New Delhi : The government has abandoned its goal of training 500 million people in new skills by 2022, in a clear shift in strategy. Skill development ministry officials, at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, also refused to spell out a new number that the Union government and its 22 departments and ministries will chase.
“We don’t want to chase any number. Whether it is 150 million by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and 350 million by ministries — we are delinking it, not attaching any number,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, director-general of training and a joint secretary in the skills ministry.
Skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy agreed. “It will be demand driven than supply driven,” he said.
Though the ministry did not give a reason for shifting focus and de-linking numbers from the skills mission, over the years, skill training targets have been missed.
The 500 million number formed the premise on which the Union government set up different bodies such as NSDC, National Skill Development Agency, Skill Development Fund, and made a concerted move to make the skill development sector for-profit in India as against the not-for profit nature of the education sector.
Besides, NSDC was given a corpus to hand out soft loans to training providers to achieve certain training targets. Some of NSDC’s initial loans have turned non-performing assets, Mint reported on May 26.
Rudy said his government is focusing on “improving the quality” of skill training in India. It is a path that needs to be tread carefully as it involves the future of our youth,” he said.
He said the ministry is now keeping a close eye on private skill training providers working on a franchise model and strengthening the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to supply efficient workers to industries.
Mayank Kumar, managing director of UpGrad, an online venture focusing on reskilling of professionals, said the numbers should not be delinked from the target as it may lead to the overall mission lacking a structural approach. “The government can answer better but it may be because they want to decouple skill training from jobs,” Kumar added.
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