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Towards A More Skilled Workforce

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The President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Hari S. Bhartia has urged industries to participate actively in the skill development movement taking place across the country at an event held to mark the signing of an MoU between CII and PanIIT Alumni Reach for India (PARFI). He said that "it is critical for industries to take their businesses beyond the corridors of their corporate offices and look at business for livelihoods".

Skill development, especially among the rural school-dropped out youth, is the single most contributor that will ensure that the Indian demographic dividend is actually reaped.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII explained how, in order to achieve this ambitious goal, "CII and PARFI, the Nation Building arm of PanIIT Alumni have forged a unique partnership to set-up a national chain of rural, residential training centres called PARFI Skill Gurukuls for under?privileged youth with an annual training capacity of 10,000 candidates per annum. PanIIT Alumni association (PIAI) is a not-for-profit registered society of IIT alumni across campuses, with a charter for nation building."

India today faces a unique 'dilemma', as 40 per cent of world's population under 25 years of age is living in India and yet only 5per cent of the total Indian industrial workforce is skilled (compared to 85 per cent of the 450 million (approx) global workforce). Only 9 per cent of the Indian workforce is engaged in the organised sector and only 5 per cent has marketable skills.

"To reap India's demographic dividend, we need to invest in skill sets to empower youth along with on-the-ground implementation just like the government has done through IITs," says Hari Padmanabhan, Founding Patron, PARFI. Padmanabhan states that while on one side, there is huge unemployment/under-employment in India, on the other side many companies suffer human capital shortage. The root cause for this issue, he believes, is the lack of investment in skill. "Hence, we have chosen to 'give back' the same through vocational education in a self-sustainable manner for the underprivileged youth in this country and co-invest along with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD),CII to set-up 30 skill gurukuls with a training capacity of 10,000 across the country, out of which 7 gurukuls with capacity of 3500 are already set-up," he says. With support from CII, PAFRI have kept up the 100 per cent post-training employment rate so far and intend to institionalise this partnership to continue this outcome guarantee and at the same time, provide valuable human capital to CII industry members.

At present, in India nearly 63 per cent children drop out from school at different stages and by the end of 2012, there is expected to be a surplus of 13 lakh unskilled and unqualified school dropouts and illiterates. In relation to this, various studies state that by 2020, there will be a global shortage of 56.5 million skilled workers. On the contrary, India will have a surplus of 42 million people of working age.

 Salient Features Of CII-PanIIT Skill Gurukuls

  • Vocational finishing schools, targeting school drop outs below grade X and from Below Poverty Line(BPL) households

  • Fulltime, residential training of 30-45 days in trades such as welding, construction, catering, driving with a practical orientation

  • One-of-its-kind self-sustainable model with zero-subsidy for blue collar trades by giving 100 per cent micro finance assistance funded by NABARD

  • 100 per cent placement assurance due to upfront tie up with CII members

  • Recovery of training loan through wage?deductions based on assured placement

  • Thus, uneducated, unemployed rural BPL youth get 100 per cent loan, skill training, government recognised MES certification, financial inclusion through SBI account to which wages are deposited and assured employment

Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh has set a mandate to have a skilled workforce of 500 million by the year 2022 and thus leverage the advantage of our young population to thereby become the largest pool of technically trained manpower in the world.
Bhartia, who is also the Co-Chairman & MD of Jubilant Organosys, recounted that "CII had committed to opening 10 skill development centres and we have already initiated 11 skill development centres. We have moved the skill development agenda with the theme of business for livelihood. While the government is investing in skill development, private sector involvement is critical and businesses in India accept responsibility and have participated in skill building." He goes on to establish that CII believes it is imperative to capacitate people by making them self-reliant and  independent of external support. This can be achieved through a futuristic approach which aims towards providing sustainable livelihood. This partnership between CII and PanIIT Alumni Reach For India(PARFI) is one such initiative.

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