– By Dr. Rahul Kumar, PhD
With the entry of Modi government at the center in 2014, BJP leaders claim that ‘New India’ under the leadership of Modi has emerged. Through event management, the Modi government has been selling dreams to the poor Indian citizens. Statics reveal that the way this New India has been emerging, no doubt, is quite alarming.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi after taking the reign of the government in 2014 announced popular more than 26 schemes, which are suffocating due to a shortage of funds. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY- Skill India) is one of the scheme aims to provide quality training to the people to increase the working efficiency of probable and existing daily wage earners. To fulfill a target of skilling 500 million people in India by 2020, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship was constituted in 2014 under which National Skill Development Corporation was constituted and funds of Rs 995.10 crores were allocated by the central government for supporting the activities of the corporation. National Skill Development Agency was also established to coordinate the progress of Skill Development in 29 States & 7 Union Territories. Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) were incubated by the NSDC. In addition to all these central & state government paraphernalia, bilateral and multilateral agreements were signed between India & other countries to skill the ever-growing workforce of India.
Aajevika, a flagship initiative of Ministry of Rural Development (MORD), the Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGET) and many other implementing bodies such as Industrial Training Institutions (ITIs), Advance Training Institutions (ATIs), and Regional Vocational Training Institutions (RVTIs) are working with huge funds. National Skill Development Council (NSDC) signed MoU with Australian Council for Private Education & Training (ACPET), UK India Education & Research (UKREI). Despite huge set-up at the center and the state level & foreign collaborations to skill the workforce of India, statics reveal a dismal picture.
According to NCAER 2018 report, the roughly 70 million workers entering the workforce between 2018 & 2022 will need to be skilled for the 21st century if India is to keep pace with technological changes. As of today, Manpower Group indicate 56 percent talent shortages in India. According to Skill Development & Higher Education in India 2014 reported published by Yes Bank & ASSOCHAM, ‘employers are increasingly finding it difficult to find employable youths even though there are enough educated unemployed’. According to KPMG & FICCI 2014 report on ‘Skilling India, a look back at the progress, challenges and the way forward, ‘ the current skill development landscapes of the country has its inherent deficiencies due to the decline between the skills taught & industry requirement & lack of industry recognition to the skill training modules at the government recognized training institutes’
As everyone knows that science subjects are essential to learning technical tools. According to PWC & FICCI 2019 report, ‘India should focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to brave the onslaught of technology disruptions. STEM education at the school level will drive innovation and spur creativity, which will go a long way in building a strong foundation for the future workforce’. In addition to these subjects, English is an essential language since the majority of technical tools, apps, etc. are developed & innovated in the English language.
India despite having huge demographic dividend lags behind the developed nations in innovation & technical advancements. There is no shortage of funds to skill the workforce of India. The obstacles in the path of skilling India are created by the BJP leaders by themselves because of their unscientific thinking. Two examples will validate the allegations, one is when Dinanath Batra, RSS ideologue advocated, ‘Indianisation of country`s education system with Hindi as the sole medium of instructions. The other is Haryana BJP government stopped teaching science subjects in 300 government schools. Vidya Bharti chain of RSS across India having 14, 000 schools at the primary, middle, & secondary level offer ‘core curriculum’ in six disciplines: Yoga, Physical Education, music, Sanskrit, Sanskrit Gyan( Knowledge of culture). It is through this curriculum that the Hindutva viewpoint is primarily pursued. By such action, BJP leaders look highly regressive in thinking and attitude. The double –standard of the BJP and its leaders is disgusting in matters of skilling India. Some social scientists & social activists working in the field of education allege that the attention of the BJP and its leaders, Ministers is to block the technical advancement of the SCs/STs/OBCs children.
The IT sector of India is exceedingly remunerative. As per a survey of Linkedin in 2018, 80 percent of fast-growing job profiles in India are in the technical space. SCs/STs/OBCs students suffer doubly. The majority of the poor SCs/STs/OBCs students study in the government-funded schools, colleges, universities since their parents are terribly poor. The technical courses offered by the government as well private academic institutions are very expensive. The outdated training modules taught in the government institutions where the majority of the children from the disadvantaged sections of the society study find themselves unemployable in a highly competitive market. It is also found that computer skills that are imparted in government schools by the Modi government under Skill Development program teaches only the basic of a computer which does not match the requirement of the fast-changing IT sectors. Students from rich Brahmin & Bania communities are going abroad to have specific technical degrees. These community students get student Bank loan easily to support their highly technical foreign education because their parents can offer collateral security such as property, gold, etc. to available loan whereas SCs/STs/OBCs students hardly get Bank loan in the absence of collateral security. Data revealed by the World report shows that the Percentage of SCs/STs including females in 21 IITs, 19 IIMs & 06 AIIMs is highly lower than the upper caste students in India.
