India is emerging as a fast-paced developing country and is soon about to beacon in the league of regional powers owing to its national income levels. But some demographers and social scientists are skeptical about the plausible impediments that can be erected due to the fast growing population, sometimes referred to as the phenomena of 'Population Explosion'. Also, whether such changes will prove to be a demographic boon or bane lies entirely with the policy environment. The upsurge in the population quite lately has been in the working age group with a percentage of over 62% of population being a part of the same. Such changes in the fertility and mortality rates tend to offer 'Demographic Dividend' as per the term provided by famous economist David Bloom. Now for reaping this dividend, it is extremely essential that institutional bottlenecks be removed and conducive environment be created to encourage job generating growth and not jobless growth.
A staggering 93% of our population is strangled in the informal and unorganised sector and lacks any formal certification or a skill training. As India embarks on the journey of achieving progress in the living standards of people, it becomes a matter of vital significance to provide the requisite infrastructure in the form of a comprehensive plan for propelling the youth to acquiring these marketable skills. With such missions and visions in mind, the NDA regime proposed a unified and comprehensive plan in the form of SKILL INDIA MISSION [SIM] - KAUSHAL BHARAT KUSHAL BHARAT.
The scheme has specifically been applauded for its view in opening an aggregator in the sector of skill development in the form of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). This is a breakthrough when compared to the erstwhile system involving multiple ministries as that of Labour and Development and Human Resource Development for framing skill-related policies. This, at times, led to an obstruction with regard to the lack of synergies between the two, leading to ineffective implementation. MSDE will serve the coordinating function very well and actively frame all policies to impart soft skills, computer education and also work relating to Industrial Training institutes (ITI) and hence is said to "coordinate the objective of skill development". The scheme is 100% centrally sponsored and aims to specifically target those above 14 years of age who have withdrawn as child labour, thus enabling them to learn employable skills and engage in gainful employment.
The Prime Minister has an ambitious target of skilling 400 million Indian youth in the course of next seven years for which there will be a budgetary allocation of more than Rs 1 lakh crore. He wants to escalate not only the incomes of hitherto deprived communities but also instill in them a sense of self confidence, respect and a new energy. He views this imperative scheme as a WAR AGAINST POVERTY which has emerged as the urgent need of India.
In this view, four landmark initiatives were undertaken by MSDE, which include National Skill Development Mission, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY ) , National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship along with the Skill Loan scheme.
National Skill Development Mission, July 2015, has a function of converging, coordinating, implementing and monitoring skilling activities on a pan-India basis. This is in view of PM Narendra Modi's idea of immense potential inherited by the Indian youth, who if provided, with the right skills have the potential to conquer the world and generate an approximate workforce of 4-5 crore for the world.
PMKVY aims at skilling about 24 lakh youth across the Indian subcontinent, who are currently lacking a formal certification and skill training and hence work predominantly in the unorganised sector. They would be acknowledged by 'Recognition of Prior learning' (RPL). On completion of training from this pilot phase, Skill cards and certificates will be awarded which can be used to share skill qualification with the employers in a quick and reliable manner.
National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship seeks to speed up skill procurement process and ensure high quality outcomes. A Policy Implementation Unit (PIU) has also been set up to constantly monitor key elements of the policy.
Skill Loan scheme has undertaken the responsibility of providing loans ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 1.5 lakh to 34 lakh youth who will attend the skill development programme over the next five years.
Alongside these landmarks, the policy of National Career Services (NCS ) seeks to function as a consultation and employment centre. This would work as an online job portal and was initiated under the SIM on July 15, 2015 commemorated as the first ever World Youth Skills Day. The likely beneficial impact would entail to 12 million young Indians. This scheme connected through Aadhar/ Pan/ Voter ID Card seeks to provide career service by linking prospective employees and employers and to provide guidance for skill development. Currently, 4.4 crore people have been registered of which 2.68 crore are those who are younger than the age of 29 years.
The highlighting feature of this policy includes enhanced role entitled to the private sector for providing employment and entrepreneurship. Hence, they will seek to check curriculum for relevance and would also provide resources alongside the public sector. With this aim, IITs, IIMs, ITIs , and other central and state universities are going to be engaged in providing professional skill development courses ranging from 1 month to 6 months.
The pleasant dream would definitely turn into a reality if the below mentioned challenges are well countered.
- Basic Elementary Education is needed to be provided universally. Though there are several legislations to this effect but their implementation in terms of improving the quality of teaching and infrastructure still remains a major hindrance.
- Skills imparted today may not be in correspondence with the new techniques and developments of future as we live in an era of rapid development, called CREATIVE DESTRUCTION in the words of Schumpeter. Hence, the challenges posed by robots, artificial intelligence and other development will have to be effectively countered.
- Universities and educational institutes need to focus on the role of imparting skills rather than mere degrees for creating proficient workforce.
Hence, in conclusion, it becomes evident that developing India, which seems to occupy the bright spot, will develop in real terms only when its social indicators point to reduction in poverty and improvements in living standards. Hence, the mission undertaken is encouraging and bright with the hopes of a prosperous future but it all boils down to the effectiveness of implementation and benefits entailing to all and even those in the unheard of nooks and crannies of India to create a Kushal Bharat.
(Guest contributor Manisha is pursuing undergrad course in LSR)