The National Skill Development Corporation was launched recently as part of a national imitative to boost the skilled manpower pool.

The launch of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) marks a major step forward in an ongoing national initiative to build a skilled manpower pool in the country covering different sectors.

The NSDC has been envisaged as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) enterprise with a shareholding pattern involving both the private sector and the government. The Finance Ministry and leading industry bodies have contributed to its initial capital. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had launched the NSDC on October 20.

NSDC has set itself the target of equipping at least 150 million people with the required skills by 2022.

Current figures

Present estimates indicate that the existing pool of those who have received any kind of formal or non-formal training is only about 40 million strong. The Prime Minister’s National Mission on Skill Development, the National Skill Development Coordination Board and the NSDC will all have roles to play in achieving these goals.

The Council will formulate the basic skill development strategy principles, while the board will integrate the efforts being made by various government ministries and departments in this area and, the NSDC will channelise the energies of the private sector to help achieve the goals.

While the corporation will try to synergise the skill development programmes being run by as many as 17 different ministries, it will immediately consider the adoption of a few ITIs on a ‘management contract’ basis, to help frame models for better management of the existing infrastructure.

Bringing in the best ‘techno-managerial’ practices in conducting skill development programmes for textile workers in collaboration with the Ministry of Textiles will also be considered.

Sector Skill Councils

It has been suggested that the corporation could also set up Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) to help develop standards and curriculum in some sectors and also provide testing and certification mechanisms and help the government in acquiring accreditation capability.

There was an urgent need to develop standards and curriculum, as well as certification mechanisms for key skill sectors such as construction, automobiles and gems and jewellery.

Reliable accreditation institutions also needed to be set up.

Now the functions relating to curriculum development, examination and certification are being coordinated by the National Council on Vocational Training (NCVT), which also provides affiliation to ITIs/ITCs. There is also no established mechanism for accreditation of training institutes.

One of the larger goals of the national skill development initiative is the creation of a skilled manpower pool of 500 million people by 2022.

The pool should be sufficient not only to meet the ‘domestic requirements of a rapidly growing economy’, but also ‘cater to the skill deficits in other ageing economies, thereby effectively leveraging India’s competitive advantage and harnessing the country’s edge in having a higher proportion of the population comprising of young people.