UPSDM-Augmenting Employment Opportunities to Empower Youth

Kunal Silku

The UPSDM with its initiatives viz arranging training of youth abroad, financial plugging of resources, fostering partnership with leading industrial houses, has set blueprint for skilling says Kunal Silku, Director (Training & Employment), Government of Uttar Pradesh & Mission Director, Uttar Pradesh Skill Development Mission, in an interview with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).

Give us an overview of UPSDM, its objective and vision to make a tangible difference?

The UP Skill Development Mission (UPSDM) has introduced a number of innovative practices. It endorses the famous Burmese proverb that one who walks in another’s track leaves no footprints. The UPSDM with its initiatives viz arranging training of youth abroad, financial plugging of resources, fostering partnership with leading industrial houses, has set blueprint for skilling. It has conceived a Hub and Spoke Model where the skill training centres and ITIs would be the Hubs while the Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools within a defined periphery would be the spokes to provide skill enriched holistic education, right from Secondary level.

The mandate of the UPSDM is to affect agglomeration of skill development programmes and synergise other appropriate structures that are aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for new entrants to the labour force within the target age-group of 14-35 years by arranging employable training courses for them.

What kind of challenges are being faced while deployment/implementation?

It is an appreciated and well admitted preposition that skill and knowledge are the key propellers of financial resilience and economic robustness of any country and India is no exception. India has moved towards becoming a leading contributor to the global economy. However, the country is challenged by severe shortage of skilled workforce as compared to other countries, and the accelerated economic growth has further augmented the demand for skilled workforce. The challenge is further accentuated by the fact that skill ecosystem across multiple sectors and regions and the involvement of various stakeholders.

Also read: Task: Propelling skill development & employment for Telangana’s youth

In the context of Uttar Pradesh the challenges were more compounded due to regional and economic differentials, caste and class stereotypes, uneven spread of industries and meagre employment prospects in private sectors. History and traditions often bind a society to unity but sometimes it bind us in chains also. Cultural stigmas hardly allow the people to welcome any change in their occupations or lifestyles. Skill training being a new leaf distinct from formal stream of education met with its destined resistance in the initial phases and its diffusion was another area which the UPSDM was to encounter before conceiving a strategic intervention in the arena of skilling initiatives.

Tell us about the processes being followed for deployment/implementation.

The State of Uttar Pradesh notified its Skill Development Policy as early as in July, 2013.

Backed with approving policy orientation, it charted its own trajectory and strove hard to realize its objective. It worked on a philosophy that the youth are indeed the variables that should be utilized for exploring new horizons based on the skills of contemporary relevance. The Government reposes its trust on the youth of the State and considers them as active agents of social and economic transformation.

The UPSDM has partnered with leading industrial and corporate houses viz Maruti Udyog Ltd, L&T, Raymonds, Lava Mobiles etc. besides empanelling 400 plus Government institutions and private training providers.

This Public-Private Partnership mode is operating for the last 4 years with many credits. This bond of togetherness has come under cloudy speculations sometimes, but nevertheless, it has worked and is still preferred.

The UPSDM has recently kicked off another strategic module by associating the Sector Skill Councils more intimately and extensively by stressing on customized training in the job roles which the concerned sector skill councils suggest and recommend in view of existing employment options or those likely to be generated in future.

Describe some of the innovative aspects of the project/activity.

UPSDM took a measure of the problem and focused its modus operandi on essential 3S – speed, standard and sustainability to dissolve the plateau in the trends of unemployment and overcome the fatigue in the industrial setup with respect to creating jobs.

The above realization pushed the UPSDM to rope in corporate houses and industrial establishments with flexible MoUs, customized to the requirement of development and sociable obligations.

Another key innovation was to associate dedicated placement agencies and job portals with the Mission. The recent catastrophe cost by spread of COVID-19 pandemic exposed the world to myriad challenges. Apart from impacting upon creation of new jobs, the pandemic aggravated the situation further by layoffs and lay downs that brought many casual workers and daily wage earners on streets. The State of Uttar Pradesh was amongst the worst sufferers as the State received around 28 lakh migrant workers within a period of one month who lost their jobs at their work places and were grappling with the problem of sustenance and earning livelihood to feed their families.

Give a comparative account of the predeployment with post-deployment scenario.

In parlance of economy, the term comparison stratifies the status of actual as noticed in distinct time differentials. Moving with such an exposition, it may be described as the development over the base line due to the interventions and experiments of the UPSDM during its seven years of existence.

The UPSDM has been instrumental in realizing the objective of skilling the youth cohort of the State besides honing the skills of its traditional artisans and enabling them to market their produce at an appreciated price with access to larger segment of consumers. The isolated, sporadic and stray endeavours of various departments to skill the youth often resulted in either siphoning off the funds or duplication of efforts with hardly any perceptible result. When the UP Skill Development Mission was established the State had merely 2% of its youth population as skilled and employable workforce which has now raised to nearly 20% by dedicated application of efforts and incessant endeavours. With the facilitation of vertical pathway, students who wish to join skill training after their completion of vocation course has made the skill training programmes more aspirational and desirable. The bare bones and blow by blow account of statistics clearly shows a striking difference in what the UPSDM was bestowed with at the time of it establishment and what it is able to provide to the youth of State.

Encapsulate the potential for replicability arising from the success of your project/activity

The synergy which the UPSDM affected with other departments to implement the skilling programmes under common presumptions and provisions has paved the way to streamline the skilling endeavours. The decision of the State to provide inter migration opportunities to the students and youth from formal to vocational stream and vice versa is a new experimental paradigm which has found it place in the National Education Policy, 2020.

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