Sharada Prasad Committee Report on Skill Councils

The committee was constituted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship on 18th May 2016 for Rationalisation and Optimization of the Functioning of the Sector Skill Councils, under the Chairmanship of Sh. Sharada Prasad, Former Director General, Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India.

Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) are industry led and industry governed bodies which have been mandated to ensure that skill development efforts being made by all the stake holders are in accordance with the actual needs of the industry and develop National Occupational Standards/Competency Standards and Qualification Packs (QPs).

Presently, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has approved formation of 40 SSCs in different Sectors. In order to ensure convergence and optimal functioning of SSCs as per mandate given under the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, it was decided to constitute a Committee to review the functioning of the SSCs and provide a roadmap for their harmonious growth so as to ensure effective development of the skilling ecosystem.

Main Recommendations of the Committee:

The first recommendation is that the Government should create a sound National Vocational Education and Training System which provides for the following:-

i) Every child irrespective of his caste, creed, religion, gender, region or economic status should get 10 years of schooling so that the three Rs- Reading, Writing and Arithmetic make the basic foundation on which the higher vocational education and training system could be successfully built upon.

ii) At the secondary school level, the children should be sensitized about the dignity of labour, world of work and career options but vocational education and training should start only after 10 years of schooling, which is the case in most of the developed world.

iii) Each child should be given an option to go for vocational education and training as he is permitted to go to humanities, science, commerce, technical education or medical education streams.

iv) The government should promote setting up of required number of Vocational Education and Training Colleges (VETCs) where option should be available to a child to choose any of the sectors of his choice for training.

v) The VETCs should run vocational courses but along with, students should also be taught two academic subjects such as a language and another subject from humanities or science or commerce depending upon his future career growth options as is currently mandated for
vocational training graduates of ITIs after 10 years of schooling to get equivalence with 12th standard.

vi) The VETCs should run certificate, diploma, advanced diploma and degree level courses.

The National Vocational Education and Training System can succeed only when Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of HRD work closely together keeping in mind the national goal of making India the “Skills capital of the world”. The Ministry of HRD should conduct vocational education and training courses at 10+2 level and align the standards with the National Skills Qualification Framework. They should setup higher vocational education and training colleges and universities to ensure vertical mobility of VET stream pass outs with regular trainers/professors, well equipped state of the art classrooms, workshops, tools, equipments and machinery in close consultation with the industry. However, if they feel otherwise, MSDE should setup a National Vocational University, which should conduct research, train the trainers/professors for the higher vocational education and training system and become affiliating university for all VETCs.

It has been recommended to create a credible and dynamic national Labour Market Information System, National Occupational Standards, National Competency Standards, National Accreditation Standards, National Assessment Standards and National Certification Standards and align them with the International Standards Classification of Occupations, 2008.

It has been recommended that the MSDE should become the owner of all national VET standards and be accountable for skilling of youth with the objective of meeting the exact skill needs of the industry and providing employment to youth.

Trainees should be brought under the purview of National Assessment and Certification System to ensure best quality of training and uniform certificate.

It is recommended that they should do vocational guidance at the secondary level and get vocational education and training allocated to them so that they could carry out VET courses at senior secondary and higher levels.

In-plant Apprenticeship training should be made an integral part of the Vocational Education and Training System for all trainees, as is the case in Germany and many other countries.

There should be close interface of the VET system with the industry. The SSCs must become the vibrant institutions of interface between the government, VET system and the youth. The employers must own, finance and drive them in order to discharge their responsibilities efficiently and effectively.

It has therefore, been recommended that a Reimbursable Industry Contribution (RIC) of about 2% of their annual wage bill should be collected from all small, medium and large enterprises employing 10 or more persons.

In order to ramp up the training capacity of national VET system to about 10 million per annum, all existing diploma colleges and ITIs should be renamed as VETCs and their capacities should be enhanced to about an average of 500 trainees per annum running about 10 trades which include 3-4 engineering and 6-7 services sector trades along with two academic subjects. In addition, about 3600 new VETCs may be setup in government, government aided, private and public private partnership with the financial support of NSDC.

In order to ensure best quality of training, the national VET standards should be aligned to international standards, the vocational training institutions should be accredited by independent professional bodies, a system of annual surveillance and oversight be introduced and assessment and certification done by an independent National Board of Assessment and Certification.

A sound framework for development of skills to meet the needs of the huge unorganized sector and large school dropouts should be evolved. It has been recommended that 50,000 Vocational Education and Training Schools (VETS) should be setup by the government, government aided, private sector, public private partnerships, local bodies and nongovernmental organizations in a manner that one VETS is available in a cluster of 10-12 villages. These schools maybe financially supported by NSDC.

It recommended that Apprentices Act, 1961 and the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 should be repealed and a new Vocational Education and Training Act should be enacted.

It recommended that the SSCs should be owned, funded and driven by the sectoral employers and not by industry associations.

In reviewing the existing QPs/NOSs and developing new National Competency Standards, SSCs/NSDA/DGE should involve professional institutes such as CSTARI, Kolkata, PSS CIVE, Bhopal and for content development NIMI, Chennai.

As NSDA has been mandated to anchor and operationalize NSQF, it should be assigned the role of National Skills Qualification Authority (NSQA) and CSTARI, NIMI and CIVE should be brought under its functional control.

The State Governments are conducting training through government and private ITIs and large number of other training institutions. They always need the assistance and support of SSCs, but the State Governments feel handicapped since the SSCs are located either in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore. The SSCs, therefore, should setup their offices in the States to take care of their skills needs, particularly, in agriculture, allied sector and MSME clusters.

A Central Advisory Board On Skill Development be created in which Ministers of all Central Ministries/Departments doing skill development, the Ministers of all the State Governments dealing with skill development and all heads of regulatory bodies dealing with different aspects of skill development be made members to effectively coordinate the efforts of skill development seamlessly across the country.

Ministry of Labour and Employment should be brought under the MSDE and the name of the Ministry should be changed to Ministry of Skill Development and Employment. Entrepreneurship is primarily for self employment which is covered under ‘Employment’.

The NSDA is mainly a regulatory body. However, it has also been mandated to raise extra budgetary sources for skill development from various agencies such as international bodies, multilateral agencies and private sector. It compromises with their regulatory role and, therefore, it should be withdrawn from them.

The NSDC is a public private partnership with 51% equity of the private sector. It is essentially a private sector body and, therefore, not competent to undertake regulatory functions. It has not been able to discharge the responsibilities given to it for setting up SSCs. There have been lots of instances of serious conflict of interest and unethical practices. The work of setting up of SSCs, therefore, should be transferred to the regulator, NSDA and their Memorandum of Association amended accordingly.