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'National Skill Development Agency working on skill-oriented training for jobs'

The Times of India, Pune, 25 September 2013 - Chairman of National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) S Ramadorai has said that the agency is working on easing the Apprenticeship Act, which is seen to be a major impediment for the manufacturing companies in offering job related training to the youth.

"The change may take a few months, but suggestions given by the industry, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the NSDA team are being incorporated and implemented," he said while speaking on 'Skilling the nation: Time to act' at an event to mark the second foundation day of the Pune International Centre (PIC), a forum of prominent thinkers, at the Symbiosis Vishwabhavan auditorium.

The NSDA is mandated to work towards coordination and harmonization of skill development efforts of the central and state governments as well as the public and private-sector industries. While the NSDA is into policy changes, scheme reviews, new scheme strategies and engagement with PSUs and NGOs, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), also headed by Ramadorai, is focusing on creating for-profit vocational institutions in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Ramadorai, who is also the vice-chairman of Indian infotech major Tata Consultancy Services, said most of European countries believe in on-the-job training and offer internships and apprenticeships on a large basis to students. This practice can also be brought in by many companies in cities like Pune, which is not only a hub of educational institutes but also of small-scale industries, he said.

He called for an all out effort towards skilling people for making India a global workforce to reckon with. "We need a citizens' movement along with the government agencies to make this happen," he said. "In the current scenario only 7 per cent of India's working population is organized, only 2.4 lakh apprentices find their way into industry and 25 per cent of engineers are employable. The big corporate or companies often complain about the lack of skill set amongst the youth looking for employment. This scenario has to change."

Ramadorai said the government bodies and agencies such as the NSDA have a limited team. "People including those from the private sector industry, education institutes, NGOs, MPs and MLAs ought to come together and start the vocational training institutes or centres at the local level."

"Focussing on skilling our people will create several industries and professions where India will become the global talent pool. Our nurses, teachers, healthcare workers for elderly, construction workers, chefs, hospitality experts have great potential global opportunities if we skill people with quality standards and in sufficient numbers," he said.

Ramadorai said: "The NSDA is leveraging technology in all aspects of skilling, skill registry, labour management information system and digital market place. It is also exploring how the rural broadband that connects 2,50,000 panchayats across the country can be leveraged for skilling people in the remotest of places."

He emphasized on the need for bringing some management thinking and innovation on how to scale up the skill development effort by using collaborations and creating a network of networks and bringing in and applying international experience.

Noted scientist and PIC president R A Mashelkar, senior journalist and chairman of PIC programme committee Dileep Padgaonkar and founder head of Symbiosis group of institutions S B Mujumdar were present on the dais while PIC director Prashant Girbane anchored the proceedings.

Students from Symbiosis, Indira and Balaji groups of institutes, Modern college, College Of Engineering Pune, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, IITM, SP College and the dignitaries from MCCIA and CII attended the event.


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