The government’s flagship skilling scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), is struggling to achieve end-results. Data for the PMKVY scheme until the first week of July 2017 reveals that out of a total 30.67 lakh candidates who had been trained or were undergoing training across the country, less than a tenth — 2.9 lakh candidates — had received placement offers.
With the scheme floundering, the Centre is now planning to shift focus to district-level schemes to yield better results in the short-term for its skilling initiative. Till the last fiscal, it was not mandatory for training providers to report employment data under the scheme. Under the relaunched PMKVY, which started October 2, 2016 with an outlay of Rs 12,000 crore to impart skilling to one crore people over four years (2016-2020), placement tracking has been made mandatory. According to an official, a total of 2.9 lakh candidates were provided placement offers until July.
The low placement numbers have led to realisation within the government that the PMKVY scheme is struggling because of lack of quality training and information asymmetry regarding the demand-supply dynamics of skilled candidates, a senior government official said. Now, the focus is going to be on greater participation of states, bringing district collectors into the picture to ensure delivery at the district level and monitoring of skilling schemes at the ministry level.
“PMKVY is not the answer to India’s problems. You can’t do too much about quality, location etc in the short term. We will be able to rejig much of it and make it more purposeful with a district-level action plan with good quality information. A district-level skill development action plan can be prepared in three months. It can be prepared for 100 districts in one go and the money can be handed over to the state governments and districts. Then, the government can get into MoUs and put into place monitoring mechanisms for this district-level action plan,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the official said, is currently undertaking a district-level data-crunching exercise to know the specific demand-supply conditions for each district, something that was not happening under the PMKVY scheme until now. ”The government should be generating data to find out that where is the requirement for say, plumbers, and where are they coming from. Then we have to research and find where are they best trained, at the origin or the destination. There are some skills where destination-skilling is superior to origin-skilling, but it depends on what wage point are people willing to migrate. For example, a plumber from Odisha will not migrate for Rs 5,000 a month but will migrate for Rs 15,000 a month. The core of the government’s focus should be this kind of work and making this data available,” the official said.
So far, there has been information asymmetry about the required number of skilled candidates vis-a-vis the availability of jobs under the PMKVY scheme, the official said. The government also plans to keep the implementation agency for PMKVY, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), away from implementation of the proposed district-level plan.
“NSDC can help with capacity creation and serious technical assistance. It can be part of preparation of district-level plans. NSDC’s responsibility is something else, not schemes,” the official said. The ministry also plans to involve industry in a “massive manner”, especially the MSME sector. “We plan to follow a cluster-based model such as training candidates in a group in a specific region. They can do basic training, the cost of which will be borne by the government,” the official said.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was set up in 2014 by the NDA government with the ambition to impart skills and apprenticeship. Earlier this month, Dharmendra Pradhan was given additional charge as Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship after removal of the Minister of State with Independent Charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
Rudy had said that the aim of his ministry was not to ensure jobs but to make the candidates employable and had initiated a shift in the stance of the ministry’s skill training from being supply-driven to demand-driven. A total outlay of Rs 1,500 crore was approved for PMKVY by the Union Cabinet in 2015-16 and Rs 12,000 crore for 2016-2020, to impart skill training to one crore people over four years. Until March 16, 2017, Rs 2,885 crore had been transferred to NSDC for implementation of PMKVY.