Opinion

Eat and run

R Srinivasan | Updated on March 09, 2018

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PPP doesn’t mean public pays and private sector profits

When the Modi government recast the skill development portfolio and created a ministry for skill development and entrepreneurship, the goal was to eventually skill (or re-skill) as many as a million people a week, to provide a feeder belt of skilled talent for the Make in India programme. That looks like a distant dream, with the National Skill Development Corporation currently headless and in the midst of a controversy kicked up by the findings of the compliance audit of NSDC and its funding agency, the National Skill Development Fund, by the CAG.

The NSDF was supposed to provide the funds needed by NSDC, which in turn was supposed to use this corpus to offer refinance facility to private sector partners, who were the actual investors who set up the infrastructure and ran the programmes. The NSDF was meant to be a repository of funds pooled from the government’s budget grants, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and crucially, the private sector. But the private sector, which hailed the creation of NSDC as a model of public private partnership, and which has been the major recipient of all funding, has contributed practically nothing to the pool, despite having full control of NSDC — the Centre’s stake appears to have fallen to around 42 per cent, despite the original Cabinet resolution stipulating a 49 per cent stake, and it even mysteriously changed to a private limited company from a public limited one.

The CAG report found that 99.78 per cent of the funds came from taxpayer money. Some 83 per cent of partners failed to meet targets and many have defaulted on loans from NSDC. In other words, the profits have been private while the expenses have stayed public. This is a mockery of what PPPs are supposed to be.

Senior Associate Editor

Published on December 21, 2015

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