A recent RTI revealing the discrepancies in the placement scheme under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) has again pointed out at the futility of National flagship programmes despite huge promises made in the beginning. The scheme, which started amidst much fanfare with none other than Sachin Tendulkar being its brand ambassador has fallen short to deliver on its promise to generate employment among the youth. The RTI has revealed that NSDC, the nodal agency for funding and overlooking the skilling programmes, has been able to identify only 5% candidates who got placement after being trained under PMKVY. This incident leads to a debate that whether renaming an existing scheme could be justified if no lessons are learnt from the predecessor’s shortcomings.
Revelations under RTI
The NSDC has conceded that out of 17.07 lakh students who got trained under PMKVY, only 82,183 have got employment since the launch of the scheme on July 15, 2015. However, NSDC CEO Jayant Krishna states that the RTI gives an impertinent reflection of the scheme’s success and since many training partners have not shared their placement data, the outcome of the RTI was bound to be negative. He further says that only eight lakh students have received certificate so far and placement charts will grow as rest of the candidates receive their certificates.
However, Section 3.11 of PMKVY’s manual states that- ‘Training providers will be responsible for identifying mentors who support and guide trainees in the post training phase… This mentorship programme will also facilitate the tracking of trainees in the post training process.’ It can be surmised that NSDC’s disinclination in asking for placement data from its partners reflects its effort to hide the dismal placement record under its schemes.
No lessons learnt
The National Skill Development Mission was initiated in 2009 in an effort to reap India’s demographic dividend by training unskilled workers and unemployed youth. However, the CAG audit report examining the skill development programmes from 2008 to 2014 raised serious questions over the governing and accountability mechanisms of NSDC and NSDF (National Skill Development Fund). The report states that NSDC could not raise a single rupee from the private sector while a total Rs 2,811.98 crore were sanctioned by government between 2008 and 2014, though the private sector expected to contribute an equal amount. The report also says a systemic effort was made to subvert procedures to benefit a few. The audit selected a sample of 31 cases of projects and partners, out of which 18 did not achieve the set training targets. A sum of 633.45 crore was given by NSDC to 18 partners who received only 245.69 crore, about 38% of the sanctioned capital. IL&FS Trust Company limited, appointed (November 2014) to do micro prudential regulation of NSDC, was found to be having a conflict of interest. “It had an apparent conflict of interest, as it was part of a business group whose subsidiary company was sanctioned with funding of Rs 159 crore by NSDC in 2010-11 and disbursed Rs 89.97 crore upto March 2015. Further, the appointment process was also irregular with respective pre-qualification criteria and infirmities in the bid evaluation process”, the report said.
In August 2013, the UPA government had started STAR (Standard Training Assessment and Reward) scheme with a 1000 crore budget. However, no records of job placements and cases of corruption plagued this ambitious project and it was terminated in September 2014. According to the data received from NSDC website, it is noted that around 14 lakh candidates enrolled under STAR scheme and only 9 lakh students passed the certification process. NSDC received about 851.67 crore for funding the reward scheme, but only 8.3 lakh has been distributed among students as of July 2015. According to sources some private companies enrolled their employees under this scheme and took share in the reward money. Cases of repetition of same batch by training centres affiliated with corporate houses were also reported.
Union Minister of Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy had showed his discontentment towards the STAR scheme during the launch of PMKVY, stating “Why I was very upset is that not one job was reported to us by any of the Sector Skills Councils, whose primary mandate is to spot jobs in the market. People (trainers) were presenting the list (of people who have apparently been skilled) and taking the money without any monitoring.” However, the recent RTI showing fallacies in PMKVY indicates that no lessons have been learnt by the present government from its predecessors and it continues to repeat the same mistake. The linkage of Skill India with other flagship programmes such as Make in India and Digital India alleviates its importance because without a skilled workforce, these programmes will not be able to take the flight of success.
STAR India Scheme’s Fund Distribution (As of 03 July 2015)
|Reward Money Disbursed||833,144 (Rs. 851.67* Cr)|
* This money is NSDC processed and may take some time to reach the beneficiaries.
|NSDC: A report card|
|Year||Skilled/ Trained||Placed in jobs|
|2014-15 (till February)||20,67,859||4,51,845|
|Source: NSDC website|