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‘Skills Have To Be Made Aspirational Here’

Jayant Krishna, executive director & chief operating officer, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), was recently at the BW Businessworld office as part of the Knowledge Pot series, sharing his vision with BW staffers on skilling India

Photo Credit : Tarun Gupta

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Jayant Krishna, executive director & chief operating officer, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), was recently at the BW Businessworld office as part of the Knowledge Pot series, sharing his vision with BW staffers on skilling India.

I Fundamentally believe that skilling India is one idea, whose time has come. Now, it’s virtually unstoppable.

The entire movement started with the great C. K. Prahalad, when he worked on an initiative called “India at 75”. He tried to look at how India would be like after 75 years of Independence i.e, by 2022. Amongst other things, he once said, “We need 500 million skilled Indians by 2022”. He asked me to do a huge data-driven exercise at a micro level. These 500 million skilled people would also mean upscaling talent for the country.

I fundamentally got involved into this because of Prahalad. About one year back, I formally joined NSDC. The sheer size of the scheme that we have means that India’s is the largest human skilling exercise in the history of mankind. Our focus is not on doctors, engineers, but on people from the bottom of pyramid.

The people, who are college dropouts, and even if they are not dropouts, we know the quality of education they get. There are gaps and we have to address those gaps in a short span.

It’s a huge challenge for us. In the 90’s, when the country took lot of mainstream economic reforms, somehow reforms in skill development were not taken seriously. Seriousness started in 2007-08, when the NSDC policy came in and the council was then chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The programme got a real impetus when the Narendra Modi government came into power. Roadblocks are everywhere — even in corporate sector in companies like the Tata Group (where earlier I was employed).

It’s not that we are not facing challenges. We have to ensure that skills have to become aspirational. We get students from the bottom of the pyramid. We have to ensure that besides domain skills they are equipped with soft skills. Mobilising students is another challenge altogether.

But the movement is also seeing results. We are already talking about an ecosystem of 7,000 centres and 250 training partners. We are now tracking placements provided to the students. We hope that the country understands that a Skilled India is the key to a developed India.


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