"text-align: justify;">Jaipur: When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completed four years in government, it claimed, in newspaper advertisements across the country, that 10 million (one crore) youth had been trained under Skill India.

Under Skill India’s various programmes, 25 million (2.5 crore) were trained between July 2015 and May 2018, according to the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) show, but the data could not be independently verified.

This includes those trained by the Institutes of Industrial Training (ITIs), the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY or Prime Minister’s Skill Development Programme), fee-based programmes run by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and the government’s apprenticeship programme.

Of these, the ITIs and the apprenticeship programme have been running since the 1960s. Since 2016, the government began providing incentives to corporates in the form of stipends for taking apprentices and for covering a part of their training costs, said Rajesh Agrawal, joint secretary in the skill development ministry.

A government committee criticised the first edition of Skill India’s flagship programme, PMKVY that ran between July 2015 and June 2016, and trained 1.9 million, for several shortcomings including low level of placements, low quality of training, and inflated training numbers.

“The unmistaken conclusion is that an amount of Rs 2,500 crore of public funds was spent to benefit the private sector without serving the twin purposes of meeting the exact skill needs of the industry and providing employment to youth at decent wages,” the report said, as IndiaSpend reported on July 24, 2017.

In July 2016, the Indian government revamped the PMKVY. In the second edition of the programme, the PMKVY (2016-2020) placements went up from 17.3% of those certified in the short term training of the first programme to 46.5%, government data show. Still, over half of those certified had not got a job until at least three months after the certification, according to data from the programme’s online dashboard.

A successful Skill India programme would benefit the country--India is expected to have the largest workforce in the world by 2025. By the same year, the world is expected to face a shortage of 56.5 million skilled workers, while India is projected to have a surplus of 47 million, Indian government statistics show, as IndiaSpend reported in July 2017.

Yet, 30% of India’s youth are neither employed nor in education or training, Bloomberg reported on July 7, 2017. Unless employed gainfully, India’s “demographic dividend” could turn into a socio-economic nightmare.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana re-designed to link to job placements

Of the 1.45 million who were certified through the PMKVY between July 2015 and July 2016, 252,223, or 17.3%, were placed in jobs, data show.

Source: Data provided by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Note: Recognition of Prior Learning certifies people who are already skilled after a short training and assessment.

“Placements were not mandatory under PMKVY 1.0 and were only introduced in the month of December 2015 basis the decision of the 3rd PMKVY steering committee,” said Agrawal, in an email response to IndiaSpend. “Hence the placement numbers reported are not reflective of the entire employment/ self-employment that was generated under the scheme.”

From July 2016, the government started a new version of the PMKVY.

The government committee report, which was published in December 2016, said that PMKVY 2 was approved without an evaluation of the first PMKVY even though the programme was given Rs 12,000 crore with the mandate to skill 10 million people between 2016 and 2020.

The second edition improved the first programme, and made several changes including third party inspection, added soft skill and entrepreneurship modules to the trainings, and linked the programme to placements, said Agrawal.

By May 31, 2018, the PMKVY 2 had trained about 2.84 million (28.4 lakh) under three of its programmes--the Short Term Training programme, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)--which certifies people who are already skilled after a short training and assessment, and special projects--such as trainings for the disabled, training of the railway catering staff, digital literacy for street vendors--according to data provided by the ministry.

Of the 960,000 who had been certified under the Short Term Training programme by March 7, 2018, 46.5% had been placed by May 30, 2018, according to data from the PMKVY dashboard. The placement numbers, though higher than the first PMKVY, show that over half of those who completed the short training and were certified were still without a job at least three months after certification.

The PMKVY 2016-2020 gives a timeframe of 90 days from date of certification to place the candidates, said Agrawal.

The number of placed candidates is higher if those certified under RPL--who are likely to have been employed or self-employed even before the training--are included. Sixty percent of certified candidates of all three programmes combined were placed within 90 days of their certification as on June 5, 2018, said Agrawal.

The programme does not currently track candidates after they get a job. A study has been commissioned to study the long term implications of the programme.

"text-align: justify; margin-left: 65px; margin-right: 65px; width: 620px; font-family: arial; font-size: 11px;">Source: Data provided by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Note: Data as of May 31, 2018

Placement Data From The Short Term Training Programme Three Months After The Training
Trained and Certified by March 7, 2018 993276
Placed as on June 5, 2018 464255

Source: Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana Dashboard

For the earlier PMKVY, the report had found that vocational trainers and assessing bodies were private entities who utilised government funds, but the youths who enrolled did not get proper training, a low number were placed in jobs, and sector-wise skill needs were not met, as IndiaSpend reported in July 2017.

It also found a lack of integrated on-site apprenticeship training, inadequate, scarce training capacity, poor quality outcomes, and a shortage of qualified trainers.

For skilled trades such as those of a plumber and carpenter--for which non-certified people are already present--certification could play an important role, said Kris Lakshmikanth, founder chairman & managing director of The Head Hunters India Private Limited, a Bengaluru-based recruitment firm. "People like me would prefer hiring those who have been certified. But we don't know whether the (government) programmes work at that level," he said.

Further, English language skills are very important in certain industries, such as tourism, and you don't see that being offered as part of these training programmes.

For training, Lakshmikanth prefers the government’s Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), based on his experience with the manufacturing and auto sector. These institutes provide skills that regular colleges don’t, and industries are willing to hire these people even if they are 70-80% ready for the work because they can be trained on the job. “This is nothing new and has been going on for a long time,” he said.

This is the eight part in our series checking the National Democratic Alliance government's claims on completion of four years in office. You can read the other parts here: Smart Cities: Rs 2 lakh Cr Budget; 0.09% Of Central Funds Spent Ujjwala Yojana Performs As Per Claim, But Challenges Evident 20 New AIIMs Coming Up: BJP. Fact: 11 Get 3% Funding Foreign Direct Investment Up: Govt. True, But Not When Compared To GDP
Least Train Mishaps In 2017-18, But 3 Times More People Dead In NDA’s 4 Years 85% Rural Work Wages Paid On Time: BJP. Claim Reflects Pay Orders Not Wages 8 Of BJP’s 15 Claims On Rural Sector Check Out, 5 Do Not

(Khaitan is a writer/editor with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)

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