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Post at: Aug 11 2021

The Challenge of Skilling India

Recent Context

  • Recently, speaking on the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day (15 July), Prime Minister said that skill development of the new generation is a national need and is the foundation of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • What is meant by Skill?
  • A skill is the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy or both.
  • Type of Skill –
  • Skills are generally three types –


  1. Cognitive Skills – are the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, applied knowledge and problem – solving aptitudes and higher cognitive skills such as experimentation, reasoning and creativity.
  2. Technical and Vocational Skills – refer to the physical and mental ability to perform specific tasks using tools and methods in any occupation.
  3. Social and Behavioural Skills – include working, communicating and listening to others.
  • Different levels of these three type of skills can be combined to further classify skills into fundamental, employability and entrepreneurial skills (see the figure)

Government’s Initiatives to boost Skilling in India

  • Skill India Mission (SIM) – SIM was launched on 15 July, 2015 by the Prime Minister of India.
  • It aims to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022.
  • The mission aims at vocational training and certification of Indian youth for a better livelihood and respect in the society.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY)

  • PMKVY is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • The objective of this skill certification scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

Key components of PMKVY Scheme


Going Online As Leaders (GOAL) Program

  • GOAL program was launched by Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and Facebook on 15th May 2020 to digitally skill and empower 5000 youth from tribal communities over five years.
  • The project aims to identify and mobilise 2500 renowned people from the industry which include policy makers and influencers, teachers, artists, entrepreneurs and social workers known for their achievements in their respective biomass, to personally mentor tribal youth across India.

What is the scale of the skilling challenge facing India?

  • According to the 2018 report by NCAER, India had about 468 million people in its workforce.
  • Around 92% of them were in the informal sector.
  • Around 31% were illiterate, only 13% had a primary education and only 6% were college graduates.
  • Further, only about 2% of the workforce had formal vocational training, and only 9% had non-formal vocational training.
  • The report had also estimated that almost 1.25 million new workers (Aged 15-29) were projected to join India’s workforce ‘every month’ through 2022.
  • The report also observed that out of the more than 5 lakh final year bachelors students aged 18-29 who were surveyed, around 54% were found to be ‘unemployable’.


  • A distinct disadvantage with India’s approach towards skilling has been to ignore the demands of the market.
  • For the most part, skills have been provided in a top- down fashion.
  • Thus, most skilling efforts focus almost solely on providing certain skills but fail to ‘match’ them with the needs of the market.
  • For skilling schemes to yield lasting results, even matching is not enough.
  • Given the way market demands fluctuate for instance, look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has upended supply chains – skilling efforts must try to anticipate the needs of the market.


@  Yogesh Pratap Singh

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