Skills minister seeks a pie of CSR funds
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New Delhi: The government is in the process of notifying a new skills ministry and a portion of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget of industries could be channelled into providing training to Indians, minister for skill development Sarbananda Sonowal said on Monday.
“We are in the process of activating the ministry of skill development and are currently consulting with all major stakeholders including the private sector,” Sonowal, who is also minister for entrepreneurship, youth affairs and sports, told a National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) conference in New Delhi. “We believe an effective and sustainable partnership between private and public sector would be crucial for this ambitious mission to be achieved.”
It is necessary to ensure that industry be made a major partner in the government’s Skilling India mission, a plan to train 500 million people by 2022 that the government believes would provide a job-ready workforce to several industry segments, he said.
The minister said the implementation of the new companies law, which mandates companies to invest no less than 2% of their net profits in CSR initiatives, can provide employability-linked skill development and is an item that qualifies as approved expenditure under CSR.
“I would like to urge all corporations to make skill building an important component of their CSR activities. As I see it industry has to play a pivotal role in this going forward,” said Sonowal.
S. Ramadorai, chairman of NSDC, said that going by the budget speech of the finance minister, he believes that all skill development initiatives will be “well provided for”.
He said the government’s faith in the role of the private sector in skill development should drive the sector “to go beyond the call of duty, invest in the ecosystem, take decisions based on the larger good rather than the narrow lens of individual gains”.
“This is not business as usual, this is a unified effort of the government and private sector to ensure a better future for our youth. Let’s not ever forget this vision.”
He, however, said training cannot be an end in itself. “Jobs ought to be. More employers, more trades, more regions and more sections of the marginalized need to be brought into the fold of your effort,” said Ramadorai, who is also vice-chairman of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.