Indian government on Thursday said it has approved the first integrated national policy for developing skills and promoting entrepreneurship at a large scale with speed and quality.
"The policy aims to align supply with demand, bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalise a quality assurance framework, leveraging technology and promoting apprenticeship to tackle the identified issues," Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
The government has also approved common norms for Skill Development Schemes being implemented by the Centre as well as an institutional framework for the National Skill Development Mission.
The National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy.
The vision of the policy is to create an ecosystem of empowerment by skilling on a large scale at speed with high standards and to promote a culture of innovation-based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all citizens.
The Policy has four thrust areas, an official statement said, adding that it addresses key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of integration with formal education, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure and trainers.
Further, it said the policy seeks to align supply and demand for skills by bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalising a quality assurance framework, leverage technology and promoting greater opportunities for apprenticeship training.
"Equity is also a focus of the Policy, which targets skilling opportunities for socially/geographically marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
"Skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for women are a specific focus of the Policy," it added.
In the entrepreneurship domain, the policy seeks to educate and equip potential entrepreneurs, both within and outside the formal education system.
It also seeks to connect entrepreneurs to mentors, incubators and credit markets, foster innovation and entrepreneurial culture, improve ease of doing business and promote a focus on social entrepreneurship.
Jaitely said that last week the Prime Minister launched programme on smart cities, on Wednesday on Digital India and the government has also similar plans for 'Skilling India'.
The Union Cabinet approved the institutional framework for the National Skill Development Mission in keeping with the commitment made in the Budget 2015-16.
The Mission will have a three-tiered, high powered decision making structure.
"At its apex, the Mission?s Governing Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, will provide overall guidance and policy direction. The Steering Committee, chaired by Minister in Charge of Skill Development, will review the Mission?s activities in line with the direction set by the Governing Council," the official statement said.
The Mission Directorate, with Secretary, Skill Development as Mission Director, will ensure implementation, coordination and convergence of skilling activities across Central Ministries/Departments and state governments. It will also run select sub-missions in high priority areas.
Further, the National Skill Development Agency, the National Skill Development Corporation and the Directorate of Training will function under the overall guidance of the Mission.
The statement said the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship provides a natural home for the Mission, organically linking all three decision making levels and facilitating linkages to all Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
Further, it said that currently over 70-odd Skill Development Programmes (SDPs) are being implemented by the government, each with its own norms for eligibility criteria, duration of training, cost of training, outcomes, monitoring and tracking mechanism.
"This multiplicity of norms and parameters has created a diffusive effect of SDPs, which need to be streamlined in order to achieve the final outcomes envisaged," it added.
It said the common norms seek to rationalise the whole spectrum of skill development processes and systems including inputs, outputs, funding/cost norms, third party certification and assessment, monitoring/tracking mechanisms, and empanelment of training providers.
"Common Norms define the activities constituting ?Skill Development? in the country, skill development courses and their alignment with the National Skills Qualification Framework, broad input standards for training programmes and the outcomes expected from these programmes," it said.
The outcomes of skill training programmes have been defined in terms of placement achieved in wage and self- employment, both for fresh trainees as well as existing workers who have undergone Recognition of Prior Learning.
Since the common norms are aimed at being outcome focused, the cost norms and fund flow mechanism for skill development programmes have also been linked to specific outcomes achieved.
The statement said the cost norms include support for components like mobilisation of candidates, trainers? training, placement expenses, post-placement tracking/ monitoring and infrastructure costs.
The proposal envisages the creation of a Common Norms Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to bring about uniformity and standardisation among the skill development schemes of the Central Government.
The Committee will also consist of eight other representatives from relevant Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments, National Skill Development Agency and National Skill Development Corporation, with a provision for inviting experts and other significant stakeholders who may be necessary in the decision making process.
It will be empowered to revise/amend the common norms, schedules of the notification, training costs and funding norms for skill development programmes.
"While the common norms would be applicable to the skill development schemes of the Government of India being implemented through various Ministries/Departments, the State Governments are also expected to align their skill development schemes with the common norms so as to bring in uniformity and standardisation," it added.