New Delhi: The World Bank (WB) plans to fund skill development initiatives in India and provide technical assistance to the National Skill Development Corp. (NSDC) in executing its mission.
The World Bank may initially provide Rs 480 crore and lend further support depending on the success of the initiative, according to four people familiar with the development.
Honing skills: A file photo of students being trained at ITI Gurgaon. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint.
The government has moved a proposal in this regard and the file is now with the Planning Commission for its formal approval. A senior Planning Commission official said the panel was evaluating the proposal. The official declined to be named.
NSDC, which has a mandate to train as many as 150 million people over the next 10 years, currently has a corpus of Rs 1,500 crore, of which it has committed Rs 1,147.9 crore for skill training so far.
“We have a larger mission and welcome support from bilateral and multilateral agencies,” an NSDC spokesperson said.
NSDC has so far signed agreements with 46 training partners—38 companies and eight sector skill councils. The partners have a target to train 60.6 million people by 2022.
Vocational training in India is a $20 billion business annually, according to a July report by Kotak Securities Ltd. Around 475 million people will need training by fiscal 2022, it said.
Indian officials involved in the skill development initiative have been in touch with the bank for over a year, according to at least two World Bank officials, who did not want to be named.
The bank is also eager to provide “technical assistance” as it has a “wide experience of skill development in several countries”.
The officials said the funds can be used for developing innovations in skill training, giving better exposure to partners and putting in place a central monitoring system for mapping the growth of the sector, among other things. If required, foreign experts can be drafted to help Indian officials, an idea the Planning Commission may not support as such experts charge high consulting fees.
“NSDC represents an innovative approach to training and to skilling. We would help the skill mission if asked,” said John Blomquist, lead economist, human development, South Asia, World Bank. “All action has to be selective and in close partnership with the (Indian) finance ministry.”
During the formation of NSDC in 2008-09, the government had said that the funds required for imparting skills to 150 million people through the body would be to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore, and that the government would tap multilateral institutions among others to ensure that the funds are made available.
During a skill council meeting on 19 January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India will need about 260 million skilled people by 2018 and around 340 million by 2022, according to estimates. These studies also indicate that India needs to provide quality training to around 80 million people in the next five years. There is a significant gap between the requirement and the supply which, unless checked, will constrain India’s economic growth, Singh said.