Data Focus

Covid-19 puts a spanner in Centre’s skill development works

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on August 04, 2021

Number of placements under the flagship PMKVY scheme plunged during 2020-21


There’s a drastic decline in the number of unemployed youth getting placements under the short-term training programme of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Launched in 2015, the PMKVY is among the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship that aim to mobilise and train youth according to the needs of industries. After a re-launched PMKVY 2.0 (2016-20), the PMKVY 3.0 envisaged training eight lakh candidates during 2020 and 2021 at an outlay of ₹948.90 crore.

India’s jobs and skills conundrum

Covid-19 impact

The data presented by the ministry to the Lok Sabha this week show that under PMKVY 2.0 there were about 7,04,220 placements in 2018-19 and 6,08,389 placements in 2019-20. This number nosedived to 2,16,059 in 2020-21 and 87,621 in 2021-22. It plunged even further under PMKVY 3.0, with only 43 candidates employed in 2020-21 and 4,104 in 2021-22.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the top five states leading in the number of reported Covid-19 cases (as of August 3, 2021). Under PMKVY 2.0, these states are missing among those leading in placements, and it is Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar who are the top five.

Skilling ecosystem

Based on the PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0 experiences, the ministry has improved the newer version of the scheme to match the current policy doctrine and energise the skilling ecosystem, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry told the Lok Sabha this week that, as per the 2015 National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, India targets training 402.87 million by 2022. This includes 104.62 million new entrants to the workforce, who need to be skilled to meet industry requirements. In addition, 298.25 million in the existing workforce need to be reskilled/upskilled.

How India can promote job creation

However, the industry has a different take on the PMKVY. As Prashant Girbane, director-general of the Pune-based Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, said, “We have long experimented with supply-driven initiatives like 15,000-plus ITIs and then PMKVY. They have had limited success. It is time that we launch a demand-driven approach with ‘skill vouchers’ that a job aspirant can use to get trained in a course and an institute of her/his choice”. Girbane added, “Training institutes can collect these vouchers and redeem them from relevant government departments. Given the readiness of the Aadhaar and UPI architecture, we are now ready to launch digital ‘skill vouchers’. Many developed economies have already used this model and some pilots in India have also shown success.”


Published on August 04, 2021

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