Modi’s UK visit to strengthen Skill India Mission

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

MODI   -  Business Line

The government is planning to strengthen one of its flagship programmes — Skill India Mission — when Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his maiden visit to the UK this week, eyeing “substantial market access” in that market for a number of services.

While trade and investments will be on Prime Minister’s priority list when he meets his British counterpart, David Cameron, for a bilateral meeting, the focus is going to be on skill development and entrepreneurship giving more teeth to the recently launched National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015, sources told BusinessLine.

According to officials, international collaboration forms the basic ethos of Skill India initiative with greater private sector participation by letting them gain access to the international markets.

‘Natural partner’

The UK can become a “natural partner” in this objective as both countries share the same education system and qualification parameters, said an official, who refused to be named. It is learnt that both countries may also announce creation of a joint skill development centre and centres of excellence during the visit, especially in the area of food supply and logistics.

According to a survey conducted by ICRIER, by 2025 India will have 25 per cent of the world’s total workforce while the UK is struggling with an ageing population. As a result, a qualified and trained workforce from India can help the UK meet its labour demands.

“In terms of training and skill development, only around 5 per cent of the total workforce in India has formal skill training while in the UK, 68 per cent of the population has formal training.

“Thus, India can learn from the UK on how to train its workforce. Given such strong complementarities, it is important to understand that within skill development what are the key areas in which there can be mutually beneficial collaborations,” said Arpita Mukherjee, professor, ICRIER.

However, there are also significant concerns on relaxing the visa regime, which is being discussed under the services trade chapter in the proposed India-EU free trade agreement (FTA), which is presently in a hiatus.

Apart from this, defence manufacturing and clean energy will also be taken up for discussion between both sides. Both leaders are expected to meet on November 12. This will be third bilateral meeting between Modi and Cameron. They had last met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.

Modi will be visiting the UK from November 12-14. Following his meeting with Cameron, Modi is expected to have a private luncheon with Queen Elizabeth on November 13 at the Buckingham Palace.  

Published on November 09, 2015

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