Practice Question – How can skill development programme induce social change? Illustrated [UPSC 2020]

Approach – Introduction, Define Skill development, The relevance of skill development and its social impacts, Give detail on how it can be an agent of social change, Mention any success story of a skill development programme, Conclusion. 


India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 54% of the total population below 25 years of age. India’s workforce is the second largest in the world after China’s. While China’s demographic dividend is expected to start tapering off by 2015, India will continue to enjoy it till 2040. However, India’s formally skilled workforce is approximately 2% – which is dismally low compared to China (47%), Japan (80%) or South Korea (96%).
Livelihood opportunities are affected by supply and demand side issues. On the supply side, India is failing to create enough job opportunities ;and on the demand side, professionals entering the job market are lacking in skill sets.This is resulting in a scenario of rising unemployment rates along with low employability.

An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate systematic and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions among people. Skill
development is the training and development that is being provided by the employer
provides to his employees at the work place.

Global mega trends such as the rising role of technology, climate change, demographic shifts, urbanization, and the globalization of value chains are changing the nature of work and skills demands. To succeed in the 21st century labor market, one needs a comprehensive skill set composed of: 
Cognitive skills, which encompass the ability to understand complex ideas, adapt effectively to the environment, learn from experience, and reason. Foundational literacy and numeracy as well as creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving are cognitive skills. 
Socio-emotional skills, which describe the ability to navigate interpersonal and social situations effectively, and include leadership, teamwork, self-control, and grit.
Technical skills, which refer to the acquired knowledge, expertise, and interactions needed to perform a specific task, including the mastery of required materials, tools, or technologies.  
Digital skills, which are cross-cutting and draw on all of the above skills, and describe the ability to access, manage, understand, integrate, communicate, evaluate, and create information safely and appropriately.

The development of skills can contribute to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and labor productivity and helping countries to become more competitive. Investment in a high-quality workforce can create a virtuous cycle, where relevant and quality skills enable productivity growth and foreign direct investment, which result in more and better jobs for the current workforce and more public and private investment in the education and training system. This, in turn, increases the employability and productivity for both the current and future workforce. 

ILO estimates that 75 per cent of workers are involved in the informal economy, which accounts for 40 per cent of GDP; regarding the rural sector, a significant portion of employment is created in small-scale family agricultural units. The development of competencies is essential so that the workforce can move from informal economy to employments within the formal economy, and in order to increase labour productivity. Society perceives the impact of the development of competencies as jobs of higher quality, higher employment and formality rates, reduction of poverty, social inclusion, respect for labour rights and competitiveness in international markets.

Training should respond to the productive, technological, labour and socio-cultural context, as well as to the characteristics, conditions, needs and expectations of its target individuals. This is the dual relevance of training, both social and economical. Furthermore, the development of qualifications can also help build more equitable societies. There is a close relationship between the various forms of labour market exclusion such as unemployment, underemployment and low wages and poverty and discrimination. Therefore, training actions which contribute to solve such forms of exclusion will have a direct bearing on the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Social benefits include sensitive issues such as reducing violence and crime rates, and becoming more integrated to the family, the community or the society as a whole.” A passable training environment encourages team learning, as well as the development of knowledge and better attitudes, motivations and values, all of which lead to a better social integration. The recognition granted with a certificate of competence has significant values in the labour market and in the educational environment, promoting social participation and the commitment to lifelong learning.


Skill India
The main goal is to create opportunities, space and scope for the development of the talents of the Indian youth. The main focus is to skill the youths in such a way so that they get employment and also improve entrepreneurship. Provides training, support and guidance for all occupations that were of traditional type like carpenters, cobblers, welders, blacksmiths, masons, nurses, tailors, weavers etc. More emphasis will be given on new areas like real estate, construction, transportation, textile, gem industry, jewellery designing, banking, tourism and various other sectors, where skill development is inadequate or nil.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 2016-2020
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through National Skill Development Corporation has implemented Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2015-16 with a target to cover 24 lakh youth in the country. The scheme is implemented with the objective to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood. Individuals with prior learning experience or skills were also assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) category.

