With the Budget 2019-20 to be presented shortly, job creation is expected to be the topmost priority on the Government’s agenda. Innovative ideas are necessary to explore ways to create more jobs in the economy, especially in the labour intensive sectors such as agriculture, construction, textiles, etc.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been actively working on the skills agenda for many years, with the objective of creating a talented and productive workforce to enhance competitiveness in the economy and stimulate growth.
Given the rapid changes in technology as well as the global landscape, which is impacting almost every sector of the Indian economy, boosting employment is a thrust area for the Government and industry. Additionally, with India set to have the world’s largest workforce by 2030 with more than 60% of its population in the working age group, this is an opportune time to reap the benefits of its rich demographic dividend.
In this context, a sectoral approach should be followed to give an impetus to identified high growth sectors, for e.g., sectors identified under Make in India, champion sectors for services export promotion, etc. Each of these sectors requires specific policy arrangements for building skill capacities.
To address the dearth of adequate number of apprentices in India, the apprenticeship program must be scaled up with the help of sustained campaigns. CII also recommends that the program be placed under one single ministry i.e. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). At present, the program is being handled by both MSDE and Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), which often creates confusion and difficulty for industry with regard to its implementation.
A dynamic Labour Market Information System (LMIS) is strongly recommended to ensure alignment of skilling initiatives and to bridge the information gap between the employers and the stakeholders.
For promoting free skill training for the youth from approved skill providers/industries, CII suggests the introduction of skill vouchers or skill wallets, in line with the incentive-based support of the skill’s mission approach.
CII also proposes offering tax rebates with respect to intake of certified and skilled workforce and inclusion of volunteered services such as training of trainers, counsellors and assessors in the list of CSR approved activities.
For boosting employability of students and encouraging higher investments in the education sector, CII recommends expediting the proposed National Policy on Education which envisages integrating skill development with higher education and improving quality of education through governance reforms.
CII also recommends increasing the budget allocation for education to 6% of GDP as opposed to the current allocation of only 3.5%.
Apart from these, CII also advocates for according operational freedom to universities in matters of setting salaries, deciding curriculum etc., granting of infrastructure status to education sector to reduce the cost of funding for private investment which is very high at present; and removing restrictions in higher education institutions by allowing them to charge a market determined fee based on quality of education provided.
CII as a proponent of skill development is proactively engaged in policy advocacy, providing regular inputs and recommendations to the Government on key areas, conducting research and preparing reports.
CII brought out the National Policy on Skill and Entrepreneurship in 2008 and is now working with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to bring out the second policy.
CII is also actively involved in scaling up the apprenticeship program. It has organized several roadshows pan-India, and established a 360-degree support facilitation cell, among others to boost the program. Its recommendations were incorporated in the amended Apprenticeship Act 2014.
CII undertakes many initiatives to foster and create a conducive environment for skilling the Indian youth. With an objective of establishing a seamless employee-employer connect, CII Model Career Centres (MCCs) act as a reservoir of skilled talent pool for the industry. Through skills training, the MCCs enhance candidates’ employability, assist job seekers to prepare for interviews, and link them to job fairs.
CII has incubated 11 Sector Skill Councils in sectors such as health, beauty, logistics, and life sciences, among others and has laid down standards and job roles and developed curriculum for these sectors, in consultation with industry.
CII is also actively engaged in the promotion and upgradation of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), bringing out relevant surveys and research reports such as the India Skill Mapping Survey and the India Skills Report and training and guiding the youth through its multi skill institutes, skill gurukuls etc.
CII’s Skill Interventions Impact over 1 Million Youth Per Annum
With India aiming to become a USD 5 trillion economy over the next five years, job creation is an imperative that must be given top attention. The focus must be on providing adequate and quality employment, with an approach that strives to create a balance between providing quality education and skilling the Indian youth.