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The vocational skill training space has been lacking a stable structure. In order to boost this training space, the government has recently launched the ‘Skill acquisition and knowledge awareness for livelihood promotion’ (SANKALP). A subdivision of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM), it aims at improving the skill development efforts in India.

The primary objective of the project is to establish an all-encompassing skilling system covering both at the Centre and States. It also plans to set up a proper checking and assessment framework and give skill training opportunities to the underprivileged.

What is Sankalp?

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a World Bank supported scheme called Skill acquisition and knowledge awareness for livelihood promotion (SANKALP). The total cost of the project is Rs. 4,455 crore, and it includes an Rs. 3,300 crore loan from the World Bank.

This scheme aims at:

  • Strengthening institutions at the State and National levels
  • Monitoring of market relevant training;
  • Improving the quality and relevance of skill developed programs;
  • Making skills training accessible to female trainees and other underprivileged groups;
  • Expanding the scheme’s reach through private-public partnerships (PPPs).  

The scheme seeks to revamp India’s skill ecosystem and has different goals set at both state and national level. Let’s take a look at some of them:

National Components

The key components of this scheme at the national level are:

Institutional development & Strengthening:

The vocational and skill training industry needs a strong structure to make the required impact. Therefore, a scheme like SANKALP will prove to be a significant game changer in this industry. To ensure institutional development, the government has taken the following steps:

National Skill Certification Body –  An independent body for regulating skill assessment will be set up. It will enable assessment of credible skills by setting standards for examination, assessments and certifications for all training courses. Additionally, it is responsible for handing out skill certificates.

Unified National Accreditation board – A standard registration and accreditation criteria will be set up for trainers & training centres. Moreover, quality will be maintained through grading and progression pathways for institutes and training centres.  

National Skill Research Division – This will serve as an independent think tank. Its primary objective will be to analyse labour markets to help make policies that suit the current trends. It will evaluate the impact these skill development programs will have and provide inputs to the Ministry of Skill Development And Entrepreneurship (MSDE), National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), and other associated bodies in skill development.

Development of Labour Market Information System (LMIS) – The current LMIS serves a data storehouse for four central ministries on skill development. LMIS Phase II under SANKALP will have an integrated platform with skill development data for over twenty ministries and also from all the states. It will function as a service platform offering a variety of services to the job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers.

Skill Development Management System (SDMS) –  Its primary objective will be managing the ecosystem of Skill India with regard to the schemes launched. This system will be targeted at every sector for every scheme, candidate lifecycle and scheme related disbursements. Also, it will help manage, targets for the schemes, training types such as Short-term training, RPL, Special projects, Creation and Management of Projects, Sector skill council (SSC) data effortlessly for all short-term skill development activities in the country.

Kaushal Mart – This is a consolidated Skilling Resource Marketplace which offers a credible platform for an exchange of skilling resources. These include Participant Handbooks, Facilitator Guides, Presentations, Videos, amongst others. In other words, it will ensure that reference material is readily available to learners through verified content providers.

Takshila: National Portal for trainers – This platform will function as the central archive of information regarding the skill development of Trainers and Assessors in the country. It will manage the database and life-cycle of trainers and assessors. This portal will provide the required information about training programs planned for trainers and assessors.

Strengthening Entrepreneurship:

Small enterprises generate a significant portion of the current employment. Despite the efforts of various ministries to boost this section of the economy, the rural and impoverished urban regions need more of a push. This can be attributed to the weak access to these programs. SANKALP seeks to overcome these hurdles through skill development and developing a mentoring support structure. It is an effort to empower them to move towards the formal sector and contribute positively towards India’s economy.

State Components

The programme seeks to support and encourage Indian states to increase their capacity for skill development. The government hopes to achieve this by incentivising innovations to provide access to socially backward groups. The overall idea is to move towards demand-led skill development.

The States will be allowed grants for reform and capacity building agenda based on the annual performance. However, the utilisation of these grants will be as per the priorities of the States, which will be set under the State skill plan and submitted to the Project Steering Committee for approval.

Institutional and Implementation Arrangements:

This national scheme SANKALP has a multi-level implementation structure. While the overall responsibility rests with the MSDE, a nodal agency for supporting operations, the program implementation will be supported by NSDA, NSDC, SSDMs, other PIAs and a PMU.

At the state level, the primary responsibility for program delivery lies with the state governments. A part of the nodal department, the SSDMs implements the program at the state level. The implementation of the Program is then supervised by the state mission at the district level, with the help of other departments.  

Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs):

This is designed to use the Program for Results Programme (P for R)  which is an instrument of the World Bank. The allocation of the funds will be based on the results produced by the states. Each state will go through a strenuous performance analysis before the allocation of any grant. The performance analysis will be with respect to the objectives of the schemes.

Conclusion

The SANKALP scheme seeks to resolve the infrastructural hurdles by providing a proper framework for those trying to acquire skill and knowledge for livelihood. The idea is to bring about a qualitative change, by raising the quality of and access to vocational education. These national bodies will now regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short-term Vocational Education and Training (VET).

A paradigm change in the field vocational education is not only refreshing but probably a massive step towards empowering the urban and rural masses. Access to a free flow of quality content and trainers is sure to broaden the horizons of many. This scheme seeks to bring about uniformity and quality to the vocational education and the impact of this is sure to be tremendous.

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