NSDC was set up as a Public Private Partnership (PPP)
The National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India, which aims to promote skill development by catalysing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. It provides funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) was formed to achieve the target of skilling / upskilling 150 million people by 2022 by fostering private sector initiatives in the skill development space. An objective of skilling 150 million by 2022 Indian means 45000 trainees being certified and graduated every day for the next 10 years. In an exclusive interview with NSDC’s MD & CEO, Mr. DILIP CHENNOY by our EXECUTIVE EDITOR, SUHANI NAGPAL, we get to know all about this prime Skills Development organization NSDC. Here are the excerpts:
Q: Though we all know about the broad role of NSDC, can you briefly talk about its Key Focus Areas?
A: NSDC was set up as public private partnership to catalyse the involvement of private sector in skill development. Basically we have three sectors: create a vision of skill development, find entity that would set up scalable skill development initiatives and create a frame work and eco system that promotes skill development initiatives in the country. So we are focusing on 20 high growth sectors in Indian economy and also a large employment in those sectors, so in the case of funding we have actually approved the 159 proposals of those, and some proposals are still to be approved. We are also in the enabling frame work that we are supposed to create 31 sector skill councils. We have also conducted skill gap studies in various sectors around the country. The idea was to give the targets of training people in last two years. In last two years, we had the target of 10,00,000 which we have exceeded and this year we have set up a target of 33,00,000.
Q: Since you have completed 5 years, are you satisfied with the growth in last five years and how you are looking forward for this year?
A: If you look at the growth factor, today, we are very much there where we wanted to be. We were hoping that economy would have grown faster so we could also go faster because we have projected growth of 8-9 % and achieved only 4-5 % in the last few years so that is negatively impacted. The more and more emphasis on skill development and programmes launched by the government increases the challenge on private sector from the point of view of providing employment opportunities.
And the system of sector skill council that has been mandated implies that NSDC should find greater acceptance amongst the various stakeholders going forward. I am happy that we have met the exceeded targets in last 4 years. NSDC as a brand and as an organisation has done well and industry partnerships have been good. It could have been better but industry itself is facing various challenges although great support has been shown by the Government and private sectors on board. So, overall I would say, it is a very positive outlook.
Q: Do you think present government will be more beneficial for Skills Development as compared to the earlier one?
A: It is very early to say anything on this but the emphasis on skill development by this Government is looking positive and very evident as our Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Narender Modi, addressed this issue on Independence Day and even in his speech in Madison Square in US. They have also set up a separate Department in Ministry for skill development which is a new milestone. I think with the NSDC going and working under the Department of Skills, it’s time for new innings for us and we have to see going
forward with the role allocated to NSDC and how we can fulfil the same.
“Basically we have three sectors: create a vision of skill development, find entity that would set up scalable skill development initiatives and create a frame work and eco system that promotes skill development initiatives in the country”.
Q: What are the challenges you face in implementing Skills Development Programmes in the remote rural areas?
A: We have witnessed four challenges that are there in the whole eco system. Out of those the first is that we need to create a capacity for skill development in the backward areas as the current capacity in the country right now is around approximately 1 crore but if we have to train 50 crores people in 10 years and then we have to actually take this number to 8 to 10 crores increasing every year.
Second is across the whole chain we have to introduce the system of quality in recognition of skills and employers have to learn more to pay more for skills and it can only happen if the employers get a role to play in certification and the assessment setting of the curriculum.
Third is that we need to create a funding system for the whole skills development space and the question is who pays. The government programmes can be accessed by students but there are many others who are not eligible for these programmes.
Fourth and the most important, nowadays the mindset of the parents of the children is to get the degrees at any cost and they do not see the skills development as an aspiration prospect and our prime and foremost goal is to promote this as an aspiration prospect and not just for the sake of being qualified.
Q: Providing job opportunities and continued retention in the jobs is the main aim of Skills Development as per the govt mandate. How is this being ensured in the various schemes?
A: If you look at the various schemes of government, most of them mandate that if you achieve your training targets then you have to provide placement to a particular percentage, say 60% or 70% and only then the Training Provider will get the balance payment. It is like an outcome based metrix but if you look at the actual graph we will see that not everybody’s skill can get the job, which is primarily because of the grant which has been given. We have to move out of this as we do not create institutes where
people get trained for the job. We have to get rid of this gaming system only then will all of these problems get addressed. However, entrepreneurship, self employment and increasing productivity are the matrices which need to be focussed upon.
