Skill Building as a means of Economic Development of Minorities
in India - A 3 Pronged Strategy


Ambarish Datta
BSE Institute

The Current Situation

Education and Skill building is the single most important instrument for social and economic transformation. A well-educated and skilled population adequately equipped with knowledge and skill is not only essential to support economic growth, but is also a precondition for growth to be inclusive. 

According to the 'Sachar Committee Report' "one-fourth of Muslim children in the age group of 6-14 years has either never attended school or is drop-outs. For children above the age of 17 years, the educational attainment of Muslims at matriculation is 17%, as against national average at 26%. Only 50% of Muslims who complete middle school are likely to complete secondary education, compared to 62% at national level". The Report has also drawn attention to the low levels of educational attainment among Muslim women, Muslims in rural areas as well as in technical and higher education. 

Disparity in Employment

Minorities continue to experience higher unemployment rates, greater concentrations in routine and semi-routine work and lower earnings than do members of the other communities. Minorities are over-represented in occupations with relatively low-skill requirements and under-represented in higher skill occupations, especially managerial. Occupational differences translate into earnings inequality. This is also proving to be a major barrier to entry into sustainable employment.

About 12.8 million persons enter the labor market every year and India has large young population but only 10% of the Indian labor forces 8% informally and 2% formally have acquired vocational skills. About 63% of the school students drop out at different stages reaching Class-X. In case of minorities, particularly Muslims the dropout rate is very alarming as it reaches to about 93%. Only about 3.1 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas, even out of these training places, very few are available for early school dropouts. This signifies that a large number of school drop outs do not have access to skill development for improving their employability on one side and availability of 12.8 million jobs on the other. As per estimates of 2011, in India there is a skill gap of about 244 million across 21 key sectors.

The Prime Minister's Skill Building Initiative

In last year's Independence Day speech our Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi had said "Today, the world needs a skilled workforce. Today, India also needs a skilled workforce. .... If we have to promote the development of our country then our mission has to be 'skill development' and 'skilled India'."

Based on his vision the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, a unique initiative that aims to offer 24 lakh Indian youth meaningful, industry relevant, skill based training, has been launched. Under this scheme, the trainees will be offered a financial reward and a government certification on successful completion of training and assessment, which will help them in securing a job for a better future.

The Suggested Approach

To address this issue and remedy the current situation, a three pronged strategy is required:

- Providing job aligned skill training
- Enabling digital literacy
- Enabling Financial literacy 

Job Skills

To address the skill training we must provide,

- Placement linked skills training program for modern trades. Each participant should undergo a training based on his/her aptitude and capability to be selected from the options of Sector specific Vocational Skills Program available under these programs. These training programs should include soft skills training, basic IT training and basic English training. 

- Skill Training Program for traditional trades. The focus of this program should be that the activities should result in creation of an SHG of skilled youth with access to funds for establishment and operation thereby ensuring income enhancement for the youth.

Ambarish Datta
BSE Institute

Source: E-mail August 26, 2015



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