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NEW DELHI : The Centre will track female graduates of the skills mission programme to find out if the training is contributing to an increase in female participation at work and if it is helping their career progression.

The move comes in the wake of the Centre rolling out the third phase of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana in January in 600 districts with an initial budget of 950 crore. It is likely to extend the period with larger allocations.

Females who completed the programme in 2017-18 and 2018-19 will be tracked at the national level and one large state will be taken up alongside to see the efficacy of the state programmes also.

The initiative is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to decent work and gender equality. The tracer study’s outcome will be integrated with future skill policies, according to the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE).

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“While India has adopted the SDGs, participation of women in India’s workforce has been much lower than other countries. The MSDE aims to implement a tracer study to look at the employment outcomes of women candidates that have passed out from short-term skill training programmes," the ministry said in a document, asking third parties to participate in the exercise. Mint has seen a copy of the MSDE document.

Female participation at work has been dismal in India and is being widely discussed.

According to the Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) of women in India has been below 10% in the past four quarters, against the male LFPR of between 64% and 67%. The latest official data is not available, but the female LFPR was 18.6% in 2018-19 and 17.5% in 2017-18.

India ranks 112 out of 149 countries, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2019. This is a drop of four ranks from 2018. This decline in rank has been recurring for India over the years. In 2018, India’s rank fell by 21 places from its rank in 2016.

During 2016 and 2020, at least 1.82 million women were trained under the short-term skills programme, though the year-wise breakup was not immediately available.

The study will examine and understand the employment opportunities present for women after the completion of the skill training and “the challenges faced by them". This will be done via a World Bank supported programme of the skills ministry called Sankalp.

“Given the nature of the survey, a tracer study can provide valuable information on what has happened to a group of candidates that have passed out after completing a skill development programme. This would further help gauge the employability of candidates and seek feedback from them in improving the skill development programmes," the ministry document said.

It said the tracer study may also track a segment of males who also passed out in 2017-19 to draw up a career trajectory comparison between the two genders. The exercise will also map if skill-trained females are looking at entrepreneurship

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