Skill development is backbone of Atmanirbharta

Skill development is backbone of Atmanirbharta

Representative image. Credit: iStockPhoto

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan was launched to support the Indian economy in fighting against Covid-19. But, the structural reforms in society can only be witnessed when skill development becomes the backbone of this ambitious programme. Skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling of India’s youth, who is the workforce of the future, will play a crucial role in the success of the government’s vision. Though skilling is the most important, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. 

The current part of the flagship skill training scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 2016-2020) is about to conclude and has so far trained close to 73 lakh youth in the country and is hoping that it will open some new ventures for them. In the next phase of PMKVY, the government should shift its focus more to demand-driven skill development, digital technology and skills pertaining to Industry 4.0 so that the unemployment rate can be brought down.  

India is the second-most populous country in the world with the highest rate of unemployment at the moment. According to a survey conducted by the NSSO, in India, there is a lack of training facilities in as many as 20 high-growth industries such as logistics, healthcare, construction, hospitality and automobiles. India has roughly close to 5,500 public (ITI) and private (ITC) institutes as against 500,000 similar institutes in China. As against India’s 4% formally trained vocational workers, a country like Korea has 96% of a vocationally trained workforce. Even relatively under-developed countries like Botswana had a surprisingly decent score of 22%.

Re-skilling the youth 

The current pandemic has presented a grave situation. It shows how unskilled the Indian workforce is. We aren’t prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. And, for the jobs of tomorrow, we need to upskill our workforce. Big industries need to expand their operations from big cities to small districts and villages and invest in upskilling and re-skilling the youth across rural India. This would be a giant leap towards the success of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. People working in the private sector should come forward and impart training and focus on being vocal for local products and services, empowering youth to drive local economic growth. 

The government has already taken the first step through the National Education Policy and it will be implemented by 2022. Implementing this in itself is very challenging. However, it can bring many changes in the current education system. The effect of this policy can actually be reaped decades from now. Meanwhile, the government needs to go ahead with the PPP model by investing in rudimentary, primary and advanced level of skill development training and by mapping industry needs. The government should also work on skill management information system, which will bring the entire skill ecosystem under a common web portal and work as an aggregator for demand and supply of skilled workforce

Identifying skill is pivotal 

Lots of ground needs to be covered in educating people in using different software and coding language. Education should simplify apprenticeship, which is the on-the-job model of skill training, so that industries do not hesitate in absorbing apprentices and they do so enthusiastically. The person needs to identify an area of interest and seek guidance in areas that he or she might need improvement. A person might be inclined towards computer programming. He or she should seek programmes that will help him to achieve these dreams. If a person is interested in entrepreneurship, there are many schools available. Companies need to specify their preferences to students who are skilled over people who aren’t and identify skills needed to excel.

(The writer is, CEO, ICA Edu Skills)