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Schemes And Initiatives For Skill Development In India

Recognising the vital role of skill development in harnessing India’s demographic dividend, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has instituted various initiatives that aim to bridge the gap between industry needs and skills of the available workforce. With a focus on quality training, industry relevance, soft skills and digital skills, these initiatives are poised to drive sustainable economic growth that is inclusive and addresses the needs of all.

Edited By : Law Desk | Updated: Mar 13, 2024 18:33 IST
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Skill Development in India
Skill Development in India

The Indian economy is more dynamic and globally connected than ever before, and skill development is crucial for exploiting India’s demographic dividend and ensuring that its young population, with a median age of 28, is able to access and utilise economic opportunities. To remedy the chasm between employers seeking skilled workers and young workers seeking employment, the government has introduced several initiatives and interventions to promote vocational training and entrepreneurship programs, with the nodal Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) coordinating skill development across the country since 2014. 

Vision and Objectives

As per its Vision 2025, the Ministry hopes to facilitate aspirational employment and entrepreneurship, and improve productivity for enterprises while enabling individual economic gains and social mobility. In 2015, the MSDE revised the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (NSDE) to ensure quality in skill training through standards and a common framework, expand opportunities in apprenticeship, and enhance industry engagement. The policy also highlighted the need to leverage technology and target women and marginalised groups with entrepreneurial and skill training. The Skill India Mission was launched in the same year to provide short and long term skill development schemes through Ministries and Departments. 

Major vocational, skilling  and entrepreneurship initiatives

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is an important flagship initiative implemented through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the MSDE. Between 2015 and 2024, 4 versions of the scheme have been enacted to incentivise industry relevant skill certification through short-term, free courses, having trained 1.37 crore youths across sectors till 2023. PMKKY 4.0 promises to focus on new age skills like Industry 4.0, Web 3.0, AI/ML, AR/VR, Climate Change, Circular Economy, Green Economy, and Energy Transition while also inculcating soft skills. Other short term training initiatives include the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), with 738 model training centres across 707 districts successfully established by 2020, and the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) scheme which provides upskilling to non-literates, neo-literates, unskilled and unemployed youth particularly from SC/ST/OBC/Minority/Divyang/Women throughout the country, especially in rural areas.

The MSDE has also initiated long term schemes and apprenticeship programs to address a larger cohort of stakeholders and their diverse needs. Vocational training under the Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) is offered to unemployed, educated youth through a network of 15,022 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to ensure a flow of skilled workers in domestic industry domains. The National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) -2 provides experiential, on-job training in Designated or Optional Trade (DT/OT) to those transitioning from academia to workplaces, and incentivises enrolment through partial stipend support. The National Education Policy (NEP), which was introduced in 2020, further reflected and solidified the government’s intention to ensure exposure to skill-based, professional education across all levels of schooling. 

Digital Skilling 

Given the indisputable importance of digital skill in keeping pace with the 21st century economy, the MSDE also launched Skill India Digital, which is India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for skilling, education, employment, and entrepreneurship that emphasises Industry 4.0 relevant skills and boasts provisions such as digital CVs. The government has also undertaken partnerships with leading technology companies such as IBM, CISCO, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft to provide training in essential digital skills like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and Cybersecurity. Additionally, autonomous institutes like the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) and the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) are collaborating with industry giants like Meta (formerly Facebook) to equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with digital marketing skills. 

Way forward 

With a slew of initiatives that attempt to comprehensively target and upskill India’s workforce, India must consistently invest in its infrastructure and resources to impart quality, industry- relevant training. Such improvements can happen iteratively by consulting and including a wide range of stakeholders across civil society, sectors and industry. By ensuring availability of skilling opportunities at the lowest grassroot levels, and continuing collaboration with industry and private sector stakeholders, India is already making advances in driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity to all. 

Also Read: School Education Reforms In The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

First published on: Mar 13, 2024 06:33 PM IST

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