New Delhi: The World Bank has cleared a $250-million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling, in a move that is seen to aid the Skill India mission. The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills. It said the support will help the youth contribute to India’s economic growth and prosperity.
“The $250-million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO), approved by the World Bank board of executive directors, will increase the market relevance of short-term skill development programmes (3-12 months or up to 600 hours) at the national and state level," the Bank said in a release. Under the programme, adults in 15-59 years of age, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training. It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year.
The programme has a mandate to provide placement and entrepreneurship opportunities to women and increase their exposure to skill training. The Washington-headquartered World Bank’s SIMO is a six- year programme in support of the Indian government’s National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2017-23).
SIMO will be implemented through the National Skill Development Mission and will specifically target labour market entrants. According to an official skill gap analysis, India will require an additional 109 million skilled workers in 24 key sectors by 2022. “This programme will support the government’s vision of investing in the human capital of India’s youth, enable greater off-farm employment and increase women’s participation in the labour market," World Bank Country Director to India Junaid Ahmad said.
India continues to be on its path of structural reforms and a higher-skilled labour force can potentially serve as a catalyst in transforming it into a competitive middle income country, Ahmad said. As per the Bank’s estimate, skill development capacity of the system would increase by the end of the programme so that at least 8.8 million youth with relevant training have an improved employment opportunity to raise their earnings. The programme will benefit approximately 15,000 trainers and 3,000 assessors, it added.