By Shruti Sharma, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University.

15th July, 2015 witnessed the world’s first ever “World Youth Skills Day” (WYSD), celebrated by the United Nations General Assembly. The basic objective behind celebrating this day as WYSD was to raise much needed awareness about the importance of investing in youth skills development at an International level. World Youth Skills Day explains the need to support programming and initiatives that equip young people with tools and resources to enhance their ability to make an informed life and work choices. Celebrating WYSD will also undoubtedly help in recognising the fact that fostering the acquisition of skills by today’s youth would empower them to gain access to changing labour markets in its resolutions.

Talking about youth skills in Indian practice, our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in 2014 pledged in Parliament to redeem the image of nation from “Scam India” to “Skill India” and to promote its stature in the comity of nations, through “Cooperative Federalism”. He also stressed that the world needs “skilled” manpower.  Mr. Modi, while addressing  the Lok Sabha for the first time as the  Prime Minister of the nation, mentioned,“only a graduation certificate is not enough; we need skills. We need to concentrate on skills development”. In this regard, Mr.Modi  in September, 2014 sought Japan’s aid to develop capacity and capabilities  through skill development activities in India.

Finally on 15th July, 2015 i.e. on World Youth Skills Day, our PM unveiled his highly ambitious project called “National Policy for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship 2015” better known as “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana”, to create awareness about the skilled manpower at a grass-root level by providing them Vocational, Technical and Skill development education and ultimately to create a positive pro-skilling environment in India. Skill India Campaign is launched across 100 cities in India. Our PM Mr. Modi himself will be heading the campaign with a three tiered structure, as a head of governing council. This programme also includes a redesigned model skill loan scheme and a skill card for persons certified under “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana”. It aims at imparting skill training to nearly 24 lakh youth over the next year and trained candidates under this programme will be awarded with incentives. This new National Policy for skill development in India is said to be India’s first integrated national scheme for promoting and developing entrepreneurship at a grand scale.

Following is the list of some goals which Namo government dreams to achieve under its “PMKVY”:

  • The government has set a target of skilling nearly 40.2 crore  people by the end of 2022 under National Policy for Skill Development in which approx 54% of people will be skilled in the agricultural sector.
  • Government will try to remove the disconnection between the demand and supply of the skilled manpower.
  • New skills and innovative thinking will be boosted to only for existing jobs but also for jobs that are to be created in future.
  • Will try to bring key stakeholders including Central Ministries, Departments, and State Governments, leading industries, bodies and trainees under one roof.
  • New and improvised launch of skill loan initiative where loans starting from Rs.5000-Rs.150000 will be easily available to the youth of our country, who seek to attend skill development programme, over the next five years.

The Skill India Campaign is considered as an important milestone in the direction of achieving the objective of “skilling with speed, scale and standards” across the country. It holds a great amount of importance in a country like India where it is believed that “the youth has an immense talent, they just lack the opportunity”. Therefore a campaign like this will certainly help in removing this setback. The Skill India Campaign will not only be a helping hand in creating work opportunities for the youth but will also make training institutions more dynamic in nature. In India,  about 65% of youth population is  below the age of 35 years, of which only 2.3% are professionally trained. Skill India aims to instil the self confidence among the youth, which will eventually result in the onset of a new energy in our nation. Skill India Mission can also be regarded as a policy driven approach that waged war against the never ending problem of poverty in our country.

However, the Indian population always look for instant results and Mr. Modi’s government policies are future driven which requires people to accept them with great amount of patience. It is believed that since Mr. Modi’s arrival in power, nothing has changed except for Mr. Modi’s travel plans. Be it much hyped “swachh bharat abhiyan”, so called “make in India” and “digital India” campaigns, all these programmes has two things in common, they all are Mr. Modi’s brainchild and they only exists on paper and grand announcements, whereas practical enforcement of these programmes remains unattempted. Congress party’s general secretary Mr. Digvijay Singh stated that Modi’s “Skill India Campaign” is nothing but a repackaging attempt to the efforts of former Prime Minister Late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, who introduced the computers in our country. It is believed that Namo Government only knows how to launch a scheme, but it doesn’t known how to implement the same. Mr. Modi’s much hyped speeches are usually considered as an endless process with no actions. It is pertinent to note that Mr. Modi’s ideas aim at benefiting the millions but in reality they are of no practical use in a country like India where a major portion of population still lives below the poverty line.

Considering Mr. Modi’s background of bringing hope in people by promising them of bringing a revolutionised change in the rural India, where before assembly elections he allegedly promised people that after coming in power he will unearth the black money from foreign accounts and will transfer the same back in our country. But such promise was only an intelligent strategy to gain votes to eventually come in power. Such promise ultimately ended with Modi’s big win and breaking people’s trust on his larger than life promises. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Make in India and now Skill India Campaign; Modi seems to take every initiative as a step forward towards building a smarter and better nation, but lacks enforceability.

Looking at the affirmative side of this Skill India Campaign, it can be considered as an longstanding requirement of our country. Going by the statistics, only 2.3% of the workforce in India has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68% in U.K., 75% in Germany, 52% in U.S.A., 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea. By launching this campaign, Modi has created a platform for mapping global manpower demand and export trained Indian youth to International markets in a big way. To implement it, Mr. Modi has asked various governmental agencies and industries to oversee the transformation of Industrial Institutions (ITIs) on lines of IITs, to provide trained talent for the global market. Namo government believes that if China is like a manufacturing factory, then India should become the Human Resource Capital of the world. Skill India Campaign overall looks like a promising pool of opportunity for the Indian youth, but considering the practical aspect of this and Modi government’s previous schemes and its progress, it can only be said that “DISTANT DRUMS SOUND WELL”.