Union skill development and entrepreneurship minister, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, today said India in past 65 years had spent generously on education and kept neglecting skill development, which has today resulted in a huge shortage of skilled workforce, needed by the industry.
“In past 65 years we have spent most of our time talking about education. Lakhs and crores were spent in education and we thought imparting skill was part of education. But skill development did not happen and it remained neglected. Academics is different from skill development and we have to understand that. In India we today even don’t have entry-level skilled manpower which the industry demands highly,” said Rudy.
Rudy said till the present government came to power, there were 24 different ministries doing skill development under 70-odd schemes. “There was no structure and no framework for skill development. The biggest challenge before my ministry is to bring convergence of all these schemes. For ‘Skill India’ mission to succeed we need active participation of the state governments. We at the Centre can only create a sample or a dummy, the states have to take that forward to the nook and corners,” he said.
Citing an example, Rudy said Rajasthan recently had to hire a group of technicians from Peru as India, despite having such a large workforce, lacked skilled people for that particular job. “More than engineers, the industry needs entry-level skilled workforce. We have to take skill development on a mission mode,” he said.
Rudy also called upon the industry to participate actively in ‘Skill India’ mission to create a sound pool of skilled workforce. He was in the city to take part in a conference on skill development, organised by Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), the leading trade and industry body of North East.
“As compared to countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea where 55%, 68% and 96% of the total population is skilled respectively, the Indian figure is just 4.5%. And I can say for Northeast, this figure would be much less,” said Rudy.
A study done by FINER on skill development in Northeastern states found that lack of skilling models that are workable and can be practiced is one of the major factors hindering the skill development practices in the region. It said although many agencies were doing skill development through various approaches, yet most of them lacked innovation and were not scalable.
The minister said under the ‘Skill India’ mission, North east would get enhanced priority. He said Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) would be set up in all the districts of the region soon. “By March you can see the effects of Skill India mission in Northeast. We are planning to set up ITIs in all the districts and also other skill development institutes in the region as per need.” Rudy asked the industry of the region to actively participate in skill development of the region and recommended one member each for all the 40 Sector Skill Councils from FINER. The minister also proposed to restructure NSDC and include FINER as a member.
“We plan to engage with the Union skill development ministry in a large scale in coming days. We also plan to sign a memorandum of understating with the ministry to make our plans for skill development in the region more workable,” said Amit Jain, vice chairman of FINER.