According to NASSCOM, 60 to 65 percent jobs in today`s industry are likely to alter in nature. Current jobs roles changing & new roles emerging. Artificial Intelligence(AI), Internet of Things(IOI), Big data, 3D Printing, Virtual realty & Robotics are some of the key new-age skills. SCs/STs/OBCs students in the villages of India hardly know about cutting edge technologies. Poverty and corruption are the two major reasons behind their backwardness in technical education. Poverty among SCs/STs/OBCs students is the main hurdle. 2019 report released by the United Nations development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) `s global multidimensional poverty index (MPI), India has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world (50% tribals, 33 % Dalits, and 33% Muslims).Another study conducted in 2018 by Paris School of Economics concluded that SCs/STs/OBCs students are falling further. The report further found that nearly a third of Dalits make less than $2 a day & many do not have access to education.
Skill Development program is further suffering from corruption under the ravening & marauding Brahmin & Bania machinery. Corrupt partner agencies owners in connivance with touts have further blocked the technical advancement of SCs/STs/OBCs children. A recent exposure by India Today TV case in point, ‘some of the documents & testimonies of Textiles Ministry’s Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) records. According to this exposure, Chandra was trained in sewing at the Sonipat-based Modern Education Society and was issued certificate number 17210867803 on September 23, 2017. He testified that “I never underwent any sewing or embroidery training. I did attend a masonry workshop for seven days, but had never been to the Banda training center. I don’t know tailoring’. Modi government did not take stringent actions against the corrupt officials & touts because the majority of the partner agencies are owned & run by the RSS/BJP leaders.
Non-profit private organizations in India are pillaging the government funds earmarked for the welfare of the SCs/STs/OBCs. Rich & well-connected people have opened up shops in India in the name of upliftment of children belonging to the marginalized groups. The reality is that the owners of such shops have no attention to ameliorating the worsening situation of SCs/STs/OBCs children. A retired communication officer from a Delhi based NGO working in the field of education sector, on the condition of anonymity, told the author that the purpose of the majority of big non-government private organizations in India run by the Brahmins & Bania is two-fold. One is to pillage government funds & plunder international donors; the other is to channelize black money & evade taxes.
Brain-drain is a big challenge for India. In the past few years, highly skilled people from Indian reputed academic institutions such as IITs. IIMs, IBSs are found migrating to the developed nations. Silicon Valley is jam-packed with highly skilled Indians. Start-up Indian companies such as MindTickle, Freshworks, Cloud Cherry, Uniphore, Zinier have shifted their offices to the Silicon Valley. World Bank report illustrates that India has been losing a significant number of its trained manpower to the developed countries. Let us find out who is moving abroad for the sake of huge salary and world-class infrastructure after gaining degrees from government-funded prestigious institutions. It has been observed that the Brahmin and Bania skilled community people are going abroad. From this, we can easily understand that those who cry nationalism, nationalism from the rooftop are nothing but pseudo –nationalists.
Unskilled labor in India has no attraction for Indian companies. The big companies prefer to hire skilled labor from China & other countries. During Modi`s rule in the state of Gujarat, Choudhary states that ‘Reliance industries, a major Indian business conglomerate, reportedly brought in 4,000 Chinese construction workers for the construction of India`s largest oil refinery at Jamnagar District in the state of Gujarat’( The Economic Times, 5 November). ‘Elephant has two sets of teeth, one to show off and others to chew with’, the phrase seems apt in Modi`s case.
According to the estimate of Planning Commission of India, around 80 percent of the individuals who enter the workforce do not have the opportunity for training. In the absence of professional training, Indian companies hire professional manpower from the developed nations to complete their projects in India. In-house training invites huge costs in terms of fiancé & time. Big companies in India always hire trained personnels` so as not to invest money & time on their training. KPMG & FIICI 2014 report reveals that ‘only 16 percent of Indian manufacturing employers provide in-service training compared with 90 percent in China’. KPMG further reveals that more than 70 percent domestic workers across India earn less than INR 2,000 per month.
The population of India has exponentially increased from 125 million to 130 million in five years. The quantum of unskilled people particularly from socially& economically backward sections of the society is accumulating fast. The current situation is alarming. The majority of college graduates & post – graduates are unemployable. New India under Modi has already missed the bus. Skilling & up-skilling of Indian workforce remains a distant dream. Past records of the Modi government show that there is no political will to upgrade the infrastructure of the government vocational educational institutions to cater to the needs of technological advancements. Some social scientists assert that Modi and RSS could not stop reservation in government services, it is, therefore, Modi & RSS have devised a new strategy through digitalization to remove caste-based reservation.
In case, the current situation prevails, the coming generations of graduates and postgraduates will remain unskilled for 100 years more to come. India is going to face countless social & economic problems with the accumulation of the unskilled workforce. India will remain a dependent country forever in the area of technological advancements & new innovations on the developed nations. There is an urgent need to work on two important issues concerning the nation (1) to stop Brain drain (2) to teach smart technologies to the people from the marginal sections of the society & upgrade technical skills among them.
Dr. Rahul Kumar holds a PhD in sociology from the Department of Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. India. He is an independent researcher and senior media columnist. His research & writing interest extend to macro social & political & international affairs. He is working currently with the “The Asian Independent UK” newspaper as a Bureau Chief. His book on “Elderly Punjabis in Indian Diaspora” traces trajectories of Elderly Punjabi migration to U.K. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of Global Research Forum for Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) New Delhi. India. The views expressed by the author in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the paper.