From an old cycle stand being labelled as a workshop to several institutes functioning without basic safety provisions such as earthing of installed electrical equipment. These are just some of the key findings in a series of audits conducted by the Directorate General of Training (DGE&T) on accreditation granted to Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), which are at the heart of the Centre’s skilling initiative.
Over four years till 2016, the audits found, accreditation was granted to several privately run ITIs while their buildings were under construction; institutes that were operating under tin sheds and out of basements; and, multiple ITIs that applied under the same address. There were also instances of institutes not existing at the address provided on record, and several lacking requisite equipment.
These institutes were granted accreditation at a time when there was a spike in the government’s skilling efforts that was matched by a surge in the number of private ITIs. Of the 13,353 operational ITIs today — from just 6,906 in 2009 — about 11,000 are privately run, with this segment growing annually at the rate of 15 per cent. Accreditation qualifies ITI operators to access funds under the government’s skilling programme.
The DGE&T report has been shared with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, which has passed strictures against Quality Council of India (QCI), which was engaged as a third party agency to accredit ITIs between 2012 and 2016.
Records show the inspections were part of just a 5 per cent sampling of institutes accredited by the QCI. De-affiliation notices were subsequently issued to 14 ITIs out of 33 ITIs for non-compliance with norms laid down by the National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT). Currently, the QCI has no role to play in the accreditation process, and some 183 cases are pending in high courts. When contacted by The Indian Express, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said that it was in the process of submitting an action taken report. QCI said it had not been heard by the House panel, and attributed many of the findings to the inclusion of the Building Clearance Certificate as a criterion “during the middle of the accreditation process”.
The DGE&T report points to specific cases of violation of NCVT norms:
* Maa Bhagvati Private ITI, Gaya, Bihar: Accreditation granted on October 10, 2016, despite building being incomplete and facility not approachable.
* Ramdhari Gupta Memorial Pvt ITI, Kushinagar, UP: Accredited despite tin sheets used for structure in residential area, violating building norms.
* Dr RDY ITI and Dr B R Ambedkar ITI in Gaya, Bihar; Maharana Pratap ITI and New Maharana Pratap ITI in Gorakhpur, UP: Two cases of two ITIs accredited at one premise.
* Pooja ITI, Jaunpur, UP: located in basement of commercial complex with machinery dismantled and scattered.
* Chaitanya Bharat ITI, Sant Kabir Nagar, UP: Machinery and equipment incapable of being used to impart any training. Building structure supported by bamboos, endangering safety of students and staff.
It was also found that in several ITIs, no arrangements were made for earthing of machines. Subsequently, Joint Inspection Teams/Committee (JITC) formed by the DGE&T in November 2016, and February 2017, visited the site of various ITIs, including in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The findings of the committee include:
* Vishal Private ITI, Gaya, Bihar: Major machinery and equipment missing. Makeshift structures erected using tin sheets held together with bamboo shafts.
* Gurukul ITI, Gaya, Bihar: Temporary connection by wire hooking available. In many other cases, electric connections meant for ITIs shared for commercial activities. According to NCVT norms, ITIs require dedicated electric connections.
* Vishal ITI, Gaya, Bihar: Classrooms made by dividing large rooms using temporary partitions, resulting in interference with training activities in adjacent classroom/workshops.
* Khunkhun ITI, Bhopal: Buildings separated by public road.
Other violations included institutes getting accredited in buildings already occupied for other activities such as running schools and colleges, and those getting accredited that do not exist at the address provided on record.
Based on the findings of the Parliamentary committee, show cause notices were issued to the ITIs and their replies examined.
Responding to queries from The Indian Express, K P Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said in an emailed response: “We are in the process of submitting our action taken/action proposed report to the Standing Committee. That report will include inter-alia the point(s) you mention. Pending the submission of the response to the committee, I am not in a position to give you a reply at this stage.”
R P Singh, Secretary General, QCI, said in an emailed response that it was not invited to represent before the Parliamentary Panel but has responded to queries raised by the DGE&T “with all documentary proof”. The QCI has submitted its objections to various comments contained in the report with detailed replies against each case, he said.
“…It is surprising that from 2012 till June 2016, there was no complaint against QCI process and only after the norms of Building Completion Certificate was added during the middle of the accreditation process, there were plethora of court cases, complaints and representations. None of it can be attributed to QCI, since inspite of our strong objections, the requirement of BCC was introduced in the middle of the accreditation process by DGET,” wrote Singh.
“In spite of repeated requests for introducing continuous monitoring of ITIs, the same was not implemented. As a result, QCI can only certify presence of infrastructure, machinery, etc., on the day of visit. ITIs shifting machinery or changing buildings after the visit was therefore not under the ambit of QCI. We have all proofs on the portal about each ITI that we have visited so far including photographs and video of the ITIs,” Singh said in the response.
QCI is a non-profit organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act and works as a national accreditation body supported by the government but independent in its functioning.
The House panel pointed out that during the period 1950-2012, 6,624 ITIs were set up, but in the four years from 2012 to 2016, the QCI accredited 6,729 ITIs. The QCI, it concluded, compromised with “the quality of affiliation and accreditation process” and did not follow “set norms in respect of ITI’s buildings, infrastructure, facilities, safety, machinery, equipment, faculty, etc., thus defeating the very purpose of providing quality skills to youth”.
Incidentally, The Indian Express had reported on February 13 that the Skills Ministry is moving to replicate Germany’s dual vocational education and training system (Dual VET), under which theoretical training in ITIs will be combined with practical training in the industry to increase employability.