A toned-down version of a proposed national-level authority to boost the UPA government’s skill training programme across India with the help of private sector got the nod of a ministerial group last week.
A group of ministers headed by finance minister P Chidambaram approved the setting up of a National Skill Development Authority (NSDA) as an attached office of the Planning Commission to implement skill development across the nation.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred the matter to a GoM when several central ministers opposed it saying it would create another “bureaucratic set-up” in the government.
Even the efforts of the National Skill Development Board headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia to push for a uniform skill development policy across the board had failed as individual ministries were not willing to budge. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, HRD minister Pallam Raju, labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge and tribal affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo had opposed the proposal moved by the Planning Commission.
A government official said the ministries feared losing their dominance in skill upgradation sector as the proposed authority would take up their functions. He added that the ministries were not open to reforms that would attract private players to get involved in skill development programmes.
The GoM decided in favour of the authority but slotted a bigger role for the ministries in the implementation of the skill development programme as envisaged in the original proposal. “The ministries will continue to run their sector specific skill development programmes and receive money for their schemes directly from the finance ministry,” the official said.
The new authority will also play a pivotal role in helping the private sector setting up skill training centres on their own or with government bodies. The authority would be mandated to provide skills for employment to 50 million youth by end of the 12th five year plan (2017).