An Overview of 5 Years of Empowerment: Kaushal Bharat Yojana

Has Kaushal Bharat Yojna been able to achieve the goals it was launched for?

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Even as Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s incumbent government races to the elections in 2019, their flagship program, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), has shown a mixed bag of results according to the Sharada Prasada Committee report on Skilling India.

Skilll India

Evaluation of Performance

After the program was launched in July 2015, an amount of INR 1500 crore was allotted for its purposes. The goal, then, was to impart training to needy youth in industry-relevant skills for immediate employment to 2.4 million people. Disregarding the number of those who were merely being reskilled for alignment of competencies to current practices, the nodal authority, the National Skill Development Council, exceeded its target by completing coaching for 1.8 million people and certifying another 1.2 million people in the first year itself.

In 2016, a revamped version of the KVY was launched. This program aimed to provide training to 10 million young people by 2020 and carried a budget of INR 12,000 crore for this purpose. However, data has shown that only 1.4 million people were trained by the NSDC under the reward program, while 0.9 million people were certified and 0.1 million people were actually placed. That makes up just 8.5per cent of those who underwent skilling programs.

PMKVY Placing Over Emphasis on Short-term Courses

India’s ‘Skill India’ mission is pledged to facilitate the entry of 104.62 million new employees into the industry by 2022. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the National Skill Development Council was expected to train 2.4 million youth in 2015 in various short-term skill courses. The NSDC exceeded its targets in the first year but fell short in the second year. A very low percentage of learners were actually placed. The reasons have been attributed to excessive targets and the short-term skills the program laid emphasis upon.

Hence to meet the targets of the Skill India mission and alleviate the gap between skills and labour supply, a more holistic approach encompassing longer-term skills and combinations with career-spanning competencies are needed. Also, the government must include their project partners in policy making so that the gap between on ground reality and policy can be minimized and maximum can be reaped against the resources (time, money, energy) engaged. The NITI Aayog has correctly pointed out that an engaging way to measure skill development indicators is urgently required to accurately gauge where society stands today.

Employability Attitudes Need to be Inculcated From School

The government hopes to build vast banks of employable workers rapidly and in a standard manner by strengthening institutions and infrastructure, exploring synergies between the government and industry and roping in overseas stakeholders and facilitators. The same policies also envision re-skilling 400 million people by 2022. However, it has also been underlined by various surveys conducted among the youth for whom the program was meant that certifications and skills do not match their aspirations or their aptitudes. To resolve this dilemma, it has been suggested, that employability skills and attitudes be inculcated in school-going children from a very early age. Our youth need to understand that professions require hard work, patience and one may be required to perform a lot of labour while striving to reach the career path one is best suited to. Varied experiences of different trades will only help shape their character and give them something to fall back should they fail in the venture closest to their hearts.

Children need to be made to understand that no value is created from scratch and that hard work is rewarded by applying the psychology of instant rewards or punishment in the form of loss. That way when these children grow up, a culture of working-for-a-living and corresponding work-reward correlations would have been innately formed at the working age.

Sustainable Skills Training Required

At the same time, one cannot absolve the government for its failure to conduct adequate research and make skilling programs relevant to actual demand in the industry. Where technical skills are increasingly likely to be automated in the future it makes no sense to train youth to perform traditional assembly line functions. Knowledge of digital systems and how they are likely to affect trades and vocations in the present is essential if the skill program is to remain relevant and last the learner over a lifetime by helping her to learn how to learn herself.