Human Resource Development (HRD) encompasses the frameworks and opportunities crafted to nurture individual potential. Given India’s demographic diversity, with 65% of its population under 35 years of age, HRD is pivotal for the nation’s progress. Historically, however, certain aspects of HRD have not been prioritized, impacting India’s developmental trajectory.
Issues in HRD in India:
- Inadequate Educational Infrastructure: Many rural areas still lack proper schooling facilities. As per UNICEF, over 6 million children aged 6-13 years remain out of the formal education system in India.
- Skill Gap: A report by the National Skill Development Corporation estimated that by 2022, another 109 million or so skilled workers will be needed in 24 key sectors of the economy.
- Healthcare Concerns: According to the World Bank, nearly 44% of Indian children under the age of 5 are underweight due to malnutrition, affecting their learning and development potential.
- Limited Research and Innovation: India spends only around 0.7% of its GDP on research and development, which is much lower than countries like the USA, China, or South Korea.
- Gender Disparity: The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 ranked India 112th out of 153 countries in terms of gender parity in education, health, and economic opportunities.
Measures to Address the Inadequacy:
- Revamp Educational Curriculum: A shift towards a more global standard, focusing on skills, should be a priority. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a step in this direction.
- Skill Development Initiatives: With the ‘Skill India’ initiative aiming to train over 400 million people by 2022, there’s an emphasis on vocational training and industry collaboration.
- Strengthen Primary Healthcare: The ‘Ayushman Bharat’ program, which seeks to cover over 100 million vulnerable families, can help in building a healthy workforce.
- Promote Research and Development: The Atal Innovation Mission, which aims to foster a culture of innovation, can be a model to scale up across the nation.
- Gender-Inclusive Policies: ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ is an initiative to promote girl child education, but more such policies are needed at the grassroots level.
- Lifelong Learning: The SWAYAM portal, offering online courses from school to postgraduate levels, is a testament to the importance of continuous learning in the digital age.
- Technology Integration: The ‘Digital India’ campaign can play a pivotal role in democratizing access to quality educational resources.
- Public-Private Partnerships: The collaboration of institutions like IITs with industries has led to some of the best research outcomes in recent years.
- Counseling and Guidance: The government’s ‘Manodarpan’ initiative, which provides psychological support and counseling for students, teachers, and families, is a step in the right direction.
- Holistic Development: The Khelo India program, aiming to mainstream sports as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development, and national pride, is a notable initiative.
India’s future progress hinges significantly on its investment in human resources. By synergizing policy initiatives with ground realities and ensuring their effective implementation, India can leverage its demographic advantage and set the stage for sustained socio-economic growth.