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Skills and knowledge serve as pivotal drivers of economic growth and societal advancement in any nation. With one of the youngest populations, a median age of 28, India can harness its demographic dividend by nurturing a workforce that is equipped with employable skills and prepared for the needs of the industry. Elevated levels and superior standards of skills help countries adeptly navigate the challenges and opportunities present in both domestic and international job markets. India has not only recognised the potential of its young workforce but also the challenges arising in skilling such a vast population. According to the National Sample Survey Office 2011-12 (68th round) report on the Status of Education and Vocational Training in India, approximately 2.2% of individuals aged 15-59 reported having received formal vocational training, while 8.6% indicated participation in non-formal vocational training. 

To combat this challenge, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) came up with a revised National Policy for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (NSDE) in 2015 and, in pursuance of the policy, introduced the Skill India Mission comprising skilling schemes of all Ministries & Departments. Under Skill India Mission, more than 20 Central Ministries/Departments are implementing Skill Development Schemes/Programmes to enhance skill levels of millions of people on pan India basis through long-term and short-term training. 

The National Policy for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship addresses challenges in skill development by bridging gaps, improving industry engagement, establishing a quality assurance framework, leveraging technology, and expanding apprenticeship opportunities. Prioritizing equity, it targets marginalized groups and emphasizes skill development and entrepreneurship for women. In the entrepreneurial domain, the policy educates potential entrepreneurs, facilitates mentorship, fosters innovation, enhances ease of doing business, and promotes social entrepreneurship. 

Schemes/Initiatives Under the Skill India Mission 

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), focuses on imparting skill development training to youth nationwide, including rural areas. PMKVY 3.0 (2020-21) introduced Skill Hub Initiative focusing on the introduction of skill training programmes in the education ecosystems. Under PMKVY 4.0 (2022-26), the emphasis is on on-the-job training, industry partnerships, and aligning courses with industry needs. The program also includes contemporary courses for Industry 4.0, such as coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IoT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. As of October 2023, PMKVY has successfully trained 14 Mn candidates across 2640 training centres, including Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras.  
  • Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), implemented through NGOs, aims to provide vocational training to non-literates, neo-literates, and school dropouts in rural regions by identifying skills relevant to the local market. With over two-thirds of India's population residing in rural areas, JSS strives to economically uplift this demographic through essential skills training. The focus is on enabling the growth of local trades and creating new opportunities for the region's residents. Priority is accorded to women, SC, ST, OBC, and minorities in both rural and urban low-income areas. Currently, there are 288 JSS centres that have successfully trained 2.1 Mn candidates as of October 2023. 
  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme-2 (NAPS-2) aims to promote apprenticeship training in the country, by providing partial stipend support to the apprentices engaged under the Apprentice Act, 1961, undertaking capacity building of the apprenticeship ecosystem, and providing advocacy assistance to the stakeholders. Training consists of Basic Training and On-the-Job Training / Practical Training at workplace in the industry. A total of 42453 unique establishments engaged the apprentices across the country.
  • Craftsman Training Scheme (CTS) is providing long-term training through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across the country. The ITIs offer a range of vocational/skill training courses covering a large number of economic sectors with an objective to provide skilled workforce to the industry as well as self-employment of youth. Presently, training courses under Craftsmen Training Scheme are being offered through a network of 15016 ITIs.

Bridging the Gap Between Education and Employability

The government's initiatives focus on skilling youth from diverse backgrounds, preparing them for the workforce. In line with these efforts, the National Skill Development Corporation, under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, conducts nationwide Rozgar Melas to provide suitable job opportunities in the private sector for unemployed youth. This not only addresses unemployment but also contributes to parallel growth in the private and industrial sectors. 

In addition to domestic efforts, the MSDE has introduced 'Skill India International' (SII), establishing two centres in Varanasi and Bhubaneswar. These centres aim to provide gainful employment and enhance global career mobility by meeting the demands of international employers in countries like the UAE, Japan, Australia, and others, aligning with the increasing global demand for skilled workers. 

The National Education Policy 2020 underscores the importance of vocational education and the development of teachers' capacities to enhance learners' employability and vocational skills at all levels.  

The New Employability Skills curriculum, developed in collaboration with Quest Alliance and launched by the Ministers of State for Education at 'Shikshak Parv 2022,' aims to instill a self-learning mindset, prepare learners for a post-pandemic job market, and equip them with 21st-century skills. The e-Books are now available on NSDC’s eSkillIndia portal, with plans to release eLearning content to the public through NSDC’s modules. The curriculum will be integrated across the MSDE ecosystem, emphasizing widespread adoption and impact.

Furthermore, recent Annual PLFS Reports indicate a positive trend in employment, with the estimated Worker Population Ratio (WPR) showing an increase from 52.9% in 2021-22 to 56.0% in 2022-23 for individuals aged 15 years and above. This underscores the effectiveness of ongoing efforts in boosting employment in the country. 

Digital Skilling and Soft Skills

To ensure that every Indian has access to quality skill development, relevant opportunities, and entrepreneurial support, the MSDE launched Skill India Digital (SID), a comprehensive digital platform. SID transforms India's skills, education, employment, and entrepreneurship landscape, offering industry-relevant courses, job opportunities, and support for aspiring entrepreneurs. This is the first-ever collaboration on a national scale between Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Skill and affiliated NSDCs, Skill India programs (National Educational Alliance for Technology) and AICTE. Over 100+ technology corporate/manufacturing firms have already come on board on this platform to provide free-of-cost emerging technology certifications.

Another milestone in the digital skilling landscape is the Future Skills PRIME - a collaboration between the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and NASSCOM, designed to establish an up-skilling and re-skilling ecosystem. This joint effort focuses on 10 emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain, 3D printing, AR/VR, cyber security, and cloud computing. The initiative aims to continuously enhance the skills of IT professionals in alignment with their aspirations and aptitude. In conjunction with this, the recently launched Skill Hub portal, a government initiative, further expands the reach of industry-ready skills by inviting colleges and universities to join the Skill India network, fostering accessibility to skill training nationwide. 

Skill India addresses the significance of soft skills in the modern workplace, acting as a bridge between employees and employers and enabling educational institutes to align curricula with industry demands. Soft skills are essential in today's workplace, complementing technical expertise and contributing to overall professional success. Skill India addresses the development of technical and soft skills through holistic training programs, emphasizing a comprehensive skill set for improved employability. Initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), sector-specific training by Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) and apprenticeship programs prioritize the integration of both technical and soft skills. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and entrepreneurship development efforts further emphasize the importance of a well-rounded skill set for individuals entering the workforce or pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Skill India's approach ensures that individuals are not only technically proficient but also equipped with the interpersonal and problem-solving skills crucial for success in diverse professional environments. 


Through various initiatives and sub-schemes of Skill India Mission, the government aims to empower individuals with industry-relevant expertise. The emphasis on soft skills acknowledges their significance in today's workplace dynamics, fostering effective communication and adaptability. By combining technical and soft skills development, Skill India ensures a well-rounded and employable workforce, contributing to India's economic growth and societal advancement. 

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