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New Delhi: The newly formed Union skills ministry will involve states in implementing its skill development initiatives as it seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution that can derail the best-laid plans of federal bureaucrats.

The ministry has called a meeting of ministers and officials from states and Union territories later this week, where the attendees will narrate their experiences in skill development at the ground level.

“States are the most important stakeholders for skill development and our minister (Rajiv Pratap Rudy) has called a meeting of states’ ministers to develop a combined vision for Skill India," said Rajesh Aggarwal, director general (training) at the skills ministry.

Another government official, who declined to be named, said a draft national skills policy is expected to be released at the meeting. It will be finalized later to take forward the National Skills Mission proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ministry will try to give a “broad direction" on the skill development and entrepreneurship issues, he added.

“The effort is to prepare a system which shall help in creating skilled workforce as per local requirements—it shall be region-specific and demand-driven," the second official said. “There are pockets of excellence in states, too, but that needs to be scaled up. Some states shall share their best practices with others and the skills ministry will be a facilitator," said the official.

For example, Gujarat will give a presentation on rural skilling, while Chhattisgarh will elaborate on its livelihood college scheme. Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Kerala are among the states that will also share their experiences.

“Since manufacturing is a key focus of the central government, states shall be asked to share their vision on job creation and skilling in this sector as well," the second official said. “The vision of states and Centre need to align for better output," the official explained, adding that the ministry may call a meeting or two every year to promote skill development in partnership with the states and map their outcome.

India has set a target of training 500 million people by 2022. Nearly a million people enter the Indian labour market every month.

On 9 April, a ministry report had said that India will require nearly 120 million more workers by 2022 and equipping them with required skills would be crucial to reap economic benefits. More than 90% of these workers will be needed in 10 sectors, led by building, construction and real estate, and retail.

India would also require some 10.88 million domestic helps by 2022, 4.88 million more than in 2013, the base year for this survey. In contrast, the country’s biggest employer, agriculture, will need nearly 25 million less, from 240.4 million in 2013 to 215.6 million in 2022.

The second government official cited above said that while the skills ministry has mapped the incremental requirement of the workforce at the national level, such analysis needs to be done at the state and district levels. “Once you map and then train as per requirement, it will lead to more job creation. Besides, it shall also stop migration of workforce, and that’s a key challenge," the official said.

“You cannot develop skills by sitting in Delhi. States are natural partners and you have to take them along. Central government departments alone won’t be able to achieve the overall skill targets of India," said Rituparna Chakraborty, senior vice-president of staffing and training company TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd.

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