Skilling for the Future

India has enjoyed high rates of economic growth in recent years and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Despite performing well in terms of economic and demographic indicators, India has lagged behind in terms of creating enough number of jobs as well as building and training a skilled workforce

Compared to other developed countries in the world, where the percentage of skilled workforce is 60% to 90% of the total workforce, India records only 4.69% of the workforce with formal vocational skills. Therefore, there is an urgent need for building skills and knowledge in the economy to face the ever-increasing challenges of domestic and international job markets.

Relevance of Skill Development in India

Demographic Dividend: India is expected to have the world’s largest young workforce  by 2022. With a rich demographic dividend, where more than 65% of the population belongs to the working age group, this is an opportune time for India to take advantage of this one-time demographic window and enhance its growth and supply skilled manpower to the rest of the world.

Technology: Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and is threatening to put millions of jobs at risk. According to a World Bank Report, automation threatens 69% of the jobs in India. Therefore, reskilling and learning new technologies for the existing workforce as well as the new employees will become essential, to not only retain the workforce, but also to drive the successful digital technology transformation of the economy.

Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry has emerged as one of the high growth sectors in recent times as well as a major employment provider. Certain manufacturing industries, such as transport equipment, petroleum and electrical machinery, require specialised training and therefore, building human capital is essential to boost employment opportunities in this sector. This would also help to increase the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP.

Productivity: With developed countries facing high levels of unemployment and falling wages, emerging nations can no longer rely on low cost labor as a growth strategy. They will need to develop a skilled, productive workforce to compete globally. Also, as manufacturers seek growth internationally, they are required to invest in economic development by foreign governments; specifically, good paying, local jobs. With increased global scrutiny, competition, and supply chain complexities, the workforce is becoming a competitive differentiator for manufacturers everywhere. India’s workforce productivity is poor compared to other countries and a skilled workforce will enable higher productivity and industry competitiveness, and enable international organisations to look at India as a manufacturing base.

Policy structure

Under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the Government has initiated a number of major schemes and initiatives to promote skill development in the country. Presently, over 40 Skill Development Programmes (SDP’s) are being implemented by over 18 Ministries/Departments of the Government of India.

Positive steps have been taken by the Government both at Centre and States with legislation of the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) enabling mobility between vocational and general education; setting up of Sector Skill Councils for setting industry led Standards & Curriculum; introduction of Vocational Education at the school level; setting up State Skill Missions, etc.

In spite of the progress in training and capacity in the last few years, there are significant skill gaps and a lot needs to be done to provide more jobs and increase employability. It is estimated that the incremental Human Resource (HR) requirement is 103.4 million during 2017-2022 across 24 high priority sectors, as identified by the Human Resource Requirement Reports, commissioned by the National Skill Development Corporation.

With 93% of the labour force in the unorganized sector, one of the major challenges is the provision of requisite skills catering to a vast population and ensuring equitable access to all.

Other problems include poor coverage, narrow and obsolete skill curricula, insufficient focus on the organized sector, absence of certification and common standards as well as lack of focus on workspace aspirations.

CII Skill Development Initiatives

Skill development is key for India to attain inclusive growth and achieve sustainable development. The Indian economy continues to face several challenges with respect to empowering the youth, job creation and an increasing the skill gap. Industry, multilateral agencies and academia must work with the government to formulate strategies for creating a future-ready, skilled workforce, commensurate with the Prime Minister’s vision of transforming India into the “Skill capital of the world”.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has advocated the importance of a skilled workforce, for decades and has participated in both policy and on-ground initiatives to create employment opportunities for the Indian youth and make Indian industry productive.

CII through its skills initiatives impacts over 10 lakhs youth annually.

CII has made several recommendations to strengthen the skills ecosystem in the country, including the Amendment to the Apprenticeship Act 2015, National Skills Policy, skills inputs for ‘Make in India’, “Industrial Policy’, etc. Additionally, CII worked closely with the State Governments to notify the Amendments to the Apprentices Act.

CII’s recommendation of including apprentice training in the curricula of various trades being taught in ITI’s and ITC’s has been accepted by the Government. The Government, based on CII’s suggestion, is establishing dedicated cross-sectoral and world-class institutes for Trainers & Assessors, where the Trainer & Assessor pool can be drawn from retired industry, Government officials, defence and other services personnel. This would help create an enabling ecosystem for skill development in the country.

CII supported the Government of India and NSDC by setting-up 12 Sector Skill Councils to enable industry-led standards and curriculum. Furthermore, CII has set-up 3 Skill Centers/Hubs in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Assam. The Training Centres have been designed to train rural youth and make them employable. Each of the Skill Hubs trains and places over 2,500 youth per annum.

The 22 CII Skill Gurukuls located in disturbed/backward districts in 9 States offer residential skill training programmes. These Self-sustainable Centres offer 100% placement.

Project Disha: The Business Case for Women is one of the recent initiatives by CII, under which an innovative model would be established to scale up employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women. The project is a multi-year collaboration with UNDP, IKEA Foundation, Xynteo and India Development Foundation.

Supported by Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India and with Godrej, Titan, MSDF, PeopleStrong, Wheebox and LinkedIn, CII has set up 3 Model Career Centres in Mumbai, Gurugram and Chennai with an aim to link skills to jobs and livelihood.

CII’s skill initiatives endeavour to meet the aspirations of the youth, address industry manpower requirements, and enable faster economic growth.

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