Clearly there is no walking the talk for the newly created Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry. While development of skills may be a buzzword for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s policies, very few moves have taken place on the ground to get the new ministry going.
While the duties have been allocated through a Cabinet Secretariat notification dated July 31, the skill development ministry hasn’t been allocated any office or staff, neither any official infrastructure nor the vehicles and computers etc. Already figuring as a pivotal ministry in the NDA regime, it has no official address yet.
While Venkaiah Naidu’s urban development ministry on August 20 has acknowledged two letters dated July 15 and August 11 for allotment of office accommodation to the skill development ministry, the matter is still “under examination”.
The skill development ministry had requested for about 5,500 sq feet of office space—preferably within Shastri Bhavan—to house about 50 department employees including the secretary, who incidentally is the only appointee of the department till now.
In the absence of a room, the secretary — Sunil Arora, a 1980 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer who took over on September 2—is reported to be functioning from a room in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Stadium, as the minister Sarbananda Sonowal is the sports and youth affairs minister too.
Additionally the skill development ministry had also requested the Cabinet Secretariat in the first week of August for transfer of the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T) to the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry “with immediate effect so that the new department may take off effectively and duplication of work avoided.” Government sources on condition of not being identified told HT no headway has been made on this issue too.
DGE&T is the apex organisation for development and coordination of programmes relating to vocational training at the national level. It is considered key to the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry’s plan to produce a 500 million trained work force by 2022 which will not only cater to demands within the country but also globally.