Q: How do you tackle the tough job of being sandwiched between being the implementer of government policies on one hand and the requirements of the Skilling Partners on the other?
A: Some of the programmes that we are running like UDAAN, the government have certain expectations and the training providers are striving to meet those expectation. In UDAAN programme, if a person gets strained and refuses joining the job or leaves his job in midway, then it is the challenge to understand the need of an individual, the training provider and the whole scheme. Similarly in the STAR SCHEME programme, we ensure students gets the reward they expect to get and yet they know what is to be paid and how the training provider achieves this. This is a constant kind of procedure as we have to review everyday and the best part is, being transparent by putting everything on the internet and letting everybody know what is happening, which I feel is a good way of approach to do it. We believe that executing NSDC numbers is one thing but in terms of dealing with the different government bodies in getting recognition of sector skill council, is a challenge but again here industry has to play a role. The employers who are members of sector skill councillors articulate their thought process bigger than our role and our role is to get all the players in eco system to articulate their role to actually perform roles assigned to them and ensure they deliver as per their promises.
“I think NSDC has been supporting innovation across the value chain so first we got to use innovation in mobilization, innovation in training, innovation in assessment and new methods of connecting aspirants in the marketplace”.
Q: Does your duty remain till the job is provided or even after that?
A: Our role is to actually monitor the training providers and to see that they achieve their objectives and targets they have committed to us and to ensure the funding they asked for is given to them on the basis of their milestones, to have an independent third party and monitoring or assessment kind of system.
Q: Do you really feel that all the Sector Councils are performing their duties as per the charter and what additional measures can be instituted to make them more effective?
A: It is very fascinating because this is like saying that do you expect the one month old baby to walk or the three month old to run. So, in the same way, the different sector skill councils have been funded at different times. Some are two or some are three years old and some which have just been formed. Now, there are two ways to evaluate them, first, are the sector skill councils
which have been formed at the same time performing equally well within a range? And by the way, Yes they are! Are some better than the others? Yes they are! So we are trying to facilitate this going forward.
Q: Is there any particular sector where you want to focus on because in a way you personally feel that this sector can grow?
A: There are certain sectors in which we have not been able to get the sector councils going right now so we are obviously focusing on those areas. Also there is a huge requirement in sectors like telecom, IT, retail so we are supporting them to grow and we are also focusing on the programmes where we are trying to tie up with the government programmes like “SWATCH BHARAT”
from which these sectors can grow faster.
Q: There is still a huge gap between the desired numbers to be skilled in the country vis-a-vis vis we have achieved and what out of the box ideas we can have dramatic change in skills scenario?
A: I think NSDC has been supporting innovation across the value chain so first we got to use innovation in mobilization, innovation in training, innovation in assessment and new methods of connecting aspirants in the marketplace. Then to see how we can actually look at a different set of innovations post placement and funding in innovation in order to achieve innovation across the value chain. It is about the funding scholarships to the young people. How do you use technology like micro spin to create spinning opportunity in jobs at the rock bottom level? How do you do IT based assessment to aspiring minds? How do you use information technology to do adaptive learning? How do you use English language requirements for specific job roles because a plumber needs English. That may be a tourism person doesn’t need to know another person so the words differ. Most importantly how do you use technology in skill training in remote locations. The fundamental difference is that we are moving away from classrooms hours to outcomes and performance.
Q: Assesments and certifications are essentials aspect of any training. How has this issue been addressed in the environment?
A: In skilling environment we have different approaches, the ministry of labour has the NCVT and a lot of ministries are saying you can either choose NCVT or sector skill council’s assessment. I think both these are required as a synergizing effort to move
forward. The whole effort should be to ensure that the employers engage with the sector skill councils and the standards of assessment do reflect their need. Initially we are going to see failures but it is a challenge for us to make this happen at any cost.
I don’t feel that we want to continue with the way it has been, infact we have to scale much more in order to rapidly move forward and we have got to see the new programmes should fit in the framework.
Q: There are still a large number of people who don’t know about your important role in the society. How do you intend to build NSDC as a brand not only to create awareness but also to be reckoned as a strong and acompetent organisation?
A: The knowledge about NSDC across the country is one thing that we are trying to do through engaging stakeholders, board members, through CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM etc. We hope to reach out to their members. We also have been advertising in the media and done the campaign ‘Hunar hai to Quadar Hai’ which is a huge success as we are getting a lot of calls from all over the country. The second is we are looking at the process of getting partnerships for e.g., we have 87 new partners this year whereas four years ago we only had 20.