Actress Priyanka Chopra latest celeb to push the Skill India Mission
The government is expanding its efforts to promote a large and expensive initiative whose effectiveness has been questioned by previous HT investigations.india Updated: Jun 23, 2017 19:13 IST
As if cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, actor Sidharth Malhotra, and singer Mohit Chauhan weren’t enough, the government has made Priyanka Chopra the latest brand ambassador of its Skill India initiative.
Manish Kumar, the CEO and managing director of the National Skill Development Corporation, which is helping implement Skill India, said that the administration is planning a major new promotional effort. Filming of advertisements is unscheduled, he said, but should start soon.
According to Kumar, celebrities such as Chopra, Kohli, Malhotra, and Chauhan approached the government asking to push the skill initiative free of cost. For example, Chauhan “came to us and was very keen to be part of the Skill India mission in India and abroad,” said Kumar. “Soon he is going to do a concert in the US, and he wants us to tell him what message he can share there on skill development.”
Actress and entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra had also expressed her interest in starting a venture under the Skill India mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Skill India on July 15, 2015, aiming initially to spend Rs 1,500 crore to train and find jobs for 2.4 million young people. The first phase, however, led to only 5% of participants finding a job by some measures.
Multiple HT investigations have uncovered numerous problems with the program. Training centres have been found to lack the infrastructure necessary to train even a fraction of their supposed enrollees, and the Aadhaar numbers of lakhs of supposed candidates have been unverifiable, possibly an indication of inflated statistics. Another Central skill program, Udaan in Kashmir, has been similarly beset by low success rates and dodgy statistics despite whopping expenditures, according to an HT report.
At the time of publication, the press representatives of the celebrities boosting Skill India were being contacted in the hope of eliciting their comments.