New Delhi: Putting the spotlight on skill development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India needs to emerge as the global capital of human resources, the way China is the factory of the world.

Noting that India will have a surplus manpower of 40 to 50 million over the next decade, Modi emphasized the need to provide this manpower with the skills and ability needed to tackle global challenges, warning that the demographic dividend would otherwise become a challenge.

“For India, employment generation and skill development are the top priorities," Modi said, while launching the National Skill Development Mission in New Delhi. “If China is recognised as the ‘manufacturing factory’ of the world, India can become the ‘human resource capital’," he said.

Modi said the country needs to have a “futuristic vision" and draw up plans for the next 10 years. Speaking to an audience that included several central ministers, chief ministers and industry leaders, he said there is a need for mapping job requirements for both domestic and global markets and then planning the skill development targets accordingly.

“We have to train keeping in mind jobs and development," he said.

India aims to skill 402 million people between now and 2022; of these, at least 110 million workers are required in over 25 select sectors such as textiles, automobiles, construction, banking and retail.

S. Ramadorai, former vice-chairman of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and chairman of the National Skill Development Agency, said the Skill India mission had taken centre stage with the prime minister throwing his weight behind it. “The social and economic impact of building skills has taken centre stage. Skill is a national agenda... and building skill is also a business opportunity," he said.

Ramadorai underlined the need for an ecosystem, giving the example of the US’s Silicon Valley. While skill training is important, he said, promotion of entrepreneurship is equally vital.

Modi said the government would work to promote both apprenticeship and entrepreneurship. He said it is important for India to be able to predict future possibilities, and to “prepare for them today itself". Job seekers, job providers, students and policy-makers need to think alike, he added.

Linking aspirations to skill training, Modi said that if the 20th century saw India’s foremost technical institutes—the Indian Institutes of Technology—make a name for themselves globally, the 21st century requires that ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) acquire global recognition for producing quality skilled manpower.

He said India’s less-privileged sections want to live with respect and that acquisition of skills will give them energy and confidence. He also handed some job certificates to ITI graduates and a new skill card to students who have undergone skill-training courses.

Speaking at the same event, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the skills initiative is about preparing for the future. Jaitley said the convergence of Skill India and Make in India schemes will create fresh opportunities for Indians.

While Make in India looks to boost manufacturing in India and thus create more jobs, Skill India aims to provide a job-ready human workforce to the industry to ramp up productivity and ultimately aid economic growth.

Skills and entrepreneurship minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said there is a growing realisation about the need for skills and that the present government is ramping up the effort and putting the spotlight on it. He said that while less than 4% of the Indian workforce is skilled, in China the proportion is 47%, in Germany it is 74%, in Japan it is 80% and in South Korea it is 96%.

India is adding nearly 12 million people to the job market every year and more than 65% of its population is below the age of 35.

The Prime Minister also launched the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the skill and entrepreneurship ministry’s flagship skill training scheme that aims to incentivize skill training by providing financial rewards to candidates who successfully complete approved skill training programmes.

Over the next year, PMKVY aims to skill 2.4 million youth, across India. For the first time, the skills of young people who lack formal certification, such as workers in India’s vast unorganised sector, will be recognised. Through an initiative known as ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ (RPL), a million youths will be assessed and certified for the skills that they already possess.

Modi also launched a Skill Loan scheme under which bank loans ranging from 5,000 to 1,50,000 will be made available to 3.4 million youths seeking to attend skill development programmes over the next five years.

The government on Wednesday also launched a skill card, which can be used by employers to verify the training credentials of job seekers.

Close