In order for India to fulfil its potential, it must ensure its youth today is fully equipped to embrace the jobs of tomorrow.
India's 1.3 billion young and ambitious demographic is one of the key engines driving the country to its path to a 5 trillion dollar economy. According to data collected by the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, India has a relative advantage over other countries in terms of the distribution of youth population. As per the 2018 census, India had largest population of youth in the world, spanning a whooping 600 million youth. However, in order for India to fulfil its potential, it must ensure its youth today is fully equipped to embrace the jobs of tomorrow.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, rapid digitalisation was already fast changing the future of work. Newer technologies are not just shaping existing jobs but also creating new jobs that need specific skills and training to fill. For example, India, today faces a shortage of over 1 million cyber security professionals to fill important jobs in the sector according to the Data Security Council of India.
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According a Great Learning study on the AI industry in India in 2019 found that 4,000 positions are lying vacant due to a shortage of people with the requisite skills. While a more recent report by Udemy, titled Global Skill Gap shows that nearly 92 per cent of full-time employees in India believe that India's workforce is competitive in the global market. But agree that there is a skills gap in the country.
The Modi government has been at the forefront at taking active steps to address this skills gap. In 2015, the Skill India initiative was with a view to train Indians in different industry-related jobs. The National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was also launched in 2015 to accomplish the vision of Skill India.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, launched in 2015 is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The PMKVY provides training and development of employable skills to increase employability and working efficiency.
The Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) was launched on 19th January 2018 to bring about convergence in infusing quality in skill development programs, making them market relevant and accessible while ensuring private participation in the context of short-term training.
Launched in 2014 by The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), the DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth. It does this by focussing on rural youth between the ages of 15 and 35. As a part of the Skill India campaign, it plays an instrumental role in supporting the social and economic programs of the government like the Make In India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-Up India, Stand-Up India campaigns.
The Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) was initiated under Digital India Programme households in rural areas to make them digitally literate.Via the National Digital Literacy Mission or the Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) or National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) the government has been imparting IT training to individuals including Anganwadi and ASHA workers and authorised ration dealers in all the Indian States/Union territories across the country to ensure IT literateracy.
The Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), under the Prime Minister′s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) focusses on honing entrepreneurial skills through the Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institutes (RUDSETI)/(RSETIs) and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), KVIB training centres as well as other national level Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (EDIs).
Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) is World Bank funded project that was approved by the Indian government in November 2016. The project aims at creating awareness through industry clusters/ geographical chambers that would address the challenge of involvement of micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
In addition, the Government of India through its diplomatic outreach has also signed several memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with various countries to actively pursue skills training such as setting up of model centres of excellence and training the trainer schemes. These include agreements with government departments and private and public educational institutions in the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Japan, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Iran.
Private organisation and corporates too have a big role to play when it comes to pitching in the skills development projects. Currently, several private organisations are focussing on skill development programmes and training as part of their CSR spending.
Some examples include ICICI Academy for Skills which is the flagship initiative of ICICI Foundation. GAIL in the past year has been operating two GAIL Institute of Skills (GIS) in Nagaram, East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh and Guna, Madhya Pradesh. Tata Power, through its skill development endeavour, Tata Power Skill Development Institute (TPSDI), has been trying to fill the skill-gap in the Indian power sector by training youth with employable skills. SMART Centres set up by Tech Mahindra facilitate training youth from poor sections of society with the requisite employability skills through a structured training program, ensuring that they are placed in suitable dignified jobs. Ramco Cements Limited Chief Executive Officer Mr.A.V.Dharmakrishnan and Managing Director of Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation Mr.V.Vishnu, IAS, signed MOU on 19th September 2020 for setting up an Apex Skill Development Centre (ASDC) for imparting high-end skill training in the Construction and Infrastructure sector.
Digital education company UpGrad is recently announced new pricing options for their national and international university-certified programs that will allow the 100 million working population across the country to start a Degree, Diploma, and Certificate programs with payment instalments of Rs 10,000 per month and upwards.
MNC's present in India have also been doing their bit, as part of their mandatory CSR spending. Only recently Schaeffler India signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to implement a National University Students′ Skill Development (NUSSD) programme, for providing skill training to 350 graduating students from three colleges in Vadodra in Gujarat. The programme will cover training in eight diploma courses in banking and financial market, exports and imports management services, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, travel and tourism, pharma sales management, and retail management. Then, IBM has developed a 'new-collar curriculum' in partnership with the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India, that offers a two-year Advanced Technical Diploma Programme at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across the country as part of the collaboration.
In a recent webinar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee Former Secretary, Government of India, and Former Director General & CEO- IICA, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs said in his address. "Covid-19 poses special challenges for skill development. Promoting education, special education, employment-enhancing vocational skills is the need of the hour and our law has been successful in addressing that. Difficulty in skilling, re-skilling, and people′s employment are some of the key challenges we need to address. The government must now act as a facilitator and encourage corporates to go more into the skill development."
As Covid-19 continues to impact and change the world, the future work will continue to alter rapidly. Already, working from home has become an established norm, digital technology is accelerating quickly to accommodate the large number of people that are now forced to work remotely and with it all of course is the need for fast adoption and adaptation of these new processes, which require constant upskilling and reskilling. Implementing this for a large pool of youth certainly poses a challenge. The good news, however, is that the foundation has already been laid by the Modi government. All that remains is for the government, private sector and individuals to build upon it.