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Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

July 20, 2015

On 15th July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushed ahead his pet Skill India Mission for developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship among youth by formally launching the government’s flagship scheme to impart skills training to people — Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

Modi Skill Development Scheme

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is an ambitious initiative by the Government to offer “24 lakh Indian youth meaningful, industry relevant”, vocational and technical skill-based training to create skilled manpower at grassroots level at an approximate total cost of Rs. 1,500 Crores.

Under the plan, the government launched a number of schemes such as a redesigned Model Skill Loan Scheme, Skill Card for persons certified under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and the new National Policy for Skill Development.

Specifically, the Scheme aims to ensure that a large number of youngsters take up skills training and become “employable and earn their livelihood” so as to increase productivity of the existing workforce. It initiates a process of “creating a registry of skills”. The government offers “an average financial reward of Rs. 8,000 per candidate” as well as certification to those who successfully complete training under this scheme which “will help them in securing a job for a better future”.

The government hopes, the Scheme will bring about “a paradigm shift from input-based to outcome-based skills training in the country” because of the “demand driven targets” which means that skills training is now to be based on assessment of skill demand and the ‘Skill Gap Studies’ in consultation with the 37 Sector Skills Councils (which are meant to facilitate the participation and ownership of industry to ensure needs based training programmes), States and Union Territories, and the Central Ministries under the oversight of the Steering Committee of PMKVY.

It may be mentioned that the first National Policy on Skill Development was notified in 2009 by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2009 when the United Progressive Alliance government was at the helm. However, after the NDA government replaced the UPA at the Centre, the new PM Modi, recognizing the need for coordinating skill development efforts in the country, for the first time set up a full-fledged Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) on 9th Nov, 2014 with a mandate to

a)     Develop an appropriate skill development framework

b)     Remove disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower

c)     Map existing skills, doing market research

d)    Devise training curriculum

e)     Link institute with industry

f)      Bring PPP element in skilling

g)     Frame policies for soft skills

h)    Expand youth entrepreneurship education

i)     Make broad policies for all other Ministries/Departments

As it was, the Centre’s skill development programmes over the years had been spread across “more than 20 Ministries/Departments without any robust coordination and monitoring mechanism to ensure convergence” and the scenario was no different in most of the states either.

Hence, the whole idea for a new ministry was to “skill on a large scale with speed and high standards” to meet Modi’s overarching vision of a ‘Skilled India’ compelled by the fact that at present only a very small proportion of India’s workforce had any formal skill training.

While unveiling his vision for “Skilled India”, PM Modi had said in his very first Independence Day speech that “…if we have to promote the development of our country, then our mission has to be skill development and skilled India”.

Modi’s thrust on skills education was based on the fact that the demographic profile of the country had changed drastically in recent times with 54% of its population under 25 years of age. Studies show that the average age of India’s population by 2020 will be 29 years as against 40 years in U.S.A., 46 years in Europe and 47 years in Japan.

It therefore, seems the need of the hour not just to address the rising aspirations of the youth seeking better jobs, but also to prepare an efficient, well trained workforce to attract global investments and make India the global hub of manufacturing activities particularly when on one hand the labour force in the industrialized world is expected to decline by 4% in the next 20 years, while on the other hand, it is expected to increase by 32% in India!

The country, however, has a big challenge ahead as it is estimated that India has only 4.69% of the total workforce with formal skill training as compared to 96% in South Korea, 80% in Japan, and 75% in Germany. A National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) study shows that in the country approximately 241.86 million workers are either unskilled or skilled through non-formal channels and of them, about 170 million fall in the age group 15-45 years. Similarly, in farm sector, this figure works out to be 128.25 million.  In addition, NSSO estimates the numbers of people who enter the workforce age group every year at 26.14 million.

Understandably, as the government now realises, there is a need to map this workforce through “recognition of existing skills and then provided with necessary skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling to increase productivity and provide a livelihood pathway”.

A recent World Bank study that evaluated the performance of five skill development schemes in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan between April and October 2014 has shown that though the mission can boost income by 21 per cent, “not all government-backed training schemes have a positive impact on incomes or even employment prospects”.

The study showed that while after undergoing the skill development programme the employment rate of female trainees rose by 12 per cent, the increase in employment rate was only 4.5 per cent for male trainees. The study also showed that only 25-30 per cent workers could get a placement on completion of their training and many of these jobs remained in the informal sector.

Modi also seeks to link entrepreneurship to the mission and does not want it to be limited only to skill.

Yet an important factor that also needs to be factored in the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is to harness and preserve the country’s traditional skills acquired through centuries of native wisdom by giving them due recognition under the mission. This needs to be clearly spelt out in the PMKVY.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

I am a journalist, educationist and filmmaker with over twenty years of experience in the media industry. I have worked in different capacities in all formats (print, television and web) in prestigious media organizations in India and abroad. As a journalist I have covered social issues, natural calamities, successive state assembly as well as parliament elections since 1989, government offices, Indian political parties, state legislative assemblies as well as Indian Parliament.

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