Modi calls to focus on skill development, manufacturing for job creation

New Delhi: Reiterating his vision on creating jobs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech said India must focus on growing the manufacturing sector and on developing skills to provide meaningful employment to millions of young Indians.

“Today, if we want to give more and more employment opportunities to the youth, then we will have to promote the manufacturing sector,” Modi said on Friday.

India is a “country of youngsters” with about 65% of the population below the age of 35, the Prime Minister said. “Our country is world’s most young country. Have we ever thought of utilizing it? Today the world needs skilled workforce, today India also needs skilled workforce.”

He said there are unemployed youngsters but “we don’t get what we need” in terms of skilled manpower. “If you want the country to progress on the path of development, then skill development should be our mantra.”

India wants to impart skills training to 500 million people by 2022 to provide efficient human resource to industry. There has been debate about the lack of job readiness among fresh entrants in the labour market. Nearly 12 million people enter the labour market every year but less than 10% have the requisite skills, official data claim.

Reiterating a mission spelt out in the budget, Modi said the youth must get the skills that will help build modern India and whichever country they go to, their skill should be appreciated.

He said that the government wants to prepare two kinds of youth—those who are job creators, and those who may not have the ability to create jobs, but when they go to any corner of the globe they should be able to win hearts through their skill, ability and talent.

In the 2014-15 budget, the National Democratic Alliance government that came to power in May had given special thrust on entrepreneurship and job creation. The budget has a plan to establish a Rs.10,000 crore fund to provide venture capital to small enterprises.

It allotted another Rs.200 crore to establish a technology centre network to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The budget also has a plan to start a village entrepreneurship programme to encourage rural youth to start local enterprises.

Modi emphasized the need to boost manufacturing, saying that if India wants to bring the country’s youth power and efficiency to the fore, then “we have to move towards manufacturing”.

“I want to tell the people of the whole world: Come, make in India. Come and manufacture in India. Go and sell in any country of the world, but manufacture here. We have skill, talent, discipline and the desire to do something. We want to give the world an opportunity that come make in India,” he said, inviting overseas firms to make India their manufacturing hub in all areas from automobiles to pharmaceuticals, chemicals and electronics.

India aims to increase the share of manufacturing in gross domestic product from its current level of 16% to 25% by 2022. The cabinet has approved proposals to amend and reform archaic labour laws like Factories Act 1948, Apprentices Act 1961 and the Labour Laws (exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining registers by certain establishments) Act, 1988 to facilitate this.

On Thursday, Lok Sabha approved changes to the Apprentices Amendment Bill 2014, that seeks to increase the availability of skilled manpower in the country, provide industries the flexibility to hire apprentices and improve their pay.

Many experts have held that archaic labour laws restrict the growth of manufacturing and job creation in the country. According to the latest economic survey, India created 59.9 million jobs between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, the time when the Bharatiya Janata Party led coalition was governing India. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the country created just 1.1 million jobs and during 2009-10 and 2011-12, the country added 13.9 million new jobs


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