Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to the lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts. That is why education and training are key determinants of success in the labour market. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.
India’s economy has grown impressively, with GDP growth rates rising from 5.6% in 2012-13 to 7.6% in 2015-16. The country is poised to grow even faster, with its demographic potential, high investment and savings rates, and allocation of resources for infrastructure. But its high pace of economic growth and notable progress in reducing poverty over the last decade contrasts with the persistent gaps in creating a more inclusive, productive and formal labour market. Investment in skills development will ensure that economic and employment growth is more inclusive. This is especially important in the context of India’s demographic transition that has also produced a youth bulge in the working age population.
The government has set up the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), with an enabling framework to facilitate job creation and entrepreneurship, as well as attract private investment. Steps are also being taken to attract foreign direct investment and catapult manufacturing growth. The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (Skill India Mission) is MSDE’s flagship scheme to enable young Indians to take up industry-relevant skills training and improve their employability. The government’s commitment to ensuring that young Indians are ready to compete in the labour market is demonstrated by the breadth of skilling programmes it has made available: National Apprenticeship Training Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushal Yojana, National Urban Livelihoods Mission, and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. The National Career Service, launched by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, aims to provide job matching services in a transparent and user-friendly manner.
Several national flagship schemes such as Make in India, Start-up India, Stand-up India (a bank loan programme to assist Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and women borrowers to set up a greenfield enterprise), and Digital India, have been launched to spur the creation of more productive and higher skilled micro, small and medium enterprises, which would accelerate labour demand and job creation. The Atal Innovation Mission endeavours to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a platform for the generation and sharing of innovative ideas, alongside an incubator to mentor and support innovators.
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