Linking skill development to his government’s “war against poverty”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday that India has the potential to emerge as the “human resource capital” of the world as China has become a global “manufacturing factory”.
“We have to map the requirements of the entire world and then provide human resource to them,” Modi said as he launched the National Mission for Skill Development to “provide the overall institutional framework to rapidly implement and scale up skill development efforts across India”.
The mission has set a target to skill 24 lakh workers this year and 40.2 crore workers by 2022. It will be led by a governing council which will be chaired by the PM and include ministers for finance, skill development and entrepreneurship, human resource development, rural development, labour and employment, overseas affairs, information technology, deputy chairman of NITI Aayog and three chief ministers as members.
The PM also launched the new National Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Policy 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and a skill loan scheme to encourage more youth to take up vocational training.
Pointing out that 65 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 35, Modi said the key priority is to create employment opportunities for the youth as well as create avenues to skill them in a structured manner to improve their employability.
“If they don’t have skills and opportunity, then how will they meet challenges? Instead, they too will become a challenge,” he said, adding that the government will work together with states in a structured manner to promote skill training as an alternative to higher education.
The event was also attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda and Minister of State (independent charge) Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
“In the last century, we were known globally for the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology). But this century, our need is for ITIs (industrial training institutes),” Modi said, adding that there is no reason for unemployment if the needs of industry are kept in mind while training workers.
Jaitley said the country’s surplus manpower should not be treated as a burden but as a resource. With India’s services sector poised for double-digit growth and signs of revival in the manufacturing sector, he said the country’s huge manpower can be skilled for not only domestic jobs but also those abroad.
“As a substitute to higher education, which only a few receive, it (skilling) is necessary to train people to meet challenges of the domestic and global economy,” he said, adding that the convergence of Make in India and Skill India would create a much “brighter and better India”.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that just 3.5 per cent of the country’s workforce is skilled as against the global average of 45 to 50 per cent. Noting that there are 10 lakh fresh entrants to the workforce every year, he said the government has revisited the National Skills Policy 2009 and will implement it on a mission mode.
Listing initiatives to promote skilling, he said that the ministry has got charge of 12,000 ITIs in the country and it will also try to set up a skill university in every state. The ministry has also signed MoUs with a number of Central ministries such as railways and defence, he said. It will use vacant railway stations and the railways’ optic fibre network for skill development of youth in remote areas.
Along with the Container Corporation of India, the ministry is converting discarded railway containers into classrooms for training, Rudy said. Similarly, under an MoU with the defence ministry, jawans who are about to retire would be trained as skill instructors in the last year of service, he said.