Smriti may lead new department of skill development

Human resource development minister Smriti Irani is likely to be put in charge of a new department of skill development and entrepreneurship, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects.

The department will ensure speedy and quality training to India’s youth, making them more employable. It will be carved out of 21 ministries dealing with the Centre’s skill development programmes, and focus on Modi’s mantra of 3S — Scale, Speed and Skill.

The programme will target massive skill upgradation of the youth, who, studies say, aren’t competitive in the job market due to poor training.

The project could be put under 38-year-old Irani, one of Modi’s youngest ministers, after cabinet secretary Ajit Seth met a couple of times last month with ministries dealing with the issue. No final decision has been taken, sources said.

The ministry of sports and youth affairs was planned to run the department initially, but was deemed not “technically equipped” to deal with such a massive programme. The ministry itself was reluctant due to an absence of domain knowledge, sources said.

There was a view that the HRD ministry was best suited for the job as it handles education at all levels with close linkage to skill development, said a senior official. “The ministry can introduce skill-development-linked curriculum in schools that can help in meeting the target,” he added.

The first indication of such a change came when the government approved guidelines for the National Employment Enhancement Mission, to be implemented by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).




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