Center abandons plan for a national skills university

The central government has abandoned its plans to set up a national skills university as well as a draft bill that was prepared for this purpose, the ministry of development and entrepreneurship said.

Development of vocation skills, such as carpentry, electrician and catering and so on, was one of the key areas of emphasis for the Narendra Modi government when it came to power in 2014.

Within a year of taking over, the government set up a working group to come up with a proposal to set up one or more skills universities under the central government.

The group submitted its recommendations, along with a draft bill in April 2015, which was subsequently sent to various central government departments and state governments for their comments.

The ministry said that after the consultation, it was decided to abandon the project as it stood, and instead promote the establishment of skills universities at the state level.

“A number of Skill Universities have come up under respective State Acts. These include Skill Universities in the States of Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha,” it said.

“It was decided that instead of a central legislation it would be more appropriate to draft a model national skills university framework which could be used by all state governments as a guideline for setting up skills universities in their respective states,” it said today.

India already has a large network of technical education institutes, such as polytechnic colleges and technical institutes. However, most of the current technical institutes remain outside the reach of the lower sections of the society for various reasons, including financial.

The government felt that more needs to be done to promote the diffusion of vocational skills in the population.

India has the largest number of young people in the world.

The so called ‘demographic dividend’ is threatening to become a ‘demographic disaster’ as automation and hi-technology eliminates millions of jobs around the globe.

According to International Labour Organisation’s ‘World Employment and Social Outlook Trends – 2018’, the number of unemployed persons in India is expected to rise from 18.3 million in 2017 to 18.6 million in 2018 and 18.9 million by 2019.

Government has also implemented the National Career Service (NCS) Project which comprises a digital portal that provides a nation-wide online platform for jobseekers and employers for job matching in a dynamic, efficient and responsive manner and has a repository of career content.

The government has also launched a ‘Skill India’ program to encourage and facilitate young people to learn new skills and earn their livelihood.

The so-called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana is supposed to run from 2016 to 2020.

It has has two components known as Centrally Sponsored Centrally Managed (CSCM) being implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Centrally Sponsored State Managed (CSSM) being implemented by State Skill Development Missions, also known as State- Engagement Component.

Under CSSM component of PMKVY 2016-20, 25% of the funds and corresponding physical targets of PMKVY 2016-20 has been allocated to the states for implementation.

The CSSM component was launched on 9.11.2016.

The ministry said it received proposals from 35 States and after evaluation of proposals Ministry has in-principle approved the physical target of 20.15 lakh candidates and financial target of 3,047 Cr. for 35 States for the five years.

As on 14.03.2018, Rs 498 cr has been disbursed, it added, and 17 states have commenced training activities involving 7,883 candidates.