Interview/ Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship
Please comment on the progress of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
PMKVY has seen some great achievements over the last one year. Our flagship scheme PMKVY today has total 19,74,624 enrolments. Of these, 19,72,832 have completed their training and till date 12,08,083 have been certified. The scheme is implemented by 32 Sector Skill Councils and have 416 jobs roles across 29 states and 6 Union Territories. The ministry of skill development through National Skill Development Corporation has conducted 410 Kaushal Melas across the country to ensure the schemes reach to its right target audience.
Project implementing agencies (PIAs) have complained that paying a stipend to trainees has brought a lot of non-serious candidates into the system
No stipend is being paid to candidates for undertaking the training. Only to motivate those who do have financial constraints to undertake the trainings, PMKVY offers monetary rewards to candidates. The monetary reward for various job roles within a sector varies as per job role levels. Higher incentives will be given for training in manufacturing, construction and plumbing sectors. This amount was arrived at after taking various factors like cost of training,willingness of trainees to pay and other relevant factors into consideration.
Monetary reward will be directly transferred to the bank account of the beneficiary on completion of the training and successfully clearing the assessment and certification under the scheme. A candidate is eligible to receive monetary reward only once during the course of the scheme. For successful certification and receipt of reward amount, candidate must have a valid bank account and Aadhaar number.
Some experts have found that due to the narrowing of the skill premium, the incentive to skill oneself has fallen.
I think what you mean is low aspiration for skills when you say narrowing of skill premium. Yes, at the macro level, the challenge today is around building aspiration and respect for skills among the youth, their parents and peers. Doing something practically than theoretically has been something which has not been pushed by both,the system and the parents since ages now. Also respecting our partners who assist us in our day to day lives without whom life is impossible like our domestic help, our driver, our gardener, carpenter is not something that has grown into us as a culture. We call for their help, pay them but do not respect them for their work and the value they bring to us. A slight behavioural shift is the need of the hour for us to acknowledge and value of skills around us.
The progress of our country will only happen if we focus on the progress our youth, right from their early years. There is a need for parents to encourage their children to enjoy more of practical sessions so that they realise their passion while experiencing or doing something with their innate skills. Once they realise their inclination, they can acquire a skill set which makes them even better in whatever that they like to do.
Some PIAs say that norms related to matters like salary payments to trainees make it harder for them ensure placements, as a number of prospective employers are MSMEs with limited stomach for things like paper work and direct credit of salaries to employees' bank accounts
It is true that this is happening and the reason is that there is a large proportion of our workforce is still employed in the unorganised sector. Our challenge today is to bring them into the formal economy. The thrust through schemes like PMKVY is to ensure that more and more people get into the main stream economy.
The idea of placements and crediting their salaries is in the same spirit; and all these initiatives are seeing good response. We believe that through initiatives like universalisation of subsidy transfer to citizens, Jan Dhan Yojana and online transfers, we are quickly moving towards digitisation. But there continues to be a few challenges and with challenges lie opportunities.
According to a response to an RTI query, the NSDC has been able to identify only 5 percent of candidates as having been placed after being trained under PMKVY
Reporting of employment was not mandatory under PMKVY. Therefore, our tracking mechanism does not make it essential to report details of placements,as of now. However, we have taken this into account and under PMKVY’s next phase, employment monitoring has been made mandatory so that we know where the candidates have been placed or are self-employed.
The numbers shared through our response to RTI is not reflective of all the placements that have happened. The numbers will be many times higher but since training partners were not mandated to report back,only a few have shared placement data and thus the numbers are limited and reflect a small fraction of actual placements. Also, please note that placements follow only after certifications. We have recently completed certification of 12 lakh youth post completion of training. The others are under the process of assessment and certification.
When the RTI was filed which was in early May 2016, the number of students certified was 8 lakhs and around 80,000 were placed till then. In the last two months, we have been able to complete certification of 3.5 lakh more candidates reaching 11.5 lakhs total certifications, and placed close to 60,000 students more, making the total number reach up to 1,42,161 candidates as on July 5,2016.
PMKVY’s next phase will be placement-linked. Under the revised scheme, 20 per cent of the pay-out to training partners is linked to the placement. In this way, we can ensure substantial outcome of the training.
Kindly note that this is a job ready workforce which will make national missions like Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities, StartupIndia, etc. successful. Of India’s 1.2 billion population, 60 per cent are of the working age. And of the 12 million individuals who join the queue of job seekers every year, only 4 per cent undergo formal vocational training. Our endeavours are towards filling the demand-supply gap in the industry and additionally creating market linkages for the youths so that they get jobs commensurate with their calibre and skill sets.
