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Challenges Faced by Government in Providing the Economy Skilled Workforce

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  Challenges faced by government in providing the economy skilled workforce Current situation of India :   In 2012, there were around 487 million workers, the second largest after China. Of these over 94 percent work in unincorporated unorganized enterprises ranging from pushcart vendors to home-based diamond and gem polishing operations. According to Manpower Group (USA), in Germany, USA, France, and Japan, the percentage of employers finding it difficult in filling jobs is 40%, 57%, 20% and 80% respectively. Even in India which has a large working age pool, 67% employers find it difficult to fill existing jobs with appropriate skilled workers. This indicates a conundrum wherein while high unemployment continues to persist in these economies, employers grapple with lack of appropriate skills in local labour markets. The less formally-educated youth lack proper vocational training and are doomed to drift from one low-paying stint to another. The cost is clear, the government or private institutions will have to spend at least Rs 10,000 to train one person in the right skills. Even at this modest estimate, the bill works out to Rs 530,000 crore   and it is one of the biggest challenge for India. Government’s approach :  Government of India is trying hard to solve this task with the help of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a public-private partnership tasked with funding and directing private skilling programmes and working on Indian Skill Development Ecosystem. The vocational skill development ecosystem in India is multi-faceted, large and provides skill development to an extremely heterogeneous population across a varied employability landscape.   In India, skill development occurs through two broad institutional structures –  formal and informal. The formal structure includes higher technical education in colleges, vocational education in postsecondary schools, technical skilling in specialised institutions and apprenticeship training. But there are many challenges which comes during skill development and faced by government and some of them are listed below:     Awareness: Majority of youth who are either potential new entrants to workforce or existing workers, are not aware of skills demanded by local industry or skill training programs available in their local areas. There is also a complete lack of counseling at employment exchanges. This results in non-skilled youth taking up any employment on offer due to economic pressures which typically is low-end manual work.       Accessibility: Several courses under Craftsman Training Scheme (CTS) in ITIs/ITCs require 10th/12th class pass as entry criteria. Educational attendance rates drop by nearly 86% after the age of 15 years resulting in lakh of youth denied access to ITIs/ITCs due to lack of basic entry criteria e.g. 10/12 pass.   Poor quality of primary and secondary education results in class 8 pass students suffering from lack of literacy and numeracy skills. Students in many areas who have completed Class 5 can barely read or write.      Outreach: Majority of formal institutions are located in urban areas or areas with large population catchments. Private sector institutions are reluctant to operate in rural areas.   Several blocks / large rural population segment areas do not have any formal vocational training institutions.    Employability: A severe gap exists between the employment requirements of industry and current vocational training. This gap is due to irrelevant skills (e.g. manual welding v/s gas welding), outdated curriculum, poor infrastructure and lack of future planning.      Multiplicity: Along with 17 Central Government ministries, several autonomous bodies, civil society organizations and state governments are engaged in vocational training. This institutional multiplicity results in overlapping initiatives with little co-ordination and standardization. Many of these initiatives are implemented based on individual institutional mandates resulting in fragmented outcomes with limited impact.       Standards: There are no competency based occupation standards in India which can be applied to various skill development initiatives e.g. training programs for plumbing should follow same standards irrespective of which institution or department is administering the program.   Convergence of the various skill development initiatives towards a uniform national standard is required urgently.      Curriculum: The curriculum including content, pedagogy and assessment is not aligned with the demands of industry.   Many skills taught are outdated and result in skilled workers not finding employment which addresses their aspirations. Soft-skills including communication and deportment are not integrated with vocational training.      Infrastructure: Many skill development institutions in public and private sectors suffer from lack of hard and soft infrastructure. Apart from a detailed evaluation while sanctioning approval for establishing a new institute, ‘fitness evaluation’  of vocational training institutes is not conducted regularly.   There are no standards for trainers and accreditation of trainers is not conducted.      Employment: Majority of ITI/ITC do not offer job placement services. With employment exchanges performing sub-optimally and a persistent employability gap, ITI/ITC graduates struggle for appropriate employment except in areas with high economic activity. The situation is more serious for MES graduates who often have no placement support. Absence of Labour Management Information System (LMIS) results in poor linkage between skill development and employment. It also impedes a systemic planning for skill development which incorporates local employment demand and skill requirements.      Capacity: A huge gap exists in training requirements and available training capacity. The available skill delivery capacity in India is only 31 lakh seats against an estimated annual increment of 128 lakh workers to workforce. Many ITIs are operating at capacity levels of a few hundred trainees whereas they should be scaled up to a few thousands through innovative skill provisioning models including multiple shifts and usage of technology in teaching.      Mobility: The inflexibility of vocational training and education streams and the rigid separation between them does not allow vertical or horizontal mobility. An individual who enters the vocational training scheme will find it extremely difficult to enter general education stream as no equivalency model between vocational education and training exists currently.      Traceability: There is no national or state level skill registry mechanism which tracks the skill development and employment history of an individual. Once individuals leave a training institute, they are lost to the system as there is no effort / mechanism to track employment history or details of skills individuals acquire subsequently.      Declining Participation of Women: Declining labor force participation rates for women over the past 20 years is another disturbing trend, which needs further research and understanding.   Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, including an increase in years of schooling of women.   One factor that is strongly correlated with this decline is the growth in crime against women in India, but causal links still need to be established.      Casualization of Labour: Another challenge India faces is the massive casualization of labor, which has exacerbated in rural areas owing to the NREGA. Rising rural wages and wage floors, a consequence of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), together with cumbersome labour laws have led to technology displacing labour, as labour becomes relatively more expensive than capital.      Growth of Enterprises: It is clear that there is a need to shift the emphasis from job creation alone, to encouraging enterprise growth. Given the sheer scale of employment growth required in India, job creation alone is unlikely to make any giant strides.    Reference Statistics used from:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_in_India     http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/companies-work-towards-skills-gap-in-india/1/193097.html     http://www.skilldevelopment.gov.in/sites/default/files/resource/e%20Skill%20Development.pdf  Challenging points used from:    http://brookings.in/indias-skilling-challenges-moving-ahead/     http://in.boell.org/sites/default/files/downloads/Briefing_note_2.pdf      http://www.skilldevelopment.gov.in/sites/default/files/resource/e%20Skill%20Development.pdf  
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