New Delhi [India], February 8 (ANI): With nearly 65 per cent of its youth in the working age group, India boasts one of the world's largest young populations, offering the country significant opportunities to channelize this demographic dividend in becoming the "skill" capital of the world, reported Asian Lite International.
Investing in skill development has become the need of the hour as it can lead to significant structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and labour productivity.
As per the World Bank, "global 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."
In light of this, economists believe that India has the potential to capitalize on a major "demographic dividend" on the back of its large and growing workforce at a time when many other large economies are dealing with ageing populations, reported Asian Lite International.
This demographic dividend can be a key element in the industrial revolution 4.0 (IR-4). IR-4 has integrated new technologies - like the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing & analytics, artificial intelligence & machine learning - into manufacturing production processes and operations, ushering in a new era of 'smart manufacturing'.
With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, new skills are quickly making existing skills obsolete, calling for a drastic evaluation of strategies and policies to ensure a relevant and competitive workforce, reported Asian Lite International.
Consequently, the Indian government's focus on skill development infrastructure has increased with attention now being given to vocational and practical skills, and plugging the gap between industry needs and education.
In 2014, for the first time since the country's Independence, India set up the Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to coordinate all skill development efforts across the country and enhance employability through skill development.
Moreover, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to make India the skills capital of the world, the Union government has launched several ambitious projects to train 400 million Indians in different skills by 2022, reported Asian Lite International.
The flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) aims to recognize and provide skills to youths, such as workers in the vast unorganized sector, who lack formal certification. To date, this scheme has recorded close to over 13 million youths getting skilled.
The digital skilling initiative FutureSkills PRIME aims to re-skill and up-skill over 400 thousand professionals in emerging technologies such as AI and IoT, making India the 'Digital Talent Nation'.
To expand the digital ecosystem for skilling in the country, Union Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman announced the launch of a unified "Skill India Digital platform" in the Union Budget 2023-24, which proposes to train hundreds of thousands of youth in the next three years.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has been allocated over Rs 34 billion in this budget which is 20 per cent higher than the allocations from the previous year. The increased allocation of resources shows the significance attached to skill development.
Another important aspect to be considered and worked on is skill development in the unorganized sector. With more than 80 per cent of the workforce in the unorganized sector, this section of the population cannot afford to be ignored in terms of training and skilling, reported Asian Lite International.
Investing in skilling this group can be a major game changer by diversifying the skills and increasing employment opportunities for them.
To address this, the PMKVY scheme has a component called 'Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)', a skill certification component that recognizes the value of learning acquired outside a formal setting and provides a government certificate for an individual's skills.
Moreover, a collaboration between the public and private sectors is also critical to move forward.
Momentum is also being seen with various private enterprises collaborating with sector skills councils and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to set up-skilling ventures focused on employability.
t goes without saying that skill development is a priority, and India has taken lead in integrating skill development into the larger social and economic strategies to reap its demographic dividend, reported Asian Lite International. (ANI)