While industry is creating jobs, too many such jobs are in the informal sector, which accounts for 84% per cent of current jobs. It’s a beginning for us with just 12 months into the programme. We are also promoting entrepreneurship in a huge way so that youth can start their own ventures and become job providers rather than job seekers. Our curriculum will soon have a mandatory course on entrepreneurship for all.
There is increasingly high resistance to migration in the country. To what extent is that a challenge to the skilling initiative?
Our endeavour is to ensure that skill development opportunities are extended to all and across the nation. Firstly we are mapping the local human resource requirement and ensuring that opportunities are created to bridge the local demand and supply gap. This would lead to reduction in migration. The local industries will be supported with skilled workforce and local youth will get ample opportunities locally. That fulfils the objective. Promoting entrepreneurship is another way of reducing migration.
Alternatively,if at all there is migration, most of the migrants are semi-skilled or less skilled. Our idea is to impart skill to them which area ligned to transnational standards so that they do not have a problem in working in any geography.
Gender-based discrimination is obstructing the skilling of women in states like Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
I think the mind-set is changing now and the society is more gender conscious. Where you have government schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padao which are an endeavour toward saving the girl child and improving the efficiency of welfare services meant for women, we are also seeing a commendable acceptance towards skill development of women in the society. In the last one year around 44 per cent of the candidates who undertook skill development training under PMKVY, were women. States like Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have seen some good number of women undertaking skill development training. There has been an increment of 75 per cent to 85 per cent in number of training done in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
NSDC has training partners like Mandeshi Foundation, Shri Mahila Sewa Sahkari Bank Limited, LabourNet Services India Private Limited, Indigram Skill & Knowledge Initiatives Private Limited (I-Skill)affiliated to them who are promoting skill development to empower the women in our country. The interesting part is that we are not only seeing women take training in traditional and soft skills but also in hard skills like welding. We have women who come with their kids to the training centre, to learn a skill which will help them support their career and life. There are some great motivational stories around women in the skill ecosystem. Neha Chande was one of the most aspirational example for all who won the Gold at World Skills Oceania and then another medallion of excellence at WorldSkills SaoPaulo, in beauty and wellness.
Are you happy with the participation of the private sector in the skilling initiative, especially considering that the NSDC remains largely government-funded?
We have taken a lot of decisions and measures which have helped NSDC to make strategic shift in the last six to eight months. We are strengthening industry connect through various initiatives including simplified processes for CSR partnership, creating centre of excellence across states,partnering with existing engineering colleges and polytechnics on infrastructure etc.
Are there any attempts to involve industry more closely with the process of developing curricula for skilling?
The industry is already working closely with us through the 40 Sector Skill Councils on the curriculum for skill courses. These account for all job roles that are in demand in the industries today and have the latest technical, soft skills and entrepreneurship related courses included. As we speak, we have finalised and rolled out curriculum for 250 Qualification Packs which are most in demand in the market today.
The usual process of creating a curriculum is where experts are called and asked to make a curriculum basis their experience and expertise. We have challenged this and have changed the approach. We are first involving the industry to set standards of job roles where the workforce is needed. Once the standards are set, it is easy to devise the curriculum which is then in sync with what the industry wants. The syllabus or the curriculum has to be in sync with the current market demand. Then the courses are devised accordingly.
So, the involvement of the industry is right from the initial stage to the last stage. Till date we have laid down standards for 1600 jobs which constitute 80 per cent of most popular jobs in the country. For the first time ever, a model curricula has been now formulated for 251 courses which will be soon launched. Our efforts are all lined up inway so that there is increased participation from the industry in the days to come.
Occupation continues to be associated with caste in much of India. Do you see this as a challenge to the success of the skilling initiatives?
As mentioned earlier, doing something practically than theoretically has been something which has not been pushed by both,the system and the parents since ages now. Also respecting our partners who assist us in our daily lives without whom life is impossible like our domestic help, our driver, our gardener, the carpenter is not something that has grown into us as a culture. We call for their help, pay them but do not respect them for their work and the value they bring to us. A slight behavioural shift is the need of the hour for us to acknowledge and value the skills around us.
The progress of our country will only happen if we focus on the progress our youth, right from their early years. There is a need for parents to encourage their children at an early stage to enjoy more practical sessions so that they realise their passion while experiencing or doing something with their innate skills. Once they realise their inclination they can acquire a skill set which makes them even better in what they like doing. The point is to constantly counsel and help an individual navigate through his interest and make him a productive person at his workplace.