The Prime Minister’s ambitious Skill India campaign has come under criticism for not being as aggressive in its approach. In fact, findings of a government panel raised question marks on the efficacy of government subsidized skilling programmes, casting a shadow on the Prime Minister’s coveted Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
However, two-and-half years after the Ministry of Skill Development was constituted, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the person in-charge of the dauntingtask of skilling 400 million people by 2022, is combative and focused as he outlines his priorities and challenges in a conversation with Shweta Punj, Senior Editor, India Today.
Q) You have pointed out rightly that we need to build an employable workforce, what are your priority sectors?
A) Now that we have added the services sector, it has the largest potential for employment. If you look at the retail sector, we require about 1.6 crore youngsters to join the retail sector, the apparel sector, textiles, hospitality, the tourism sector and the health sector- where you need blood sample collectors, dialysis assistants – all these are not in the formal medical education system. So once we are able to create the curriculum for short term skilling and then they move as an apprentice to an establishment where hands on training takes place, it is a work force which is skilled. All this should have happened parallel to the education system in the last 60 years but since all this has been left behind – it will take some more time to stabilize.
Q) We have always had polytechnics and ITI’s. How different is your strategy now?
A) Biggest challenge was convergence and syncing. From short term skilling to 8th drop out- to 8th plus 2 years. It is from there to tenth, plus 2 years of it- then polytechnics being migrated from HRD to Skill Development Ministry, all this is an indication of creating a parallel vertical of skilling for school dropouts to diplomas.
Q) How much of a challenge is it to find good trainers/ teachers?
A) Very difficult. That is why we are partnering with Indian Armed Forces, Public Sector Undertakings. We have created a portal where all these people who have the skills, post retirement can partner with us. We have worked on a lot of partnerships with other countries.
Q) So, what targets are you working with?
A) My ministry on its own has to train about a crore in the next 2.5 years. Demand for training at entry level is outstripping the capacity of the training centres.
Q) Yes, training centres- why don’t we see enough of them?
A) Now it is coming up. That was the challenge, initially when it was coming up, it was not in the right ecosystem, a lot of rif-raf. Now, we have visible training centres where you can walk in and see for yourself. This was the biggest challenge. Through this, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra which is being established in Parliamentary constituencies across the country – whereever they have come up there is visible short term training. The youngsters come in large numbers to get themselves trained.
Q) But a lot of questions have been raised on the efficacy of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Yojana?
A)That was because of the franchise system. We have issued a notification and we have got rid of it. We only deal with individual centres which have a branded, standardized format and not people who are subletting it – that had created problems but we could check it in time.
Read more: IndiaToday