Automation will not impact India negatively: NSDC head

NSDC head Manish Kumar talks about skill development mission and the way forward

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | March 21, 2018 | New Delhi


#Skill Development   #National Skill Development Corporation   #Manish Kumar Skill India   #Manish Kumar   #Skill India   #NSDC   #Narendra Modi  
NSDC CEO and MD Manish Kumar
NSDC CEO and MD Manish Kumar

Manish Kumar, a 1991 batch IAS officer, heads National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and thus is driving the skill development mission of the Modi government. Earlier, he was the country coordinator and senior institution development economist, water & sanitation program (WSP), water global practice, at the World Bank. He has also held leadership positions with the government of Tripura. Pratap Vikram Singh interacted with Kumar on the implementation of skill development mission and the way forward. Edited excerpts: 

What are the major initiatives being carried out by NSDC?

NSDC is a unique PPP body which works to support the skilling ecosystem of the country. It plays the role of market maker and support through debt and grant to private sector for capacity creation. NSDC implements central grant programmes such as PMKVY, Udaan and IISCs, and is also creating model centres called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) in every district of the country. We will also take up the national apprenticeship promotion scheme and in addition converge and support other central ministries and flagship programmes in their skilling initiatives such as NULM, Smart cities, Make in India and Sagarmala. Recently we have started supporting the ministry of minority affairs for skilling programmes. We also support industry participation in skill development and channelise CSR contribution in skilling and entrepreneurship.

We are also studying the employment and growth pattern of the country matching it geographically. Using the record data of last 10 years by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) which tracks investments over Rs 1 crore across the country at district level, and other data points such as RBI’s credit data, we are predicting how many and where will the jobs come in the upcoming years. This data backed knowledge helps us to structure and target our skilling initiatives better, responding to the demand. It clearly guides us to figure out whether that state or district will have jobs in beauty, wellness, construction, logistics or automotive etc. This predicts in which state or region will more jobs be created and what kind of investment is required in skilling. To validate, we do field visits and research.

NSDC which was set up in 2009 has achieved early maturity now and provides technical assistance for state skill missions, private institutions and also internationally.

What is the total budget for the mission and how much has been utilised so far?

The Skill India Mission comprises multiple state and central components and aligns the work of various departments under the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE). The budget documents showed that the proposed outlay to the ministry has been raised to Rs 3,400 crore in 2018-19, as against the revised estimate of Rs 2,356.22 crore in the current financial year.

Within the skilling ecosystem, NSDC under the ambit of MSDE implements the central component of PMKVY, special program for J&K – Udaan and IISC, and provides loan for model centres across all districts of the country – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras with PMKVY subsidy and the National Apprenticeship Programme would also be supported by NSDC.
In the 2018-19 budget outlay for the aspirational PMKK is raised to Rs. 3,400 crores, the budget also continues to with focus on apprenticeship training to 50 lakh apprentices by 2019-20 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.

NSDC which implements various government schemes and also acts as a market maker for skilling ecosystem has an annual budget of about Rs 2,000 crore.

What is the placement rate for 2017-18? How many aspirants were trained or provided skills and how many got employment?  

The placement rate for the centrally sponsored grant scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) for short term training (STT), has been 54% for the 2017-18. [See table for the break-up] PMKVY has central and state components and has two parts – short-term training (two to nine months training programmes) and recognition of prior learning (RPL) for certifying those who are skilled but not formally recognised.

Are you also finalising a deal with Japan for skilling people?

We are supporting the ministry in the technical intern training programme (TITP) and are empanelling sending organisation to allow skilled candidates to be placed in Japan for training and internship for three to five years. These interns would return to India with greater knowhow of the trades. We have received applications from about 30 sending organisations and will be selecting the first batch of 14 sending organisations. There are about 75 job roles across various sectors such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, care aid etc. We also recently signed an MoU with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce to train and place IT professionals with majority representation of female candidates who would be then placed in Swedish companies in Sweden, India and abroad.

For skilling, have you considered making use of existing industrial training institutes (ITIs)?

Currently, we are not directly involved with managing ITIs. Interestingly, we have a proposal from a reputed international organization for adopting 50 ITIs and ensuring that there is a back-to-back connect with industry and jobs. This will ensure that the ITIs are completely recast in a new light.

As of now, there are 13,000 ITIs. Approximately 2,000-2,500 of them are owned by the government.

Will you be eventually skilling 400 million?

The labour force [people in the age group of 15-59 as per NSDC] entry [in India] is 12 million a year. However, not everyone will look for a job right away. Instead, a sizeable population might want to get into education. There are also semi-skilled people in the fray. There are many roles in India, like carpenters who have never been given any formal training or have never been upskilled.

Of the 400 million, we should have as many skilled people as we can. Ideally, 85 percent of the workforce which is in the informal sector needs to be integrated in the formal sector. That will require both fresh training and upskilling. Our target under PMKVY is to train and skill 10 million youth by 2020. We also have a fee-based component wherein trainee pays a fee to get trained. This will be another 15-lakh people per annum.

The ministry has carried out some analytics wherein it was observed that about 10 million people get skilled per year – combining all skilling happening across ministries and NSDC under the larger umbrella of the Skill Development Mission. I believe skilling provided by states is not part of this data.

There have been questions around the employability of trainees gaining skills under skill development mission.


We know from our training partners and the ecosystem that employability had been a challenge in the past. The focus, thereafter, shifted to scaling up the quality. So, you will find that from PMKVY 1 to PMKVY 2 (started in mid-2016) the quality of training has progressively improved. The current programme is a far better version of STAR (Standard Training Assessment and Reward).

A government panel had pointed to several flaws with the skill development strategy. Your comments?

On PMKVY, we have a continuously evolved strategy. Our target, however, has not changed. 

The government admitted in the Lok Sabha that 67 percent of the workforce is susceptible to be impacted by automation. Have you factored in automation in your plans?

Automation will not impact India negatively. Let me give you an example: the driverless cars in California are run or managed by girls in Bhubaneswar from a centre where they have been trained. These girls have studied till class 12. So, I can’t say that driverless cars have led to loss of jobs. It has led to loss of jobs in the US but new jobs have been created in Bhubaneswar. At the centre, you can find girls sitting with computers, with pictures of streets of California displayed on their screens. They tag places, locations around the road, speed limit, etc. A house on the left side, a lamppost on the other side – all these are tagged and sent to a cloud. When a driverless car passes through that street, they actually draw the artificial intelligence (AI) from the cloud data, which was fed into the system by these girls in Bhubaneswar. This is being done by a group called I-Merit [partner of NSDC].

We have to upskill and reskill to stay relevant for the industry 4.0.

pratap@governancenow.com

(The interview appears in the March 31, 2018 issue)

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