Subodh Varma, 26 Feb, 2007 TIMES NEWS NETWORK
NEW DELHI: A National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has shown that the utility of vocational courses is quite overstated. In India, there are nearly 26 crore people in the 15-29 years age group. Of these, the number of persons trained in any of the formal or non-formal ways is estimated at about 3 crores. Only about 2% have received formal vocational training while about 3.4% have received so-called hereditary training, that is, learning the trade of their family. This mostly includes farming, fishing, handicrafts etc. Over 3.8% of the surveyed age group acquired training through other means like working with a skilled person in a factory.
There are over 5,000 government-run ITIs and private Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) in the country offering over 7.4 lakh seats every year. They provide over 20% of the trained manpower. Besides, there are an estimated 500 polytechnics with an annual intake of 65,000 students. The majority of formally-trained youths are however emerging from private institutions.
Jobs in the industrial sector are declining — the major reason why technically-trained youths are not getting employed or working in mismatched occupations. According to the latest economic survey, employment in manufacturing fell from 5.24 million to 4.74 million in the private sector and from 1.66 million to 1.26 million in the public sector between 1997 and 2003.
The situation was further aggravated due to indiscriminate enrolment by private institutions as pointed out by an exhaustive study of 121 ITI/ITCs by the International Labour Organisation in 2003. It revealed that in surveyed districts of Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the number of persons getting trained as fitters, welders, electricians etc was two times the jobs available in the region.
Industry body FICCI, in a recent survey of 69 ITIs, said that there was under-utilisation of seats in as many as 35%, and significant shortage of staff in almost three quarters of the ITIs. However, the survey showed that the institutions are well equipped, offer several types of training along with interface with industry. The Ficci survey admits that orientation of training towards industrial requirements is necessary, although it did not seek information on placements.