Rozgar Mela
To give impetus to the employment initiatives in the country, National Skill Development Corporation under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India has been organizing Rozgar Melas across the nation for providing suitable job opportunities to the unemployed youth. The Rozgar Mela is a major initiative taken by the Ministry to improve the placement rate of unemployed youth.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK)
Under Skill India Mission, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has initiated the establishment of state-of-the-art, visible and aspirational model training centers in every district of India, ensuring coverage of all the parliamentary constituencies. These model training centers are referred to as “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra” (PMKK).

The Special lndustry Initiative (Sll) for J&K is funded by Ministry of Home Affairs and implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The program is a part of the overall initiative for addressing economic issues in J&K. Udaan program is a special initiative to address the needs of the educated unemployed in J&K. Udaan program is focused on youth of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) who are graduate, post graduate and three-year diploma engineers. The aim is to provide skills and job opportunities to the youth. Simultaneously, the aim is also to provide exposure to corporate India towards the rich talent pool available in J&K.

India International Skill Centres (IISC)
Government of India is keen to bridge the global shortage of labour force in the coming years by reaping the demographic dividend of young Indian labour force. To meet this objective, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship under the “Skill India” Mission has set up India International Skill Centre (IISC) to provide skill trainings and certification benchmarked to International Standards. In the pilot phase, IISCs were set up through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and implemented the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) for youth seeking global mobility for jobs. 

Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE)
Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) project is a World Bank assisted-Government of India project with the objective of improving the relevance and efficiency of skills training provided through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and apprenticeships. It is an outcome focused scheme marking shift in government’s implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results. It is aimed at institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long term vocational education training. It shall incentivize ITIs to improve overall performance including apprenticeship by involving SMEs, business association and industry clusters. 

Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP)
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) was set up in November 2014 to drive the ‘Skill India’ agenda – to converge existing skill training initiatives and to combine scale and quality of skilling efforts. The MSDE launched the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) to create an end-to-end implementation framework that provides opportunities for quality short and long-term Skill Development (SD), leading to productive employment and career progression that meets the aspirations of trainees.
 NSDM has identified seven sub-missions in crucial areas which require immediate attention. The identified sub missions include: (i) Institutional Training, (ii) Infrastructure, (iii) Convergence, (iv) Trainers, (v) Overseas Employment, (vi) Sustainable Livelihoods and (vii) Leveraging Public Infrastructure.

The key issues countries need to tackle for skills development are: 

Access and completion

Across the world, investments in education and skills development—from preschool through post-secondary education to vocational training—have high returns. The wage penalty for low literacy is nine percentage points in Colombia, Georgia and Ukraine, and 19 percentage points in Ghana. And the opposite is also true: in Brazil, graduates of vocational programs earn wages about 10 percent higher than those with a general secondary school education. Still, provision of equitable access is a challenge in many low-income and middle-income countries. Furthermore, many students who manage to enrol in education or training programs do not complete their studies and miss out on obtaining formal qualifications, which can dramatically reduce the return on the educational investments in terms of lifetime earning potential.


Many young people attend schools without acquiring basic literacy skills, leaving them unable to compete in the job market. More than 80 percent of the entire working age population in Ghana and more than 60 percent in Kenya cannot infer simple information from relatively easy texts. For those who access technical and vocational training at secondary and post-secondary levels, returns can vary substantially by specialization and institution. In particular, technical and vocational training (TVET) systems in many countries face challenges related to quality assurance, resulting in perceptions of the vocational track being a second-best option compared to general secondary or tertiary education.   


Technical and vocational education and training —which can last anywhere from six months to three years— can give young people, especially women, the skills to compete for better paying jobs. Nevertheless, more needs to be done in terms of engaging local employers to ensure that the curriculum and delivery of these programs responds to labor market needs.


Challenges related to governance, financing, and quality assurance also impact the efficiency of skills development programs. The resulting unnecessarily high costs can limit opportunities for disadvantaged youth and adults to access these programs.

It is also high time now measures are taken to improve the physical and mental development of the youths of the country so that none of them remains unemployed and the country’s unemployment problem also gets reduced. It is time to open up avenues by which the youth accepts responsibility and no one remains idle because an idle youth is a obstructions for the economy. Employability of the growing young demography is an important factor in the economic development of the country and the crisis of skill development has to be turned into opportunity to growth, said C Rangarajan, chairman of Madras School of Economics and former Prime Ministers Economic Advisory Committee. The economy should concentrate on job creation and social security schemes. With this new approach towards skill development, India can definitely move forward towards its targeted results.

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