Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced several proposals in the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The creation of a Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) with Rs 1,000 crore for the improvement of infrastructure in higher education institutions is a decision in the right direction. Whereas in the case of skill development, the government has announced 1,500 multiskill training institutes across the country with a recognized board for certification purposes. Hopefully, this will enhance the recognition of formally skilled alumni and youth will be more widely accepted for employment in public and private sector. Also, to incentivize the employers to recruit unemployed persons and bring into the books the informal employees to ensure new jobs are created in the formal sector. The Centre’s decision to pay the Employee Pension Scheme contribution of 8.33 per cent for all new employees enrolling in EPFO for the first three years of their employment is also commendable.
‘Make in India’ is a workable solution for employment and economic growth in the long term. The government needs to work on the 2-R framework, i.e., Rigour and Relevance while training students: Rigour would address the hands-on training, imparting students with 21st century skills and a more correlated system between the industry and academia so that education is end to end. While relevance, would ensure that everything that our students are learning and the curriculum the academics is imposing is relevant. The manpower imparting the education is equipped with relevant tools, i.e., SMAC enabled technology and/or digitized learning platforms that can provide a holistic learning environment.
The industry would also need a Knowledge Attitude Skill Habits (KASH) to cash mapping, i.e., KASH of the younger generation need to be aligned to the jobs coming from the Make in India initiatives. For these job to be exciting, the ‘cash’ needs to be mapped to the employability assessment of the students thereby making it important to keep the ‘Make in India’ initiative aspiring for the younger job seekers.
Skill development
Initiatives that are targeted towards setting up of model career centers and activities aimed to increase job creation are needed. However, attracting foreign investment to address the lack of quality education infrastructure for everyone and also promoting online and virtual education for wide-spread coverage and removing service tax incidence on input services have not been addressed.
According to the United Nations Human Development Report, 2015 has ranked India on 130th position among 188 nations listed in the UN’s Human Development Index. Even among the BRICS countries, India trails behind Russia, Brazil, China and South Africa. To ensure we can leverage the massive demographics advantage we possess, we need to revisit the state of education, health and social welfare currently prevalent. There has also been talk of setting up 62 more Navodaya Vidyalaya and a digital literacy scheme for rural India. However, at present there are no clear indications as to how the thousands of government schools will be improved to provide quality school education for all. Massive online courses (MOOC) could easily address these concerns and are the need of the hour.