Latest economic survey of the country indicates that while employment growth has been lower in 2009-2011, unemployment rate in India continued to hover around 2%. The new Govt. has the biggest challenge of creating not only job opportunities but also the numbers of quality jobs along with required skill building. Both issues are to be handled together because only skill development is not the end goal.
The question is-from where jobs will come and how skill building is streamlined to meet the Industry objectives. Creating new jobs is a crucial task and plays an important role in economy. The treasure of jobs is in small and medium industries. Informal and unorganized sector is also capable of creating job opportunities. Big manufacturing industries have inclination to go for automation rather than absorbing manpower. They are substituting capital for labour. In this back drop policies can’t afford to ignore the small & medium industries.
Coming to skill building and employability, NSSO reports indicate that problem of unemployment lies with educated youth and not illiterate ones because this segment is ready to opt for low pay jobs. Here, youth need to make informed choices about further education, which could lead them to employment and meet expectations of labour market. The disconnect is growing between the needs of the employers and the skills that are available in the market.
Industry should not be in wait and watch mode. They have to embark upon the opportunities and be ready to absorb the vocationally trained workforce or develop them as per needs. Skill building has to perceived by the industry as an integral part of HR initiatives. Setting up of sector skill councils is a right step in the direction but things should happen fast. Not much contribution has come from these SSCs so far. All stakeholders need to seriously think and invest in skills amongst the youth which means complete overhaul of education system closely integrating it with an effective apprenticeship regime because learning –by –doing and learning-while earning are the most powerful vehicles of skill development.
Every training module and provider needs to be assessed on the results in terms of employment being procured by persons trained and salaries they earn. The reality check of all efforts on skill building either through NSDC or SSCs will be to see how many persons are placed in jobs.
We intend to make an effort to understand and comprehend the complexities of job creation, skill building and employability through the experts in this cover story. Also to find out the challenges and ways ahead to meet and resolve to convert the challenge of huge population into growth opportunity.