[op-ed snap] The importance of green skills for green jobs


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP)

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues related to employment in the Green Economy.


Report by the International Labour Organization (ILO)

  1. Ir was a global job market
  2. It has noted that achieving the Paris Agreement’s 2 degrees Celsius goal will result in a net increase of 18 million jobs across the globe by 2030

The “World Employment And Social Outlook 2018 Greening With Jobs” report

  1. The report notes that more than 300,000 workers will be employed in the solar and wind energy sectors to meet India’s ambitious goal of generating 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable resources by 2022
  2. However, fulfilling this optimistic target will require establishing green skills training programmes

What is the issue?

  1. India ranks amongst the top 10 countries for production of renewable energy through solar, wind and biomass
  2. But the existing skill mismatch could not only pose hurdles to further growth here but also leave the poor out of the greening of the economy
  3. Closing this green skill gap is an imperative for establishing sound environmental sustainability programmes

What should be done?
FIRST: Identifying the necessary skills

  1. The initial step is identifying the necessary skills
  2. The transition to green jobs can take place along two tracks
  3. The first is a decline in the number of jobs in various industries, such as those reliant on carbon-based production
  4. Secondly, changes in skill sets can equip workers to continue working in sectors like agriculture and infrastructure as they grow greener
  5. Managing the socioeconomic disruption in the former instance and matching industry demand in the latter demands good quantitative and qualitative employment data

SECOND: The integration of green skills in formal education and training programmes

  1. Technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) programmes run by the government in India are another matter entirely
  2. Government-regulated Tvet programmes fail to align their curriculum with industry needs, thereby depriving graduates of decent jobs
  3. This is a long-standing problem and is bound to be particularly harmful when it comes to green jobs, given their rapidly evolving demands

Can the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) be a success?

  1. For example, Skill India mission, launched in 2015
  2. It has run out of steam, with problems ranging from poor management to a shortage of qualified trainers
  3. The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change recently launched a Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP)
  4. The programme aims to train over 550,000 people in the environment and forest sectors in the next three years
  5. If it means to succeed, it must learn the lessons of such failures
    What are those lessons?
  6. One of those lessons is the importance of partnering with the private sector—whether in designing government programmes or enabling and incentivising companies to run such programmes
  7. Prospective employers are the ones who are most well acquainted with changing skill needs and labour market shifts, after all
  8. Previous skill initiatives have often run aground here, with a lack of apprenticeship training and an inadequate industry interface

The way forward

  1. Total renewable power capacity installed in India, as of February 2018, was 65 GW, against the target of 175 GW by 2022
  2. If the government truly wants to accomplish this audacious goal, it will need to focus on much more than green energy infrastructure
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