India battling against Skill Shortage

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Skill Shortage is often portrayed as a major problem for the economies of many countries. As rapid globalization and technological changes have shaped the world’s job market, skill shortages have become a growing problem for employers. The scale of the problem varies hugely between countries and it is most noticeable in Asia. According to an OECD report, India ranks second among the 10 countries facing greatest skill shortage. 64% of firms in India encounter difficulty finding qualified employees. Estimates reveal that around 9 million students graduate every year in India but their obsession with government jobs result in a lopsided paunch which consequently affects the GDP of the country.

India presently is the hub of flourishing industries.  Developing in many fields like manufacturing, mining construction, mechanical engineering, electronics, information technology, and so on. The accelerated economic growth has increased the demand for skilled manpower that has highlighted the shortage of skilled manpower in the country. Employees worldwide state a variety of reasons for their inability to fill jobs, ranging from undesirable geographic locations to candidates looking for more pay than what the employers have been offering. India is among the top countries in which employers are facing difficulty in filling up the jobs.

Since India has opened up many opportunities, there is a wide range of skills that are not found locally. This gives an opportunity for international students to conquer the market and get to higher positions. This is the reason why the Indian government has taken measures to encourage the global involvement of various students to strengthen this skill set. Many people from across the globe are making use of this opportunity.

According to the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a public-private partnership tasked with funding and directing private skill development programmes, approximately 12.8 million people will be ready to join the job market every year in the coming decade. There are several challenges that are faced by the government in imparting quality skill training to the youth of the country. These challenges include:

  • Increasing capacity and capability of the existing system to ensure equitable access for all
  • Maintaining quality and relevance
  • Creating effective convergence between school education and the government’s skill development efforts
  • Creating institutional mechanism for research development quality assurance, examinations and certification, affiliations and accreditation
  • Mobilizing adequate investment for financing skill development
According to the UN report of 2015, India has the largest youth population in comparison to western countries, which are facing the crunches of an aging population. India has a unique 20-25 years window of opportunity called the “demographic dividend”. The “ demographic dividend” here refers to the comparison with larger developing and developed countries which shows that India has a higher proportion of working age population vis-à-vis its entire population.
The obsession of Indians with textbook education and white collar jobs is resulting in a lopsided paunch which consequently impacts the gross domestic product (GDP). Indians mostly shy away from blue-collar careers that could guarantee them stability both professionally and financially. The less-formally educated youth lacks proper vocational training and are condemned to move aimlessly from one low-paying stint to another.

 

Skills in India are acquired through both formal and informal channels. Formal vocational training is imparted in both public and private sector. Some of the major channels of formal vocation training include the government-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), privately operated Industrial Training Centres (ITCs), vocational schools, specialized institutes for technical training, and apprenticeship training by the industry. The private sector participation has been on a rise lately, but the sector continues to be dominated by the public sector. Informal training, on the other hand, refers to experiential skills acquired on the job.

The twelfth Five year Plan reveals the tough challenge India has set in the field of vocational training. It aims to increase the percentage of workforce with formal skills to 25% at the end of the plan. The estimates show that 50-70  million jobs will be created in India over the next five years and about 75%  to  90% of these additional employment avenues will require some vocational training.

About 12 million people in India join the workforce each year comprising of highly skilled, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workforce. Among these, the last category i.e. the unskilled workforce constitute the majority of the population.

Though India has the largest working population, the skill set of this population plays a critical role in the growth of the country. It is indispensable that adequate skill training is provided to this age group to make them productive. India is facing a skill deficit on account of a large demand-supply gap, which results in a large pool of potential learners. The total number of potential learners in the country during 2009–10 was about 363 million. This constituted to be 51% of the total working age population in the age group of 15–59 years.

Indiabix.com conducted a group discussion on the shortage of skilled manpower in India.   Yugandhara G  said, “We must accept that it’s not students but it’s d education system who is creating this problem. Our education is 80% theoretical and 20% practical based. No one wants to mug up the notes but they are forced to do so because marks obtained in theory exam is the criteria for evaluation of knowledge in India. Encouragement to improve your skill lacks here, almost 85% students collect and mug up d theoretical notes without any prior knowledge of its actual implementation”.  There were several statements which came in agreement but there were also some contradictory views like Kartikeya strongly disagreed with the point, he said; “In our country, India has not a shortage of skilled manpower because our country has most impressive talents in all fields. Most of our young generation students are clearing ITI institutes and becoming perfect in all fields like engineer automobile engineers and computer specialist”.

The government seems to have realized the critical role education and skill development plays in building manpower consequently boosting the economic growth of the country. The Skill India program was introduced on the 15th of July 2015 along with the creation of the new National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) flagship scheme was set up with the aim to train over two million people in one year – the NSDC had in 2014-15 trained 1.3 million people. Under the mission, the previous target of training 150 million people by 2022 was raised to a much loftier goal of 400 million people by 2022.

As India aims to have one of the strongest economic growth stories in the 21st century, it becomes vital for the country to ensure the capabilities of its growing workforce. And the integral part of this is to tackle the problem of unskilled labour in India and fix its skilling initiatives,  today rather than tomorrow.

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