Govt announces integrated skills development, entrepreneurship policy

02 July 2015

The union government has approved the first integrated national policy for developing skills, which will provide a strong institutional framework for imparting skills - both at the central and states level - for promoting entrepreneurship and ensuring quality.

Prime Minister Narendra ModiThe union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved the institutional framework for the National Skill Development Mission in keeping with the commitment made in the budget for 2015-16.

The government also approved common norms for skill development schemes being implemented by the centre under the mission.

The Vision of the Policy is ''to create an ecosystem of empowerment by skilling on a large scale at speed with high standards and to promote a culture of innovation based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country''.

The mission will have a three-tiered structure, with a high powered decision-making Governing Council, chaired by the prime minister to provide overall guidance and policy direction.

The Steering Committee, chaired by minister in charge of skill development, will review the mission's activities in line with the direction set by the Governing Council.

The Mission Directorate, with secretary, skill development as the mission director, will ensure implementation, coordination and convergence of skilling activities across central ministries / departments and state governments.

The mission will also run select sub-missions in high priority areas.

Further, the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Directorate of Training will function under the overall guidance of the mission.

The ministry of skills development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) provides a natural home for the mission, organically linking all three decision making levels and facilitating linkages to all central ministries/departments and state governments.

"The policy aims to align supply with demand, bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalise a quality assurance framework, leveraging technology and promoting apprenticeship to tackle the identified issues," finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters later.

The National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy.

The policy has four thrust areas, an official statement said, adding that it addresses key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of integration with formal education, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure and trainers.

Further, it said the policy seeks to align supply and demand for skills by bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalising a quality assurance framework, leverage technology and promoting greater opportunities for apprenticeship training.

"Equity is also a focus of the policy, which targets skilling opportunities for socially / geographically marginalised and disadvantaged groups. "Skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for women are a specific focus of the policy," it added.

In the entrepreneurship domain, the policy seeks to educate and equip potential entrepreneurs, both within and outside the formal education system.

It also seeks to connect entrepreneurs to mentors, incubators and credit markets, foster innovation and entrepreneurial culture, improve ease of doing business and promote a focus on social entrepreneurship.

Jaitely said the smart cities programme launched last week (See: Modi launches smart city, housing and urban renewal schemes) and the Digital India programme launched yesterday (Modi launches `Digital India Campaign') have also similar plans for 'Skilling India'.

At present, over 70-odd skill development programmes (SDPs) are being implemented by the government, each with its own norms for eligibility criteria, duration of training, cost of training, outcomes, monitoring and tracking mechanism.

"This multiplicity of norms and parameters has created a diffusive effect of SDPs, which need to be streamlined in order to achieve the final outcomes envisaged," according to the government.

The common norms seek to rationalise the whole spectrum of skill development processes and systems including inputs, outputs, funding/cost norms, third party certification and assessment, monitoring/tracking mechanisms, and empanelment of training providers.

The majority of India's vast population is of working age. Urgent and effective action to skill India is needed to capture the demographic potential of India's youth. Based on data from the 68th Round of NSSO, it is estimated that only 4.69 per cent of India's total workforce has undergone formal skill training, compared with 52 per cent in the USA, 68 per cent in the UK, 75 per cent in Germany, 80 per cent in Japan and 96 per cent in South Korea.

Despite efforts to hasten and scale up skilling through the creation of the National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) in 2009, the launch of the NSDC in the same year, and creation of the NSDA in 2013, progress to date has been sporadic.

India continues to face a skilling challenge of vast proportions.

Based on the Census 2011 and NSSO (68th Round) data, it is estimated that 104 million fresh entrants to the workforce will require skill training by 2022, and 298 million of the existing workforce will require additional skills training over the same time period.

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