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New Delhi: Several ministries are coming together for a common skill development agenda.

On Friday, the ministry of steel and mines joined hands with the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship to share resources for the purpose of skill development.

Public sector units under the ministry of steel and mines will allow the opening of skill training schools in their existing infrastructure and spend money from their CSR kitty for skill development.

On Thursday, the skills ministry tied up with the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers.

The skills ministry has already tied up with the ministry of coal and power and will tie up with railways and defence on similar lines.

In May, the ministry tied up with Coal India Ltd and in June, it did so with NTPC Ltd for the purpose.

The new initiative is the result of the government seeking to roll out an asset-light model of skill development, deciding to utilize existing resources like railway stations and steel factories for training purposes.

Ministers are calling it the third level of the government’s reform agenda after infrastructure and financial reforms.

For all these activities, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is the nodal ministry.

“Instead of working separately on a small scale, we should work cohesively on a bigger scale. This is of utmost importance to meet the demand and execute skill development in a strategic manner," steel and mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.

Skill and entrepreneurship minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government is serious about skill development, as it looks to harness the demographic benefits, but in a conscious decision wants to use existing facilities of various ministries. “We shall share resources," said Rudy.

“Ministries joining hands will rationalize the skill development efforts of the country. The realization that different stakeholders can work together is a good sign of things to come and, going forward, it will translate into demand-specific and focused skill development in India," said Dilip Chenoy, managing director of National Skill Development Corp., a public-private partnership organization.

In a statement on Friday, the ministry of steel and mines said the steel industry employs around 200,000 people at present, including around 97,000 by Steel Authority of India Ltd. Lack of trained manpower “could pose a big challenge for the steel industry which will need 2.85 lakh more such workers to treble the annual capacity to 300 million tonnes within 10-12 years," the statement noted.

Ananth Kumar, minister of chemicals and fertilizers, said some 11 million people are working directly or indirectly in the sectors of petrochemicals, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals but some 80% of them are not skill trained. The three sectors have an annual revenue base of 14 trillion and it would not be possible for these sectors to grow without quality manpower, he said. “The government feels skill development is the third level of reform after infra and finance," he said, adding, “Better efficiency will lead to better productivity and better productivity to better GDP."

India aims to skill train 420 million people between now and 2022 to take advantage of the demographic bulge but lack of coordination among departments and ministries, centre and states, and the lack of capacity is hindering the process. In a country that adds nearly 12 million people to the workforce every year, less that 5% are trained. In contrast, 74% in Germany, 80% in Japan and 96% in Korea are skill trained.

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