An immediate need for skilled manpower for “growth sectors” to sustain growth and reduce unemployment was highlighted at a conference on skill development organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here recently with a call for providing employment only after certification of candidates by the Sector Skill Councils.

National Skill Development Corporation Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Dilip Chenoy said after inaugurating the conference that while Rajasthan was taking steps for improvement of skills of the workforce, proposals were still being awaited for partnership with the private sector players.

“If all the current projects stay in place, 7.40 crore skilled people will be churned out at a project cost of Rs.168 crore,” said Mr. Chenoy, adding that the NSDC is providing funds for skill development initiatives at an interest rate of six per cent with 10-year repayment cycle. Three to four years of moratorium is also offered for some projects.

The Prime Minister has mandated the NSDC to determine the training needs of different sectors and develop the curriculum through the Sector Skill Councils for certification of the workforce, said Mr. Chenoy.

Eighteen councils have been approved by the NSDC so far and eight proposals are in the pipeline, said Mr. Chenoy. Though the leaders from various industries are taking these initiatives, the current system fails to offer a career path to people with vocational training, he said and pointed out that the NSDC would intervene to offer proper career avenues.

Rajasthan Skill & Livelihood Development Corporation Managing Director Rajesh Yadav said the Corporation would target 10 lakh youths for skill training during the next three years. Since 2005, the Corporation has trained over 85,000 youths with 300 training partners in 34 sectors and 192 courses.

CII State Council Chairman Dileep Baid said the premier industry body has turned the limelight on skill development across the country to align industry manpower needs with the skilling initiatives and improve the employability of the working population, including school drop-outs and semi-skilled and unskilled workers. “China has managed to increase its labour productivity during the past few years with proper focus on skill development,” said Mr. Baid. Efforts are under way to create a new wave of entrepreneurship in India that would result in further employment generation, while the CII has launched its own skill development initiative which is aligned to the national skill development agenda for benefiting 50 crore people by 2022.

Former State Chief Secretary M. L. Mehta, speaking on challenges for skill education, said 85 per cent of graduates are not employable and there is a “geographical and skill mismatch” across the country. He pointed out only eight per cent of the total employment is available in industry and 92 per cent is generated in the informal sector.

NIIT Limited head (strategic alliances & business development) Amit Kapur said Rajasthan is a large State with great opportunities where skills would work as “oil for the economy”. He cited the example of the Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) in the field of industrial facilitation with growth.

Labour Net Services chief executive officer V. Gayathri threw light on skill deficit in the country and pointed out that about 35 crore of the workforce in the country are illiterate. She focused on the disconnect between the skills required and the talent available and emphasised the need for innovative approaches for vocational education in the informal sector. CII Rajasthan State office director Nitin Gupta said the CII was making several efforts in the domain of skills through public-private partnerships, adoption of industrial training institutes, sector skill councils, skill gap studies, skill hubs and skill gurukuls.