Skill India Programme – Demographic advantage towards vibrant economy
To become a $5 trillion economy, India’s GDP needs to go faster with more than 7.5 per cent which was there in the last five years. The June 2020 Global Economic Prospects forecast a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020. For emerging market and developing countries, many of which face daunting vulnerabilities, it is critical to strengthen public health systems, address the challenges posed by informality, and implement reforms that will support strong and sustainable growth once the health crisis abates.
So how is India at advantage to lead the position given it’s vulnerabilities and the geo-political situation? We would look at one of the big initiative that is Skill India Programme that will propel India to take a pole position owing to its various advantages. Skill India is not just a programme but a movement providing youth who are jobless, college and school dropouts, along with the educated ones, from rural and urban areas, all with a certification who complete a particular skill or programme. This certificate is recognized by all public and private agencies and entities, including overseas organizations.
India’s population is one of the youngest in the world with average age of an Indian being at 29 versus 40 years in America, 46 years in Europe and 47 years in Japan. This young population is increasingly fairly educated which makes for a very large target population for skills training. The young population can be segregated into three segments – School (15-19 years), College (20-24 years) and Young working population (25-35 years).
The Indian Governments efforts have showed results and currently approx.. 60% of 15-19 years olds have received formal education or training. The remaining 30% have received some level of education, and 10% have never attended school in this age group. The unemployment rates are very low for individuals who are illiterate or with primary school level education suggesting that they have found some form of employment with low wages. There is a significant need for skilling among this population as there is no formal recognition or certification of their prior skills. The focus needs to be on short course skill training programmes with emphasis on employment in high growth sectors. Sector specific skills are important as they assist with placement and help individuals change or target new sectors of employment.
Engagement with nodal bodies such as Sector Skills Councils, private training providers with national reach or direct engagement with State Skill Development Missions (SSDM), provide the best platform of engagement for international providers.
There is a reason for concern for this segment, which suggest that there is significant unemployment rate especially for non-technical graduate degree holders. This implies that most graduates need additional skills that can make them more employable as per industry requirements. These students need to get a certification that is recognized by majority of the employers.
Engaging with higher education students while at the university presents a significant opportunity for international partnerships.
Young working Segment
This segment has the more diverse group that spreads across people working in agriculture sector to the advanced manufacturing units. The educational background of this group is varied from being matriculate, higher secondary, graduation, technical diploma or post-graduate degree and accordingly the aspiration also varies from financial ability to self-fund training. Professional qualifications play an increasingly significant role in this sector that includes cross sector skills like leadership & management and industry- specific qualifications like accountancy.
Gearing up towards the new patterns in employment in India
As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the globe, businesses and workforce are wading through the crisis with grit, determination and innovative practices.
At present, given the situation, the primary aim for most of us is maintaining some level of momentum while protecting ourselves physically, mentally and financially. As we’re integrating back into society and ‘returning to normal’, people with niche skillsets will be in demand to help restore businesses and economies back to their former glory.
With the right skills to hand, it’s likely that the vast majority of sectors and industries will prevail in the end. Our present situation has taught us that the virtual competencies and technologies empower us to create, connect, and progress during a crisis.
Below some specific skills that will prove particularly valuable during the COVID-19 recovery phase.
IT & ITeS Sector Skill Council
The reality is that technologies such as AI, Big Data, IoT, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position. Whether you work in a manufacturing or in any service sector in a post-coronavirus world, you need to be comfortable with these tech tools as well as be able to work with them effectively. Both the College and Young-working segment will be best suited for IT & ITeS Certification and training.
The occupational standards drafted by IT-ITeS Sector Skill Council have been approved by the Qualification Review Committee (QRC). After these standards have been NSQF aligned/NSQC cleared, these will be promulgated as National Occupational Standards.
Automotive Skill Development Council
During the coronavirus recovery phase, brand messaging and communications skills will be in high demand across industries.
As we embark on a new business chapter after the coronavirus crisis has passed, brands will have to reposition their messaging to meet the new needs, and indeed new mindsets, of their clients, partners and consumers. As such, people with content strategy, creative writing, and concise digital copywriting skills will be required to provide transparent, personalized information, in order to drive brand re-engagement.
Here also, the College and the Young-working segment will be best suited for the relevant training and certification.
Food Industry Capacity and Skill Initiative (FICSI) Sector Skill Council
The COVID-19 pandemic is already ushering in a host of challenges to industrial manufacturers, especially those that depend on workers whose jobs cannot be carried out remotely. Safeguarding consumer and workforce health is priority number-one among businesses and governments. Therefore any manufacturing sector, which can try to reduce the exposure of a person to large group interfaces, can ideally start the operations with all precautions in place.
Food processing is a hands-on skill building exercise, so while the FICSI has created the classroom experience through digital learning content, for hands-on experience a person has to go to a lab or a factory or a training centre—let’s say for baking, etc. Going forward, the FICSI aims to help create more and more localized jobs. Small units such as baking bread can be set up with capital of just Rs 2-3 lakh, and that can cater to the local requirements so that a person can become self-sufficient. In addition to baking, manufacturing of pickle, papad, jam, jelly, ketchup, etc, can be easily set up.
Here the School segment populations are best suited for the training and certifications.
Majority of the sectors are undergoing transformation that is driving a significant demand for new skills and large-scale skilling programmes.