iconimg Monday, August 03, 2015

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 12, 2009
The tug of war between the state governments and private players over the control on modernisation of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) has finally forced the Manmohan Singh government to fund the process on its own. The Union government will pump in more money to modernise the 1,896 ITIs across the country, which at present enroll over five lakh students.

The government earmarked Rs. 5,291 crore to rejuvenate these institutes, which include Rs. 1,581 crore from the World Bank and Rs. 3,550 crore it hoped to raise through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

While the institutes managed to spend just 7.35 per cent of allocated funds since 2007, the government received only Rs. 41.88 crore from industry.

The private partners were reluctant to invest since the state governments were not ready to share control with them, informed a senior government functionary, not willing to be quoted.

While rejuvenating the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM), Singh announced in 2008 that the government was looking at adopting an industry-prescribed curriculum to make the pass-outs more employable.

There was also the need to ensure job training of students with the industry, a Planning Commission official said.

With only two per cent of the workforce being skilled, if the number did not grow substantially, the employability of young Indians would be restricted to menial jobs only, insiders pointed out.

The situation could also affect India’s ambition to lead in the services sector, which provides a much-needed impetus to the economy’s overall growth of the country.

The government is also planning to take a new approach of professional alliance with the private sector.

It feels this would be necessary to check chronic problems like huge shortage of teaching staff and high dropout rates.

Creating better and modern ITIs to meet the needs of industry was the core of the NSDM.

Its failure is likely to raise alarm bells. This is so because the national workforce is likely to go up by 45 million over the Eleventh Plan period (2007-2012) while the country needed to employ nearly 58 million people to meet public aspirations.