioned in the circular of even number dated March 26, 2019, progress … has been found to be slow and has not achieved the expected/ desired target. Also, it is observed that total releases to States till date has been only Rs 760 crore as against projected financial progress of Rs 2023 crore expected till March 2019.
“Hence, it has been decided that 50% of the total lag in expenditure (Rs 631.58 crore) till March 2019 shall be reduced from the total sanction of the States/UTs. States/UTs are requested to revise their physical targets downwards keeping in view the reduced allocation and average per unit cost of trainings being achieved in the State/UT…”
The money problem showed that, in 2018, only 16% of the youth who had received “formal training were funded by the government”. But the real problem lays elsewhere: those who have been trained don’t find jobs. 
The number of those who have benefited from the Skill India scheme has increased, from 350,000 in 2016-17 to 1.6 million in 2017-18, but the percentage of those who could find a job upon completion of their training has dropped from more than 50% to 30%.
If one focuses only on the PMKVY, the results are even more disappointing. Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha in March 2018, the then minister for skill development, Dharmendra Pradhan, said that in the framework of this program 4.13 million people had been trained, but only 615,000 (15%) of them got a job.
These figures are the only ones that we can analyze here because they pertain, most of them, to short term training programs that can be assessed – the others will bear fruits after few more years. These limitations of the PMKVY may be explained from two points of view.
First, the policy makers were probably disappointed because they expected that a larger number of those who were trained through the PMKVY would create their company, and, in this case, would benefit from Micro-Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) loans and tie up, not only with the Make in India scheme, but also with another flagship program of Modi, Startup India. In fact, only 24% of the 615,000 who got a job started their business and out of them, only 10,000 applied for MUDRA loans – a drop in the ocean.
Second, the investments made in India are more capital intensive than labour intensive. For example, the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP is low relative to the average in low and middle-income countries and has not seen any increase since economic liberalization in 1991. Even within manufacturing, growth has often been highest and restricted to sectors that are relatively capital intensive, such as automobiles, machinery, chemicals or areas requiring special skills such as software, telecom, and pharmaceuticals.
This majorly stemmed not only from India’s insufficiently skilled labor, but also its complex land and labor laws. In order to boost investment in the manufacturing sector, the two major reforms that are to be immediately addressed are employment laws that make it nearly impossible to fire full time workers and real estate laws that impede the accrual of land to build large-scale factories. India needs to channelize its advantage of labor supply surplus to attract labor intensive manufacturing.
Third, and more importantly, India’s joblessness issue is not only due to skill problems, but also to the lack of appetite of industrialists and SMEs for recruiting. The decline of the investment rate is a clear indication that the demand is weak – hence huge idle capacities – and investing is not an easy thing to do anyway because of the limited access to credit that the accumulation of Non-Performing Assets (bad loans) has generated.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.