In the trail of the various campaigns launched by the Modi government, there comes yet another campaign which gained momentum in the past few days – with all the more relevance to the current business and economic set up of the country.
The much aspiring and ambitious Skill India Campaign is to be launched by PM Narendra Modi, on the eve of the first ever World Youth Skills Day today, i.e. the 15th of July. According to the Press Release by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, “the day will see the launch of the ‘National Skill Development Mission’, unveiling of the new ‘National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015’, and roll out on all-India basis the Ministry’s flagship scheme, ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikash Yojana – PMKVY’ – the pilot phase of which has already begun”. ‘Skill Loan’ initiative (loan of Rs 5,000-1.5 lakhs) is also being launched which will make it easier for youth to attend skill development programs.
Bringing together various stakeholders, central ministries and departments, industry bodies, corporates and state governments, the Skill India campaign aims at converging, coordinating and monitoring activities and initiatives related to skilling across India. The vent will be attended by esteemed leaders such as Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, chiefs of industry associations as well as Teamlease Services chairman Manish Sabharwal and Romesh Wadhwani of the Wadhwani Foundation.
Skilled manpower has been a major cause of concern, not only for corporates but in general for all economic and industrial sectors. To utilize the potential of the Indian youth, skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling has been an imperative agenda for the Modi government. And this in turn aids the overall socio-economic transformation within India, and globally. The Skill India Campaign is being seen as a milestone towards achieving the objectives of ‘Speed, Scale and Standards’ throughout India. PMKVY is set to skill 24 lac youth and in an encouraging move, the youth (especially of the unrecognized sector) who lack formal certification will be recognized through ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ (RPL) and will get an opportunity to be certified for their skills.
The learning and skill development sector in particular is enthusiastic about the Skill India campaign. According to Sanjeev Duggal, CEO and MD, Centum Learning, "Skilling is akin to evangelizing in India. We are happy that our Prime Minister is personally leading the Skilling movement which has been recognized as an agent of social and economic transformation in India. Centum Learning in partnership with the Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship, will skill a sizable percentage of the 2.4 million youth to be trained under the PMKVY scheme, considering that we have a scalable model to skill nearly 0.2 million people each year. We have already successfully mobilized more than 25,000 people only in Bihar in just a week’s time, where we piloted the launch of a mass outreach campaign through mobile telephony.” On a similar note, Dr. Santanu Paul, CEO and MD, TalentSprint stated that "For decades as a nation, we have embraced the syntax of education but not its semantics, thereby creating a full blown crisis today for our youth, employers, and India. Barely 5% of our workforce is certifiably skilled, unlike China and the developed world where it is well over 45%. While it may be too late to lament what went wrong, it is not too early to get an effective remedy in place. In essence, we must find a way to maximize the synergies between the Digital India and Skilled India. The urgent need of the hour is to use technology to create skill programs that are accessible by skill seekers across the country through digital means, including web browsers, mobiles, and tablets. Given the infinite scalability of cloud-based platforms, this more than any chalk-and-talk classroom will have exponential impact.”
PeopleStrong's Co-founder and CEO Pankaj Bansal, iterates that "Government’s equal focus towards skill development and job generation is a much needed step for matchmaking skills to jobs. When a working population, a large part of which is unemployable (37% as per India Skills Report 2015, an initiative of PeopleStrong, Wheebox, and Linkedin in association with industry body, CII) gets added every year, the problem is not about creating jobs but more about match making the available skills to the jobs that are being created. On top of it employers are putting lot of focus on “Quality of hires”. This includes not only the technical skills but soft skills as well. As per India Skills Report 2015, almost 80 % of employers have rated soft skills like adaptability, communication etc. as the most desired skill in the candidates against domain expertise (which was chosen by only 20% candidates). Government’s recent initiatives like National career portal and career centers which aim to create employability in the workforce , by leveraging the power of technology in training, assessment and recruitment will help in creating 10X impact (compared to traditional initiatives); which is much needed if we want to achieve the mammoth target of skilling 400 mn people. Technology based assessments be it behavioural, cognitive or technical are extensively used by employers for hiring candidates; if they are used for preparing them for jobs as well, a huge gap will get filled. Campaigns like “Make in India” will create new jobs, but they need manpower trained for these jobs at the same time. Its good to see a long term vision as government with a consolidated National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 - India’s first integrated national policy for developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship on a large scale - is trying to align the skills & entrepreneurship landscape of the country."
15th July was adopted as the World Youth Skills Day by UNGA (UN General Assembly) in September 2014, which also aligns itself with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 set by UNESCO, and recommends goals for education and skills for employment - Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (Accessed from http://en.unesco.org/events/world-youth-skills-day#sthash.p3CboZN6.dpuf)
Tune into DD National, DD News, DD India or All India Radio Network from 3:45pm onwards for live broadcast of the launch. Also follow the event on social media on the links below.