India is one of the few countries in the world where the working age population will be far in excess of those dependent on them and, as per the World Bank, this will continue for at least three decades till 2040. This has increasingly been recognized as a potential source of significant strength for the national economy, provided we are able to equip and continuously upgrade the skills of the population in the working age group. In recognition of this need, the Government of India has adopted skill development as a national priority over the next 10 years. The Eleventh Five Year Plan detailed a road-map for skill development in India, and favoured the formation of Skill Development Missions, both at the State and National levels. To create such an institutional base for skill development in India at the national level, a "Coordinated Action on Skill Development" with three-tier institutional structure consisting of the PM's National Council on Skill Development, the National Skill Development Coordination Board (NSDCB) and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) was created in early 2008.
The main functions of the PM's National Council on Skill Development are as under:
- To lay down overall broad policy objectives, financing and governance models and strategies relating to skill development.
- To review the progress of schemes, and guide on mid-course corrections, additions and closure of parts or whole of any particular programme/scheme. Coordinate Public Sector / Private Sector Initiatives in a framework of collaborative action.
The NSDCB coordinates the skill development efforts of a large number of Central Ministries/Departments and States. The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a Public Private Partnership, set up to catalyze the setting-up of large scale, for-profit sustainable vocational institutions in the country, by encouraging private sector participation and providing low-cost funding for training capacity. In addition, it is expected to fund supporting systems such as quality assurance, labor market information systems and train-the-trainer facilities. Thus, the three-tier structure together facilitates implementation of skill development on the ground through three main channels - Central Ministries, the state governments and private and public training organizations.