Since 2007, the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET), under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, has taken a great initiative to train the youth in vocational and employable skills. The DGET through this Skill Development Initiative (SDI)is building vocational and technical training frameworks that will help upgrade skills and promote innovative thinking for present jobs as well as those yet to be created. For this vision of Skilled India, the Ministry through the DGET is coordinating efforts across the country, ensuring that individuals are being provided such opportunities.
The DGT operates vocational training schemes through a network of training institutes (known as Industrial Training Institutes). These are under the administrative control of the respective State Governments. Majority of the Indian workforce today, especially in unorganized sectors have no access to formal training. By targeting this scheme towards early school dropouts, along with existing workers and ITI graduates, this scheme provides for a human resource pool previously untapped into.
Under SDI scheme courses would be developed at a national level and are also being standardized in terms of curricula and assessment. One of the notable features of the scheme is the certification system, wherein the existing skills can get certification in addition to the new ones acquired. This certificate would then be both nationally and internationally recognized. The initiative is sponsored by the Central Government, and since it utilizes the existing infrastructure, makes it cost effective for industries and establishments. This would also be a great gain for industries especially, as this improves the skill pool of their employees, thereby making the units more efficient, productive.
These Skill development programs are being advanced through Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s). The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in 2014 facilitated four Flexi MoU’s with industry giants. By identifying key industries, the MoU between the industries and Ministry of Labour are paving a new way of thinking. The number now has increased to 12 companies, ranging from pharmaceuticals to educational institutes to textile industries. The Flexi MoU is unique as it allows the companies to design training modules that are industry specific. While Tata Sons is on board as a knowledge partner, Flipkart is tackling MSES. The government under the Skilled India initiative is looking to partner or collaborate with interested companies that fit the eligibility to help further the cause.
Flipkart, representing the Micro and Small Enterprises Sector (MSES) serves as an interesting case study as an industry leader in the new internet marketplace. The DGET has helped aid their initiative called ‘Flipkart Kaarigar ke Dwaar’, which would promote artisans and feature handloom articles on their website. Flipkart with the DGET as a consultant aims to identify and train numerous prospective employees that such an industry in the foreseeable future will need. Mekin Maheshwari, Chief People Officer of Flipkart said, “”We want to change the paradigm of growth by partnering with the government to be an enabler of responsible, sustainable and inclusive growth in rural and urban India. Training is recognized as an important tool for developing the online capabilities of MSMEs” The MoU terms include introducing basic knowledge and skills required in e-marketplaces. These skills are relatively new to the targeted workforce they include dealing with online payments, social and online marketing, cataloging, photography, customer communication, using analyzed data, in addition to more familiar skills like logistics and packing. Once the training program has been completed and assessed, a certificate will be awarded from the Ministry of Labour, Government of India and these skilled individuals would be employed by Flipkart or its business partners
Among the private companies Raymond, Maruti Suzuki, Yamaha motors, Indo German Tool Room, Gujarat Industrial Power Company and Yashaswi have now entered MoU with the DGET .Under the MoU, Raymond will conduct training programs on customized garment manufacturing in formal men’s wear, while Gujarat Industrial Power Company has adopted two ITIs in the tribal-dominated areas of Gujarat, where it will provide two courses — instrument mechanic (power plant) and electrician (power plant) to the students. It has been reported that CII members working under a PPP mode with government agencies, have adopted 398 ITIs across the country to make them industry-friendly.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General, CII, said human capital was the force behind economic growth and the industry “will make India the talent capital of the world”.
The DGET is entering the MoU with companies to usher in this scheme. The training will be for twenty four months and divided into four semesters. The Company will design a course which would be approved by the NCVT (National Council of Vocational Training). The Company is required to arrange for instructors and conduct both practical and theoretical classes. The trainees are required to clear all semesters to complete the training, and upon that the company would have the option to absorb the candidates they find fit.
Despite efforts for standardization, there isn’t a standard training module in place at the moment that might have legal implications. Generally when such schemes are laid down, the Govt. comes out with GRs considering such Trainees as Apprentices under Apprentices Act, 1961. All aspects pertaining to engagement of Apprentices/Trainees is covered under the Apprentices Act & Rules such as working hours, health & safety, leaves, conduct & discipline etc. If these details are not mentioned somewhere in the abovementioned Scheme, disputes can arise in the future.