It is almost a year since the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), or the Skill India mission, with the aim of giving as many as 2.4 million young Indians industry-relevant training with an elaborate certification scheme. One year is too short a time to assess true progress in a bureaucracy-driven system of the kind India has, but, given the NDA’s earnestness to create jobs by the millions it is only proper to alert the government on the pitfalls of a system that shows early signs of a familiar drift.
According to the official website, 1.97 million people (as of today) have completed training and as many as 1.22 million have been certified under the scheme. Those numbers are indeed impressive. However, news reports say only 82,000 of the 1.76 million officially trained at the end of April were actually recorded as having jobs. Official explanations suggest that data reporting on actual employment has been inadequate and also that the scheme aims for employability and not job assurance. While these factors may be true, they are unlikely to cut ice in the larger public discourse . The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Someone is bound to ask: Where are the jobs?
An estimated Rs 1,500 crore of taxpayer money is being spent on the scheme. We may point out that a recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India found holes in the Gujarat Skill Development Mission. What the Centre needs is an effective mechanism to ensure that those who deserve jobs get them and there is a system to tell who got where – or did not. This is vital in view of investments being sought for ambitious schemes such as the Make In India, Digital India and Startup India. In an age when tigers are counted with microchips and the Aadhar card is becoming a national currency for tracking individuals, surely the government can keep a benign on eye on those trained under its ambitious scheme? We might otherwise see a big gap in those trying bridge skill gaps for the masses.