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UD Choubey, Director General, Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), the apex organisation of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of skill development and the public sector's role in it. Excerpts:
How important is skill development in India today? Where does India stand?
Skill development is inter-linked with overall employability. India today don't need just employment but better paid employment to drive poverty and build on productivity, innovation and higher growth. Given the 'demographic dividend', India is blessed with the world's youngest work force which makes the process of skill development crucial in enhancing production possibilities. Therefore, skill development is one area which requires maximum attention by way of internationally bench marked skill development in a time bound manner. With such large human resources, India is set to become a super economic power in the world with skilled manpower. Specialisation in IT sector has witnessed such an opportunity bringing dominance across the world. On the same pattern, we could develop skill in areas to start a dominant position in other service sector. Skill development, therefore, is the most essential ingredient of socio economic growth of our country.
What measures are being taken to facilitate skill development?
Let us confess and agree that the education system in India is not evolved enough to give proper space for skill development. A large proportion of Indian labour force is left with outdated skills. As envisaged in the Eleventh Five Year Plan and approach paper to 12th Plan, the formation of a comprehensive national skill development mission through PM's National Council, National Skill Development Coordination Board etc are steps in the right direction. But requirement is large and infrastructure and facilities are just inadequate.
What role does corporate India play for skill development?
The national policy on skill development is an expression of interest and action involving all stakeholders, be it public or private. Corporate India whether public or private, could play the leadership role. But there is urgent requirement for mandatory allocation and yearly target meeting in terms of skill development of working population. Many private and public companies have not only readily acknowledged the serious lacunae in the skill sets of our labour force, but have responded positively by pro-actively setting up of their own training institutions.
What role could the central public sector undertakings play?
Training and development has always been a distinguishing feature of the CPSUs. The public sector has sought to achieve overall excellence by focusing on good human resource practices and skill development. SCOPE, the apex body of public enterprises has instituted SCOPE Meritorious Award for best practices in human resource management to encourage and reward more PSEs to create opportunities for skill enhancement. The triple bottomline that the PSUs vouch for in their work processes signifies people, planet and profit. People are the base on which PSEs work to attain meaningful productivity and profitability.
What suggestions do you have to improve upon the present policy on skill development?
The challenge is in providing skill development to approximately 500 million people by 2022. There is a need to identify skill development needs of various industry sectors and prepare a catalogue of industry-wise skill types, developing sector skill development plan and skill competency standards. Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in every village can restore the relevance of vocational education in the employability of country's youth.