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Making India self-reliant

About 50 to 60 million people need to be skilled annually

education Updated: May 22, 2012 15:20 IST
Garima Upadhyay

Dilip Chenoy, managing director and chief executive officer, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), talks to HT Education about the achievements and challenges of the vocational skill training sector

A report by FICCI says that the current capacity for vocational skill training and higher technical education is 3.4 million people per year. By 2020, however, the demand for newly-trained employees will be 15 million people per year. What is NSDC doing to help India meet this target?
National skills policy 2009 said that the current capacity of training stands at 3.4 million people per year and if you have to train 500 million people by 2022, you will have to raise this capacity to 40 to 50 million. Last year, approximately four million people were skilled in the country. This means that we have to take this four million to a figure of 50 to 60 million per year, in order to reach the stated statistics in 10 years time. There is a huge shortage of capacity. NSDC is working at two levels: one, to utilise the existing capacity to its fullest and second, transform existing capacity to make people employable. Our role is to help set up scalable, sustainable skill development initiatives that would skill around 150 million people in the next few years. Instead of focusing on one small unit that skill about a 1,000 people per year, we are looking at entities that can do a 100,000 people over 10 years. At the same time, we are looking at smaller entities that can do 500,000. And even smaller entities that can skill around a million or more people in the coming years. We are looking at small, medium and large sized projects.

Which organisations can approach NSDC for funds? How much funding will they get?
We are looking at small, medium and large sized projects at the same time. In the next two to three years, our focus is to fund entities that have a capacity to skill at least 15 to 20 million people per year, because you can't operate at full capacity utilisation. Although the target is 150 million, we are aiming a figure of 250 million people. We fund entities that can be start-ups, NGOs, other existing skill providers, companies not in the skills space… to set up scalable skill development initiatives. We only have four requirements: Training at least a 100,000 people over 10 years; 70% of the people you train should get placed; it should be a sustainable business model; the certifications should be certified by industry and sector skill councils that we are setting up. So, any organisation with scalable, sustainable business model that ensures employability of the resources trained including start-ups can approach us. NSDC is looking to fund businesses that seek to create employable people across all sections of the society. We will fund up to 75% of the project cost.

The labour ministry plans to set up 1,500 new ITIs and 5000 skill development centres, across the country. How is NSCD involved in this?
NSDC is providing the finance. We are promoting entrepreneurship. Our partners, last year, set up around 529 permanent centres and 2951 mobile centres. This year they are going to add more, they are operating out of 365 districts in the country (next year the numbers will go up).

What challenges lie ahead of the NSDC?
The problem why people don’t take up vocational training is that it is not aspirational. The mindset is to get a degree at any cost. And in a situation where you have a degree and no job, it is better to not have a degree and have a job. This mindset is what we have to change and is the most challenging. In our research, what we found was that a mechanic while applying for a job might not be considered, because he has no formal training or experience. Through sector skill council, we plan to address this very element pf the problem. Nasscom, in a statement, said that only one in four engineering graduates in India is employable, based on their technical skills, English fluency, teamwork and presentation skills and of the 4 lakh odd engineering graduates, who graduate each year, only about 20% is good enough for India Inc. In a situation like this, re-skilling is a daunting task.

How does NSDC plan to meet these challenges?
NSDC aims to achieve the mandate through three key pillars, that is, by creating, funding and enabling organisations to set up sustainable business models around skilling and re-skilling people. The West works on employer-led certification systems, where the employer’s group does the job. In India, however, we plan to set up sector skills councils (groups of industries working together), which will assess people and provide certifications. The hope is to get the employers to pay more for the certified employees. If sector skill councils can achieve this, it will be a huge step way forward.

We are promoting entrepreneurship. Our partners, last year, set up around 529 permanent centres and 2951 mobile centres Dilip Chenoy, managing director and chief executive officer, National Skill Development Corporation