"We have to make India the skill capital of the world"

Pilot cum politician, Rajiv Pratap Rudy is excited to see the countries such as Afghanistan, Malawi, Bangladesh and Bhutan which are absolutely keen to learn from India’s experiences of skill training. Rudy, union minister of state (independent charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), who had already served as a minister in the Vajpayee government, believes there is a very stable government at the Centre, which has given certain directions that are visible. In conversation with BW Businessworld’s Suman K. Jha and Himani Chandna, Rudy says that more and more women candidates are coming forward to learn skills. Edited excerpts:


1.   What is the progress report on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India Mission?

Over the past two years, a number of countries have expressed interest in collaborating with MSDE and support the Skill India Mission. The latest is that the countries including United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Singapore – a pack of global leaders in the area of vocational education and skill development -- have offered to collaborate with MSDE to share best practices.


2.   How do you plan to reap the best out of these associations?

We are actively engaging with the world in skill development through collaborations with foreign Governments and institutions. These collaborations broadly focus on four key areas --  sharing international best practices, benchmarking Indian standards in accordance with international standards, training of trainers and enhancing the capacity of existing institutions in India’s skill training ecosystem. Key agencies under the Ministry such as the Directorate General of Training, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) operationalise these partnerships through MSDE.


3.   Which is the other focus areas under Skill India Mission?  

The mission is ‘Let's make India the skill capital of the world,’ as given by our Prime Minister.  We are keen to bridge the global shortage of labor force in the coming years by reaping the demographic dividend of young Indian labor force. To meet this objective, we are setting up India International Skill Centre (IISC) provide skill trainings and certification benchmarked to International Standards. This is an important step towards the realization of the Prime Minister's vision of transforming India into the skill capital of the world.

4.   How will these India International Skill Centre’s will function?  

International Skill Centers are being set up through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and shall be implementing the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) to the youth seeking global mobility for jobs. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) shall provide support for pre-departure orientation training, which includes language and soft skills training modules.

5.   What have been the main achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last three years?


First, we have succeeded in changing the narrative of this government – which is of conviction now. Everything comes out from this. The narrative is, ‘Gareeb, Berozgaar, Naujavan, Mazdoor and Kisan’, and last man (in the queue). We are celebrating three years of government, along with the 100 years of Pandit Deen Dayal Uphadayay. The key achievements are reforms, programmes for the poor and establishing a transparent delivery mechanism with accountability in the government. There is a very stable government at the Centre, which has given certain directions that are visible.


6.   The Skill Ministry was established in November 2014. What are the achievements and challenges?


For me, the biggest challenge was define skills. After two-and-half years, when we talk about skills, for whom, how, where – the process and the curriculum, the process of training, etc., have been put in place. Beyond the process of training is the assessment for the examination and then taking them to the world of employment. This whole ecosystem is in process and the larger framework is the National Skills Qualifications Framework, the training of which is outcome based. It is industry demand-driven. Training was the biggest challenge and hence the larger platform definition has been created, which is being adopted by the States and the Centre. Even the private sector has started aligning to this whole ecosystem.


7.   Skill India timelines are very ambitious. Are you confident that you will be able to achieve the targets in the timeline? Where’s the timeline?


The target was created by the Manmohan Singh government in the unorganised sector – 400 million figure was drawn in the unorganoised sector. So, there will be a shortfall of existing workforce and those joining the workforce. A million youngsters might join the workforce and that would be a backlog. We are catering to this demand and improving the overall skill ecosystem for those who are already in the process – to put them in fresh categories of certification and training. So, 400 million figure was only achievable if it was like primary education started in the country 60 years ago. If there was a parallel system of primary skill centres, secondary skill centres and tertiary skill centres, and if it existed in the ecosystem, the 400 million target would have been achieved.


8.   What has been the roadmap like? What are the Ministry’s other achievements?


The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has trained more than 1.17 crore aspirants in various skills through MSDE schemes and programmes since the inception of Skill India. It is a silent revolution that is underway and is a joint investment that the government along with the private partners, is making for the country’s growth. It is a path that needs to be travelled very carefully since it involves the future of our youth. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 26.5 lakh people have got trained in skills of their choice till date, of which 50 per cent are women candidates. It is good to see that more and more women candidates are coming forward to take up skills.


9.   What will be your roadmap for the next two years?


My roadmap is to see the implementation and create the deliverables for the schemes that we have already launched. Now is the time to deliver and show the product. Not anything fresh. Revamp of the structure of ITIs, which is already in the last phase, is something very important. We will be notifying the new structure, which will come up and the ITI’s will be exactly like the Prime Minister has said; like the IITs. That is my ambition.


10.               We have been witnessing jobless growth for lots of years together. So, do you think that the skilling mission has managed to make a difference to the entire ecosystem?


I am unable to train as many people who are required at entry level jobs. The connection with the industry indicates that we are still falling short of entry level jobs. At the same time, the ministry is also talking about, ‘not to become an employee, but to become an employer’. So, that is one thing we are focusing in a big way. We are talking about the YUVA programme. We have started mentorship in ITIs with 23 lakh students and other short term skilling courses.

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