Build-up to Budget: Govt not to be confined by UPA’s skilling target, says Sonowal

The government will look beyond the 500 million target for skill development and the Union Budget next week is likely to give a roadmap for the government’s skilling programme.

“There will of course be some indication in the Budget on the skill development agenda,” said Sarbananda Sonowal, minister for state (independent charge) skill development and entrepreneurship.

In an interview with The Indian Express, the minister also said that the government will not be confined to the target of skilling 500 million youth by 2022 that was set by the previous government.

“We will have a new set up with a new vision plan. Most of the villages and towns will be covered with skilling projects so that the youth are trained to either turn into entrepreneurs or be employed somewhere,” he said, adding that the government will take skill development to the grass root level so that unemployed youth can find jobs.

But with skill development spread over two dozen Central ministries, the minister stressed that there will now be more coordinated effort and the shape of the new ministry would be finalised after more deliberations.

“The Prime Minister has already said that India will aggressively focus on skill development to boost growth ….With the new ministry now being set up, there will now be an inter-ministerial integrated effort,” he said, pointing out that even entrepreneurship was earlier part of a different ministry.

Though Sonowal was allocated the portfolio of skill development and entrepreneurship on May 27, the government is yet define the role of the new ministry.

Sonowal said the new ministry would also borrow from the Gujarat skill development mission. “It is a very successful model for skilling,” he said, adding that the government would also continue working with private agencies for skill development.

Skilling and entrepreneurship is a key agenda for the NDA government with the Prime Minister calling for a “Skill India” as a majority of the population is less than 35 years of age.

But despite 37 Central ministries involved in skill development and vocational training apart from agencies such as National Skill Development Corporation and the National Skill Development Agency, efforts have been largely diffused with much of the workforce remaining unskilled or semi skilled.

At present, only 10 per cent of the workers between the ages of 15 and 59 years have some amount of professional training in India, of which just an abysmal 2.5 per cent have professional training. In contrast, globally on average, 60 per cent to 80 per cent of a country’s workforce is skilled. In Korea, as much as 96 per cent of the workers have formal skill training.



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