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March 21, 2018

Government calls it “Budget for Skills push”, but experts say “Its not enough”

Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech announced two new schemes for skill development, one to provide relevant market training to youth and one for leather-footwear sector. However, both industry players said that much more needs to be done to revive skill development.

He said that the centres under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) will be extended to another 600 districts. PMKVY is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The objective of this skill certification scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras have already been promoted in more than 60 districts and the Budget proposed that 100 India international skills centres will be established across the country. These centres will offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages.

Currently, while these centres exist across the country and individuals pass out, the number of them joining the formal sector of employment is low. Further, most of such centers do not impart any factual training and get their candidates certified through some unfair means resulting to the non employable candidates. A senior human resource consultant explained that companies either have their own resource pools or they prefer graduates from reputed institutes. “Those with vocational skills often lose out because while demand is high, the preferences of corporate vary,” the official added.

In 2017-18, the government had also proposed to launch the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth. However, it is not clear whether they would have any system of campus placements or job fairs so that those trained from here will be assured a job.

Narayanan Ramaswamy, Partner and Head of Education and Skill Development, KPMG in India said, “The focus on education and skill development in this Budget looks at best cursory and customary.” However, he added that there are some bright spots. Given the mammoth requirement for skilling and urgency of the need, Ramaswamy said that it is disappointing to see this Budget virtually ignoring the support and encouragement needed for skill development and vocational education.

The next phase of Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) will also be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore. STRIVE will focus on improving the quality and market relevance of vocational training provided in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and strengthen the apprenticeship programmes through industry cluster approach. Industry experts said that several ITIs exist merely on paper and there is a dire need, not only to improve the infrastructure but also the quality of administration in these institutes. Early steps are being taken with the government asking India Inc to head the governing boards of some of these ITIs.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO – CIEL HR Services said that one of the concerns in the recent past has been job creation and new investments from private sector companies and the health of our banking sector. He added that the Budget doesn’t seem to have anything significant which addresses these aspects.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.

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