National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the organisation set up to promote skill development, is focusing on placements under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Jayant Krishna, chief executive of NSDC, tellsM Saraswathy talks about the way forward. Excerpts:
Does the PMKVY make the skilling agenda more challenging for NSDC?
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is a unique initiative by the Government of India and the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) which is being implemented by NSDC. Every scheme or programme in its initial stage or first year of commencement faces a few hurdles and challenges but we see a great response on the scheme from the youth. It could have been more challenging for NSDC but with the focus that MSDE has put on creating synergies and convergence between Centre and state governments, ministries and departments, the work has become more streamlined.
How has the progress under this scheme been?
We have local MLAs and MPs who are helping in the launch and promotion of scheme which in turn is driving great mobilisation from the masses. So far we have conducted 410 Kaushal Vikas Shivirs, across 300 constituencies in the country and the scheme has seen 847445 candidates enrol into the courses and take benefit from it. The challenge is big in terms its goal of skilling 24 lakh Indian youth and making them more efficient and industry relevant through skill based training. The financial/monetary reward is a great way to encourage and extend financial aid to those who are financially weak to be able to bear the cost of the trainings. We have invested a lot of time and energy in ensuring every youth in the country, till the very last mile is aware about this scheme and can benefit from it. The industries have to now come forward and extend support to the ecosystem in making this programme a success by either investing through their CSR, or through infrastructure support or absorbing the youth that is skilled and job ready. The focus is primarily on placements now for all, and we will soon see our efforts resulting into the growth of the individual and the country.
One area of concern has been that there has not been enough private participation in skill development. Do you view it as a challenge?
Private and public sectors should come together in a common platform to address the need of skill development. 2016 focuses clearly on the dire need for industry to step forward and contribute to Skill India. The industry has to look beyond the areas where they operate and have invested. There needs to be a strong effort towards creating entrepreneurs/ self-employment as well. The industry needs to align to the National Skill Qualification Framework, to the 3500 unique national occupational standards which have been created and also to the certification process that is in place through National Skill Development Corporation and the Sector Skill Councils. The industry has been directed by MSDE towards different modules in which it can invest into Skill Development. A few of them were - contribution through company's CAPEX/OPEX or through extending infrastructure support; or by contributing to the National Skill Development Fund where NSDC can give them direction in which areas they can spend their funds. It's about time everyone comes together to make India the Skills Capital of the World.
NSDC is working under a strict deadline to skill several million youth in the country. How many have been trained till now in the state?
NSDC, working directly under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship currently has more than 400 active training centres in Maharashtra which provide training in sectors like Telecom, Apparel, Agriculture, BFSI, Building & Construction, Electronic & IT Hardware, Media & Entertainment to name a few. Cumulatively it has trained 418405 individuals in the state out of which 55 per cent have already been placed while the others are still undergoing trainings. NSDC works with corporates, foundations and PSEs to design and structure large-scale Skill Development Projects as part of CSR. NSDC provides end-to-end solution in design, structuring and implementation of such projects. Further, the corporation has invested close to Rs 35 crore in eight early stage innovation companies. Also, we have been working with various state governments, state education boards and universities to adopt National Occupational Standards for their skill development initiatives. As of now, 15 state governments in 3000 schools, 11 central ministries, 30 universities and 10 state skill missions have introduced skill training on Industry driven standards.
One area where there is more scope is Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) which are also involved in providing basic skills. Do you think they should be made more efficient?
ITIs do not fall under the preview of NSDC. However, we see that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is working closely with the industry to make ITIs more efficient and asking corporates to come forward and support the government in their up-gradation. More companies like Maruti Suzuki are being given the Institute Management Committee (IMC) to these government ITIs so that they can up-scaled in terms of their outputs and the kind of infrastructure and technological facility they extend to the candidates getting trained there. Recently, Prime Minister's Office has directed skills ministry officials to open 7,000 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) as well. The objective is to double the capacity of 13,105 ITIs which now collectively trains 1.86 million students. It's a great move and will assist the skill ecosystem immensely. Also the Ministry is keen on recognising 2 years of ITI training equivalent to plus 2 education for those who join ITI directly after class 10th, which is yet another big proposal which should see acceptance from all.
Do you see a need for adding more sector skills councils?
We do not see the need to add more sectors right now. Currently we are focusing on the existing 40 sectors that we have but we do timely evaluate if there is a need to add more job roles specific to the industry requirement in a particular sector. With the advent of technology and new kind of jobs, it is important that we change with the change in times. A security guard today doubles up for a receptionist and also for someone who does biometrics. That makes a new job role for us. Likewise we are focusing on the ability to multi-task in one job role.
What is the incentive for training partners and is it the only way to go about?
NSDC supports vocational training institutions through soft loans, which covers up to 75 per cent of the total project costs. NSDC seeks to fund NGOs, businesses, social entrepreneurs, and skill development organizations that are sustainable, large-scale, and partnership-based. These parties, known as the NSDC's partner training institutions, are expected to become self- sustainable going forward. Skill training landscape is going to change with time because vocational training in India is a $20 billion business opportunity per year, according to a July 2011 report by Kotak Securities. This will induce lot of players to enter into the field of skilling. Also to train 400 million people, we need a self-sustaining vocational education to meet the skilled manpower requirement of the world's fastest growing major economy. The industry will evaluate the funding guidelines and will see what kind of incentives with get more for-profit organisation to come forward and contribute to the skill ecosystem.