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Thursday, January 31, 2008



India, with growing industrialization, has reached a crucial juncture as the country is poised to touch double-digit growth rate. The 11th Five Year Plan seeks to achieve a faster and more inclusive growth. This is possible only with effective contribution of all stakeholders.

Skill Development Initiative Scheme

To cope with the serious manpower crunch the industrial sector is facing, and in order to increase the employability of the labour force through development of skills suitable for the ongoing industrialisation process, the Government decided to set up a corpus fund of Rs 550 crore for training one million persons above the age of 14 over the next five years under the “Skill Development Initiative Scheme”. This is a centrally sponsored scheme under which an amount of about Rs 5,000 would be spent per person for providing training and certification.

The Scheme will provide an opportunity to the large unskilled workforce of the country from the socially and economically disadvantaged sections, for securing jobs in both manufacturing and service sectors. The crafts which have been included cover a large spectrum from beautician and carpet weaving to engineering and information technology sectors. Well over 200 modules for employable skills as per industry and labour market demands have already been identified and course curriculum has been developed. It is hoped that this will address the requirement of industry for skilled workers. These industries include automobile, construction, refrigeration, painting, welding, carpet weaving, gem and jewellery, food industry, toy-making etc.

The workers who have already acquired certain skills through many years of hands on work but with no formal certification would also be able to get tested and certified under this scheme. Testing of skills of trainees would be carried out by independent assessing bodies, which would not be involved in training delivery, to ensure that it is done impartially. The essence of the scheme is in the certification that will be nationally and internationally recognized.

Training would be provided through optimal utilisation of available infrastructure in various Government and private institutions and industry. Institutions providing training under this scheme would include various Vocational Training Providers under Central and State Governments, public and private sector and industrial establishments.

The objectives of the scheme include providing vocational training to school dropouts, existing workers, ITI graduates, etc. to improve their employability by optimally utilizing the infrastructure available in Government., private institutions and the Industry and to build capacity in the area of development of competency standards, course curricula, learning material and assessment standards in the country.

Modular Employable Skills

Demand driven short-term training courses based on Modular Employable Skills (MES) have been evolved in consultation with Industry. MES is the ‘minimum skills set’ that fulfills optimal requirement for gainful employment.

It has been envisaged in the Scheme that Central government will facilitate and promote training while industry, private sector and State Governments will train the persons. Optimum utilization of existing infrastructure would be ensured to make training cost effective.

It has also been decided to have flexible delivery mechanism (part time, weekends, full time, onsite/ offsite) and different levels of programmes (Foundation level as well as skill upgradation) to suit needs of various target groups. The services of existing or retired faculty or guest faculty will be utilized.

Towards Public Private Partnership

The Government and industry will have to work together to provide a solution to the training needs. Together they would have to address the basic skills training and then impart industry-specific training.

Therefore, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) has been envisaged in the form of active participation of the industry / Private Sector in every stage of design and implementation of the scheme. Industry bodies are represented in the Central Apex Committee and State Committees, which would have overall responsibility of implementation of the scheme. Other areas of partnership include: forecasting of emerging areas of employment at micro level, development of course curricula and instructional material of various trades, assist in the training of trainers, making available their training & testing facilities, provide on the job training in their establishments, assistance in placement of graduates, provide trade experts to work as assessors of competencies, voluntary donation of equipment to the ITIs/other training institutions and providing guest faculty in new trades.

The Scheme aims to train or certify 10,000 persons during the current financial year that is year 2007-08. An Apex Committee has been set up at National Level. Process is on to set up a National Project Management Cell (NPMC) at national level and six regional cells. It is being ensured that the Assessing Bodies will be of proven integrity and endowed with high quality expertise in the relevant fields.

The Government has released funds for the scheme. Course curricula for 231 short term MES courses (against target of 176) have already been approved by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT). Courses under Information and Communication Technology sector have also been covered.

Implementation Manual containing guidelines for implementing the scheme has been prepared and circulated to State Governments for implementation.

The scheme has already taken off successfully as more than 8,000 persons have been trained by December 2007 (against target of 5000). The Website of SDI scheme has been launched ( The process is on for purchase of equipment for MES cells.

The Government has embarked on an ambitious scheme for upgradation of the remaining 1396 ITIs in the country under Public Private Partnership mode by providing an interest free loan of upto Rs. 2.5 crore per ITI. An investment of Rs. 3665 crore is going to be made in the next five years. The Industry Partners are closely associated with the process of upgradation so that they train manpower according to their requirement. It will definitely revolutionize the skill development in the country. In addition, the Government has also embarked on the strategic objective of modernizing the ITIs and improving the quality of training in state Government run ITIs, with involvement of stake holders. Action has been initiated for upgradation of 100 ITIs from domestic resources and 400 ITIs through World Bank assistance so as to create “Centres of Excellence (COE)” for producing multi-skilled workforce of world standard.

Sudha Pillai
Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment

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