Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.

Fostering India’s demographic dividend by upskilling


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Skill development initiatives, employment generation schemes etc

Mains level: India's demographic dividend, a window of opportunity, skill development initiatives, challenges and way forward


What’s the news?

  • India has a unique window of opportunity to unlock the potential of its youth with 1.1 billion people estimated to be in the working age group (15-64) by 2047.

Central idea

  • World Youth Skills Day, observed annually since 2014, highlights the importance of investing in the skills of youth to foster future employment and entrepreneurial spirit. With a significant youth population, India stands poised to unlock the potential of working-age individuals. However, without sufficient opportunities, the youth bulge could transform into a demographic bomb.

What is demographic dividend?

  • Demographic dividend, as defined by the United Nations Population Fund, is the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working-age share of the population

India’s robust youth skills program

  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) operates its umbrella scheme, the Skill India Mission launched in 2015- objective to develop a skilful youth workforce of the future- Providing proper skillset training to over 400 million young people by the year 2022
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)– a skill certification scheme of the MSDE implemented by- National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)- aims to mobilise and equip the youth population with the necessary skill sets training.
  • National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)- to enable candidates to acquire desired competency levels
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Learning (RPL)—skill certification for youth, especially in the unregulated sectors
  • Kaushal—a hands-on awareness-based approach with the intention of attracting potential candidates for skill training
  • Rozgar Mela—a career placement fair for young jobs seekers.
  • PMKVY 2.0, which ran from 2016 to 2020, aimed to equip 10 million young people with demand-driven skill sets through short-term training and Recognition of Prior Learning.
  • PMKVY 3.0, launched in 2020-21, provided training to over 7.36 lakh candidates, including a specialized crash course for COVID warriors.
  • Skill Hub Initiative was introduced to align vocational training with the National Education Policy 2020 and create a skilled workforce aligned with industry needs.
  • PMKVY 4.0 will be launched soon to take skill development to a wider young segment- it will also cover niche new age technologies such as coding, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, mechanotrics, Internet of Things (IOT), 3D-printing, drones, and developing other soft skills.
  • The NAPS launched in 2016 has been promoting Apprenticeship in the country through financial incentives, technology, and advocacy support.
  • PM-YUVA was launched in 2016 as an all-India scheme to promote business studies, and facilitate access to entrepreneurship support networks and start-ups ideas for the youth.
  • Project AMBER strives to provide holistic skilling to foster quality jobs, improved employment opportunities and retention methods.
  • The Skill Loan Scheme was launched in July 2015 to provide finance to the youth for enrolment in skill development courses

Challenges regarding India’s youth skills enabling journey

  • According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), India is projected to face a significant skill deficit of 29 million by 2030.
  • Skill development programs have suffered from underutilization of funds and high dropout rates.
  • Gender disparity in India’s workforce, with a female labor participation rate of only 22
  • Only a fraction of certified individuals has found jobs through the skill development programs.

Way forward

  • Enhance the effectiveness of basic education– incorporating relevant and practical skills training, updating curricula– align with industry needs, and promoting experiential learning approaches.
  • Foster closer collaboration between skill development initiatives and industries to ensure the relevance of training programs.
  • Promote gender equality in skill development programs– encouraging more women to participate in training, providing support systems tailored to their needs, and creating opportunities for women to enter non-traditional sectors.
  • Address the funding gap and ensure effective utilization of resources in skill development initiatives.
  • Develop robust job placement and retention strategies, including establishing strong linkages with industries, facilitating internships and apprenticeships.
  • Regularly assess labor market needs and trends to update skill training programs.
  • Conduct public awareness campaigns to promote vocational skills as aspirational career choices


  • India’s journey towards youth skill development has witnessed commendable efforts. However, addressing the skill deficit and unlocking the true potential of the youth requires continued investment, policy enhancements, and stakeholder collaboration. Through concerted efforts, India can maximize its demographic dividend for the workforce of the future.

Also read:

India’s Population Growth: Dividend or a Disaster?

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