Tuesday, 28 January 2014

UPA’s Policy Reforms in Skill Development

Photo Credit: National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
In the recent years the significant acceleration of economic growth rate in India has lifted quite sharply upward the demand for higher level of skilled manpower. According to B.B. Bhattacharya’s study (2008), a disaggregated analysis shows that higher education in general and skill formation in particular has given India a competitive edge in services sector’s growth.
The study also revealed that with growing demand for highly skilled work force in both India and abroad the supply of highly skilled work force in India is now failing to keep pace with demand. As a result there is a danger of India losing its international competitiveness in skill induced economic growth.
Keeping in perspective, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government initiated many policy reform processes particularly in the area of vocational training and skill development sector through Ministry of Labour & Employment. Policy reforms were introduced for expansion and modernisation of the existing vocational training institutions by partnering with industry and civil society organisations through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The government has also been implementing a number of innovative skill training programmes which have coherently created afresh vocational training facilities in the country. During 2008-09, government launched a broad based Skilling Mission for training of 500 million persons by 2022. Various Central Ministries/Departments/Organisations have been given specific targets which have been rigorously followed up through several initiatives based on the National Policy on Skill Development, 2009.
All the 1,896 government ITIs (January 1st, 2007) were taken up for upgrading into Centres of Excellence. First, the upgradation of 500 ITIs was announced in the Budget 2004-05. Out of 500 ITIs, 100 ITIs were taken up from Domestic Funding and 400 ITIs were taken up through the World Bank funding. Upgradation of remaining 1,396 government ITIs was started in 2007-08 through Public Private Partnership mode. The PPP mode has been implemented in the form of Institute Management Committees (IMCs) to ensure greater and active involvement of industry in all aspects of training. There are significant improvements in the modernised ITIs both in terms of percentage of trainees pass outs and finding jobs within a year.
The other major initiative was the Skill Development Initiative (SDI) Scheme based on Modular Employable Skills (MES) launched in 2007 to provide vocational training for early school leavers and existing workers, especially in the unorganised sector to improve their employability. The scheme facilitates afresh skill training through MES as per demand of markets. It also provides scope for directly testing and certification of skills acquired informally through Empanelled Assessment Bodies. More than 7,125 Vocational Training Providers are imparting skill training under the Scheme with 1,400 short term modules covering 60 sectors. So far, more than 1.6 million persons have been trained/tested since inception of the scheme.
The National Skill Development Corporation, set up in 2009 in PPP mode have mandate of training about 150 million people or 30% of 500 million by 2022, has partnered with 2,202 skill training institute/centres across the country and trained about one million persons and placed 6 lakh persons (61%) in the job market.
According to the Planning Commission, as on January 1st, 2007, there were 5,114 ITIs/ITCs in the country with a seating capacity of 7.42 lakh. As on April 1st, 2010, there were 8,039 ITIs/ITCs with a seating capacity of 11.15 lakh in the country. Thus, the last three years (2007-08 to 2009-10) had seen an increase of 2,925 ITIs/ITCs, which is 57% of the number of institutions set up in the first 60 years of Independence! By December 11, 2013, there were 10,750 ITIs/ITCs with seating capacity of 15.23 lakh in the country.
There are several other institutional reform initiatives for bridging the mismatch of skilled persons and the markets needs through Labour Market Information Systems, National Skills Qualification Framework, Sector Skill Councils, National Occupation Standards, Accreditation of Institutions and Quality Assurance, Assessment and Testing Bodies, etc. All are underway in massive efforts!
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