DH Exclusive: Wage laws to be tweaked to fill skill gap

DH Exclusive: Wage laws to be tweaked to fill skill gap

Apprenticeship refers to a person engaging with a company for learning for a short period, followed by on-the-job training.

Karnataka is planning to revisit wage laws to give a push for apprenticeships in the technology industry in order to bridge the skills gap. 

Specifically, the government is considering relaxing some norms for students to be engaged by the companies without it coming under the ambit of ‘employment’ since “it is not a job, but just training,” as one top official put it. 

Apprenticeship refers to a person engaging with a company for learning for a short period, followed by on-the-job training.

Encouraging apprenticeship is part of the government’s proposed Talent Accelerator programme that will link the industry with colleges for mentoring, projects and other career-related opportunities. 

“One concern raised by the industry when we pitched for apprenticeship was that they may have to pay minimum wages to the apprentices. Now, if a company has to pay Rs 15,000 to a student, one might as well hire a fresh graduate. So, wage laws have to be modified and some impediments need to be removed from the industry’s point of view,” a senior official working in Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan’s office said. Narayan, who is the IT/BT minister, is anchoring the Talent Accelerator programme.  

The government might even consider classifying ‘apprenticeship’ as a separate category, the official said. 

Welcoming the move, serial entrepreneur H Karan Kumar pointed out that several public sector companies offered apprenticeships. “For the private sector, however, apprenticeships should be exempted from labour laws because MSMEs, for instance, will not find it easy to pay the apprentices,” said Kumar, who is also a member of the Bengaluru Central University's Syndicate.

The Talent Accelerator programme is the government’s response to repeated complaints of “a mismatch in the quality of graduates and industry expectations.” 

According to the recent India Skills Report, 47.38% of the over 3 lakh students surveyed were found to be employable in 2019. Engineering and technology courses continue to have the most employable talent. Karnataka had about 74,000 engineering seats this year. 

“The Talent Accelerator will have an online platform to enlist industry and academic mentors, assign mentors to mentees through the use of a combination of algorithms and randomisation (to prevent bias), tracking mentee progress in a structured manner over a long period of time,” the official explained. 

A major benefit of this initiative, the government believes, is an increase in the availability of quality technology based jobs to students from Tier-2, Tier-3 cities and rural Karnataka. 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)