There is a high risk that many training partners will close: NSDC MD


New Delhi: With a crumbling economy, the labor market is hit hard. It has turned India’s skills ecosystem upside down – from interns, mostly from the bottom of the pyramid, to skills companies whose payouts are based on the results of government programs. Many of them are struggling to survive. Manish Kumar, MD and CEO of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), speaks with mint on the disruption and how NSDC, India’s hub for promoting skills development, plans to help its partners overcome the crisis. Edited excerpts:

There are fears that many NSDC training partners are closing their doors. Is this a possibility?

The risk is high. there is no doubt. There are several reasons. This closure (confinements in the various states) is quite prolonged. We have tried to provide various kinds of relief. For example, those who took out loans from us were given a moratorium on principal and interest for six months. Likewise, for good training partners, we have a working capital loan. We want the good guys to survive. Those who are very small – maybe they haven’t done well in the past – will be the ones at great risk.

Government grants are limited during this kind of period. The government is trying to do as much as possible, but most of the money and resources would go to covid issues. There is a payment flow happening; we would have liked it to be much more important than what is happening, but we understand the constraints under which government operates. Our effort is to keep things until March. Maybe we should be able to overcome this crisis by then.

PMKVY-3 (Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, the flagship program of the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship) was recently approved by the government. This implies that the funds will start to flow. Once the funds start to flow, the health of many of these businesses will improve.

Regarding the financial model of public plans, should they become less strict in terms of payment or reimbursement terms?

When the government looks at these issues, it takes a deeper look at them from the perspective of the people who need the skills, rather than the people who will have them. You are not creating a program for the benefit of the people who learn the skills. I’m not saying that you don’t need to look at the sustainability of those who will be doing the training – it’s important. We make sure that the right training partners can survive. But the design of the qualification programs would always be for the people who will benefit from them. Sometimes people confuse that the programs are meant for the training provider.

There seems to be a tendency to meet the demand for jobs locally rather than inducing people to migrate. Is this a general idea after the pandemic?

It will ultimately be an individual choice. If people want to migrate to the United States, they don’t ask permission from the government. We try to understand the local economy and create skills or skills infrastructure that responds to the local economy. If a person is unwilling to move (declares), is there an opportunity locally? Are we able to connect this? It will improve a person’s opportunities and choices.

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Milton S. Rodgers

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