Skilling India’s young work force to make them employable is one of the toughest challenges government faces. Mahendra Nath Pandey, minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), who is in charge of this assignment speaks to Sanjeev Singh on the initiatives to deal with skill mismatch in the job market.
It’s been five years since Skill India’s foundation was laid. What are the plans for the next phase?
The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), our flagship scheme, and also overall focus between 2014 and 2016 was on the developmental aspect. The second part of PMKVY, 2016-20, has focussed on quality of training programmes being delivered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to consolidate some related departments from ministries like labour, finance, MSMEs and HRD into one ministry has been a good move. We feel the first five years have created a conducive environment and brought about awareness and discussion on the issue of Skill India.
We have achieved some milestones – 53% of certified candidates under PMKVY-2 have already received placements across geographies and centres. If we add other related work happening in rural development, textiles and minority affairs ministry, then the number is much higher. The ministry will be bringing out a plan for the third phase over the next few weeks soon. The focus will be on how to skill people according to industry needs and requirements and let it be a completely demand-driven approach, with more power to the states since their role is integral to the qualitative output in skill development. The character of skilling is also changing due to technological advances being made and we will keep abreast of all such developments.
How is Skill India aligning itself to market demands on account of technological advances?
The Cabinet had taken some decisions, taking inspiration from Singapore, a pioneer in modules of skill development. Singapore has some very good institutions. PM Modi, when he went to Singapore, saw their setup and has guided us to move forward accordingly. We have expedited his vision and have planned the setting up of three Indian Institute of Skill (IIS) centres in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Kanpur, which will be of the stature of IIMs and IITs in the country. We have started work on the Mumbai centre, while work is about to begin at the second one in Ahmedabad. Both the institutions are being built in collaboration with the Tata Group.
Apart from this, Skill India has partnered with organisations like NASSCOM, Microsoft, IBM, SAP to introduce new age skills which are in tandem with the requirement of industry. We have courses in AI, 3D printing, Data Analysis, Big Data, etc.
How will Jammu & Kashmir be integrated into the national skills agenda?
What are the initiatives that we are taking to formalise skilling of unorganised sector and make them market relevant?
We have an ongoing scheme, Recognition of Prior Learning under PMKVY, for this segment of workforce. This programme recognises and certifies skills acquired through informal means, bringing about a major shift from unorganised sector to organised economy. Close to 30 lakh people have benefited from this scheme. We are trying to improve on our past performance and bring scale and speed to this programme.
ITIs are long standing institutions for skill development. How have they been made relevant to today’s market requirements?
I believe we can do so much more with our ITIs given the vast infrastructure they have. My point is that each ITI has the capacity to produce 1,000 skilled instructors but we are using them to produce 300-400 instructors which can easily be maximised. I have visited many ITIs and we have already started work on this approach so that they can be modernised and NSTIs (National Skill Training Institutes) can be made more advanced by increasing their capabilities to produce more skilled instructors.
You were UP BJP president. What’s the government’s stand on the Ayodhya dispute?
The government’s stand is very clear. We will abide by the Supreme Court’s order. We have always been in favour of the construction of the Ram temple after bringing all parties on board.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
via TOI Blog