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With the largest youth population in the world, India faces the difficult task of educating every citizen to become a productive member of society.


GS Paper 2: Social Sector & Social Services (health, education, human resources – issues in development, management);

Mains Questions:

  1. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable? 15 marks
  2. With the largest youth population in the world, India faces the difficult task of educating every citizen to become a productive member of society. Discuss

Dimensions of the Article

  • Status of skill development in India
  • Why skill development is needed in India
  • Issues related to skill development in India
  • The government initiatives related to skill development
  • Way forward

Status of skill development in India

India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 54% of the total population below 25 years of age. India’s workforce is the second largest in the world after China’s. While China’s demographic dividend is expected to start tapering off by 2015, India will continue to enjoy it till 2040. However, India’s formally skilled workforce is approximately 2% – which is dismally low compared to China (47%), Japan (80%) or South Korea (96%).To leverage our demographic dividend more substantially and meaningfully, the Government launched the “Skill India” campaign along with “Make in India”.

Key Findings of India Skills Report 2020

  • Employability of India’s youth has remained stagnant for the past three years, lingering at 46.21% of participants who are job-ready.
  • Female employability witnessed an upward trend at 47% while that of male workforce declined from 47.39% in 2019 to 46% this year. This reflects the opportunity for the industries to leverage female resource pool.
  • Top 5 skills that Employers emphasize on are domain knowledge, adaptability to the environment, learning agility and positive attitude and interpersonal skills.
  • Only 60% of students were aware of the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS).
  • About 50% of employers acknowledge the role of government initiated programmes in recruitments, of which almost 9 in 10 employers admit that candidates meet their requirements.
Dear PM Modi, India is Already Land of Self-Employed, and It Ain't Working  - Vivek Kaul's Diary

Why skill development is needed in India:

  • High unemployment rates: There is a direct link between India’s under skilled workforce and high unemployment rates.
  • Demographic dividend: India is expected to have the largest workforce in the world by 2025. To utilize this demographic dividend effectively, skill development must take primacy.
  • Moving towards innovation: As we aspire to become a knowledge-based economy, development of highly skilled human capital is the key to raise innovation quotient of the workforce.

Issues related to skill development in India

  • Poor accreditation process- The Quality Council of India (QCI) has often compromised with the quality of accreditation and affiliation process. For e.g.- It had not followed the prescribed National Council for Vocational Training norms with respect to building infrastructure, equipment, and faculty.
  • Multiplicity of norms, procedures, curricula, certification- Policies and initiatives related to skill development are spread across nearly 20 ministries and hence lacks coherency and holistic approach.
  • Reluctance of the industry in providing a wage differential for skilled workers, leading to low absorption of skilled manpower.
  • Poor Industry interface- For instance, there are too many sector skill councils (industry bodies mandated to ensure that skill development efforts are in accordance with the actual needs of the industry), each trying to maximise their business. Also, there is no of credible assessment board to uphold the accountability of these sector skill councils
  • Lack of integration with formal education and lack of focus on outcomes.

The government initiatives related to skill development

  • A Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was created under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in July, 2014 and was subsequently upgraded to full-fledged ministry in November 2014.The role of the Ministry involves coordinating and evolving skill development frameworks, mapping of existing skills and certification, industry-institute linkages among others.
  • Draft National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015: The objective of the Policy is to meet the challenge of skilling at scale with speed, standard (quality) and sustainability. It aims to provide an umbrella framework to all skilling activities being carried out within the country, to align them to common standards and link skilling with demand centres.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): This is a flagship outcome-based skill training scheme aimed at benefiting 24 lakh youth. A monetary reward is provided to trainees on assessment and certification. The steering Committee for PMKVY is responsible for providing directions for implementation.

Way Forward

The new National Education Policy (NEP) aims to provide vocational education to 50% of all learners by 2025. Schools are encouraged to provide students access to vocational education from Grade 6 onwards and to offer courses that are aligned to the local economies and can benefit local communities. This will be possible only if the existing skills development systems are leveraged effectively. Hence, for the vision of the NEP to be fulfilled, a robust coordination mechanism for inter-ministerial cooperation is necessary for bringing the skills development and vocational education systems together.

April 2024