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By GovernanceToday
In Cover Story
February 10, 2017
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NSDC Creates Path to Sustainability

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manish-kumarNational Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)iscommitted to promoting high quality skills so that industry and service sector recognizes its value over time and accepts organized employment. Manish Kumar, Managing Director and  Chief Executive Officer, National Skill  Development CorWporation (NSDC), shares his insights on how essential it is to count both inputs or investments and outputs in terms of number of skilled peopleso as to lead togood outcomes, more skilled workforce, sustainable employment, and increase in productivity of the skill sectors. In an  interaction with Manjushree Reddy…

Skill training in India today across sectors looks more like a numbers game. How can the outcomes be mapped for ensuring quality?

On the contrary, the training institutes under PMKVY 2 are being selected on the basis of a rigorous quality check which includes mandatory equipment and qualified trainers they must possess, as per criteria listed by respective Sector Skill Councils, before being given the responsibility of skill development training. The emphasis on quality in PMKVY 2 is a learnings acquired from experience of STAR and PMKVY 1 that MSDE has quickly adopted, changing the guidelines for emphasis on quality.

Yes, we do count the number of people trained and it is essential to count both inputs (e.g., amount of money being invested) and outputs (e.g., number of people trained) for monitoring a program. However, the concern of MSDE and our own is that these inputs and outputs should lead to  outcomes. In this case, the outcomes are the number of people sustainably employed post training and increase in productivity of the sector to which the skilled people go. PMKVY 2 has created incentive structures for stakeholder to push for post training employment of skilled candidates and the result will be evident in due course. As regards impact on sector productivity, we are in preliminary discussions with IIM, Bangalore, National Institute of Good Governance, New Delhi, and Harvard Business School, USA, to help us in an assessment study.

Currently, the unorganized sector comprises about 93% of the workforce. Can unorganized and organized sector workforce ratio in India be changed for a  greater balance? What is the  target?

The unorganized sector is large in our country because of the asymmetrical power between the employer and those looking for
“ Our effort would be to deliver PMKVY 2 in a manner that  ensures outreach in accordance with industry demand and  with quality that receives industry  recognition. At  least one PMKK is proposed in each District. We are also aiming to work more closely with State Governments  to ensure that skill development  is in sync with local needs and monitoring of quality is possible
employment. Formal contracts are avoided and, in any case, enforcing the contracts is difficult. The reluctance of an individual to accept unorganized employment terms, operated informally, is of little consequence as the employer always finds enough numbers in the market who are willing to work at his terms. The ratio should show signs of positive change as our economy grows and specializes. Digitized economy, which recent demonetization spurred, will also lead towards greater transparency andcover-story2-a a greater trend towards organized workforce. There are, of course, other issues such as labor laws reforms and their enforcements which will matter in the long term to make the shift towards organized workforce. But as far as skill is concerned, demand for and industry recognition of highly skilled workers will lead to higher level of organized workforce. We are committed to promoting high quality skills so that industry and service sector recognizes its value over time and accepts organized employment.

The skills imparting institutions associated with different programs today are many. How can they be integrated or aligned in a single platform, so as to bring in sustainability and make it a win win situation for all stakeholders?

The National Skill Qualification Framework that is being developed by MSDE, in consultation with other stakeholders, will provide the platform. All jobs, resulting from long term or short-term skill development as also from aca- demic degrees (which promotes cognitive skills as against vocational degrees that promotes technical, action-based skills), can be appropriately mapped on this framework and upward mobility will become possible for all individuals. It will also make it feasible for a candidate to move from vocational jobs to pursuit of academic degrees, with credits given for time spent on vocational jobs.

What strategies need to be adopted to encourage and  include women in the skilling  as well as entrepreneurial programs?

The encouragement of women in skilling is critical for economic and social development of our country. They are nearly half the country’s workforce but as of now only a fourth of them are active. Active promotion of job roles that women prefer and adequate effort to mobilize women for skill development is important in the short and medium term. In the long term, incentive structure for households and industry is essential for enhancing women labor  force participation.

What are NSDC’s priorities/ agenda in the light of skilling India and the sector skill councils for the next few years?

NSDC aims to create skill development infrastructure across the country for short-term skilling, in close partnership with industry. Our effort would be to deliver PMKVY 2 in a manner that ensures outreach in accordance with industry demand and with quality that receives industry recognition. At least one PMKK is proposed in each District. We are also aiming to work more closely with State Governments to ensure that skill development is in sync with local needs and monitoring of quality is possible. It will also help exchange learnings we acquire as the skill development process rolls out and create greater public confidence on the skill development programs. Sector Skill Councils, representing the industry, have a great role to play in ensuring quality and making sure that jobs for which trainings are being provided are relevant to industry needs.

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