Budget 2023: Digital ecosystem for skill development gets impetus
The finance minister announced that 30 Skill India International centres will be set up across different states to train youth for international opportunities
To expand the digital ecosystem for skilling in the country, Union finance minister Niramala Sitharaman announced the launch of a unified “Skill India Digital platform” in Budget 2023-24, which also proposes to train hundreds of thousands of youth in the next three years.
The ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship has been allocated ₹3,418.07 crore this year, 20% higher than what it was allocated in 2022-23. Youth empowerment through skilling is one of the priority areas in this year’s Budget.
The finance minister announced that the digital ecosystem for skilling will be expanded with the launch of a unified Skill India Digital platform. Elaborating on the platform, she said “It would enable demand-based formal skilling, link with employers, including MSMEs, and facilitate access to entrepreneurship schemes.”
The minister said that to help youth and the “Amrit Peedhi” (new generation) realise their dreams, the government is focused on “skilling, adopting economic policies that facilitate job creation at scale, and supporting business opportunities”.
Announcing the launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 4.0, Sitharaman said that “lakhs of youth” will be skilled under the scheme within the next three years. “On-job training, industry partnership, and alignment of courses with needs of industry will be emphasised. The scheme will also cover new age courses for industry like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills,” she said.
Under the PMKVY scheme, the ministry promotes skill development in the country by providing free short duration skill training and incentivising this by providing monetary rewards to youth for skill certification. The scheme was launched in 2015.
The finance minister further announced that 30 Skill India International centres will be set up across different states to train youth for international opportunities. “To empower our youth and help the Amrit Peedhi realise their dreams, we have formulated the National Education Policy, focused on skilling, adopted economic policies that facilitate job creation at scale, and have supported business opportunities,” she said.
Sitharaman also announced the launch of a new National Apprenticeship Scheme (NAS) under which 4.7 million youths will be provided stipend support via direct benefit transfers (DBT).
According to the ministry, the new apprenticeship scheme will promote apprenticeship training in the country by providing partial stipend support to the apprentices, undertaking capacity building of the apprenticeship ecosystem, and providing advocacy assistance.
“One of the major changes proposed in the new scheme as compared to the earlier version is the introduction of DBT. The earlier scheme was not supported by the feature of DBT, which is transparent and will be completed online,” said a senior ministry official, who wished not to be named.
Experts welcomed the government’s focus on skilling the youth. Arvind Bali, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council, a not-for-profit organisation working on skilling the workforce for the telecom industry, said this will help in bridging the demand and supply gap in India.
“The annual demand in telecommunications and 5G have increased by 33.7% in September 2022. There was a demand for 1.3 million workers in FY22-23 which is growing each year and. New use-cases, including cloud computing, robots, and the Internet of Things are also seeing a sharp rise in hiring. We believe the initiatives will be beneficial to close the country’s growing demand supply gap of technical talent workforce,” he said.
Gaurav Bhatia, CEO of RISE, an innovative tech-first industry-driven ed-tech platform, said, “The government’s focus on skill-based education with programmes like the PMVKY 4.0, the launch of a unified Skill India digital platform for upskilling, entrepreneurship, new age topics like AI, 5G, and industry-academia collaborations will only benefit the youth of the nation and were long due.”