The Maharashtra government has been aggressively promoting its skill development agenda.

With plans to equip 4.5 crore people with employable skills by 2022, the State also aims to increase the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to 25 per cent through huge increase in industrialisation.

Officials pointed out that the key to achieving these numbers is not just through building requisite infrastructure, but also through skilled workforce.

Demand-supply gap A report by the National Skill Development Corporation of India (NSDC) has pointed out that between 2012 and 2022, Maharashtra is likely to have an incremental demand for 1.55 crore people, and an incremental supply (only of local candidates) of 1.06 crore persons.

This, the NSDC has held, would lead to a shortage of supply of 0.49 crore persons. Moreover, the shortage would be most acute at the skilled level, though there would be a small surplus at the minimally skilled level.

Job market The NSDC study shows that between 2012 and 2022, around 1.06 crore persons are bound to join the labour force and will be available in the job market looking for jobs.

While maximum demand would be generated from sectors such as building, construction and the real estate sector, the organised retail sector, and banking, financial services and insurance sector, is also set to require more workers.

Over the next ten years, maximum demand for skilled workers has been placed at 37 per cent of the total incremental demand, whereas for semi-skilled workers it is at 35 per cent, and for minimally skilled workers is 28 per cent.

“During 2011-12, Maharashtra’s GSDP was estimated at ₹11.99 lakh crore, contributing to 14.4 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Currently, industrial and services sector together contribute to about 87 per cent of GSDP, while agriculture and allied sectors contribute 13 per cent,” said an NSDC official.

“There are better incentives for industry in other States. Naxalism is a major issue in many districts,” said another official, adding that a mismatch was noticed between the educational curriculum and industry requirements.

The official added that there was an inadequate focus on soft skills and personality development of students. Lack of skilled manpower in backward districts and a high degree of unionism was also noticed.

Migrant workers Data showed that the per capita income of the State was estimated at ₹95,339 during 2011-12, higher than the all-India average of ₹60,972 per annum.

In order to combat the skills gap, the NSDC has asked the government to introduce a ‘sandwich programme’ for practical exposure.

“Currently, the focus of the educational system is on theoretical knowledge, which doesn’t really reflect the industry’s needs. Some degree of industry exposure is in place only in a few engineering courses, where students are given exposure in one semester, and in ITI courses, where the apprenticeship system is in place. Most of the other colleges do not follow this system,” said the official. The NSDC has recommended the ‘sandwich system’, wherein theoretical learning in institutes is sandwiched between industry visits.

Noting that auto and auto components sector, building and construction sector, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector, food processing industry, IT and ITES, tourism and hospitality were some of the sectors where this system was especially required.

The official added that NSDC doubles its skilling target every year. This year’s target has been set at skilling over six million people, which is almost double of the 3.4 million achieved last year.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and NSDC are also planning an entrepreneurship development scheme, which would introduce specific courses in 5,000 colleges over the next three years, in order to boost employment opportunities.