Skills should have been a priority after Independence because an unskilled or unemployed Indian is not a free Indian, and the launch of the Skill India campaign in 2015 seemed a fresh departure from the past.
Taking a historical perspective :-
- The phase 1 of skills in India was largely about a purposeless drift without vision, execution or institutions.
- In phase 2, while the vision was sound, but the execution was affected by the lack of institutional structures & the lack of nesting skills into a broader job-creation vision.
And when the Skill India campaign was launched by our current government, it seemed promising because of two reasons :-
- First, it was part of a multipoint agenda for creating jobs.
- Second, it struck the right balance between continuity and change.
It was clear that Skill India was shaped based on the learning of misgivings of the previous two attempts.
We have three distinct problems—
- Matching (connecting demand to supply)
- Mismatch (repairing supply for demand) and
- Pipeline (preparing supply for demand).
For Example :- We can’t teach kids in three months what they should have learnt in 12 years of schooling. We have witnessed the diminishing returns and value of education where class 12 is the new class 8 and we are not even talking about engineering yet.
We confront a financing failure :-
- Employers are not willing to pay for skills nor candidates, but are willing to pay a premium for skilled candidates;
- Candidates are not willing to pay for skills, but willing to pay for a job; and
- Banks and Micro-finance institutions are not willing to lend for skills unless a job is guaranteed. Young job-seekers are unable to get a job without experience, but it is unclear how they can get experience without a job.
Constraints for Skills :-
- India’s firm size distribution—6.3 crore enterprises only translate to 18,500 companies with a paid up capital of more than Rs 10 crore—is a binding constraint for skills because the low productivity enterprises create the vicious circle of being unable to afford the skill wage premium.
- The massive divergence between real and nominal wages in our 45 job hubs is hindering migration at the bottom of the pyramid.
Wage Crisis & Steps taken for Skill Development :-
India doesn’t have a job crisis, we have a wage crisis—everyone who wants a job has a job, just doesn’t have the wage they aspire for. The gap can only be resolved through a concerted effort in making Skill India real.
Few affirmative steps have been taken in this direction by the central government & under the aegis of MSDE :-
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana has been set up to enable youth to take up industry-relevant skills training and improve their employability.
- The government has also made available several other skilling initiatives like –
The National Apprenticeship Training Scheme
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana
National Urban Livelihoods Mission
National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
- The National Career Service, launched by the ministry of labour and employment, aims to provide job-matching services in a transparent and user-friendly manner.
At the moment, we need to focus on three things :-
- A Clear, committed strategy towards making skilling a key goal towards nation-building—we need a sustained goldilocks approach to skilling, rather than oscillating between hot and cold.
- Invite co-participation amidst all political parties to come up with a shared vision and plan around building skills for a resilient future
- Create a high decibel awareness that paves the way for the right skills for the right jobs.
Conclusion :- India’s war on poverty cannot be won without skilling India.