Col (Retd.) N. B. Saxena, M.Tech;Ph.D.
New Delhi. When we talk about the defence of a country the word Infrastructure being an integral part of the whole system cannot be ignored. There is a general feeling that the infrastructure required for Defence & Aviation is different than the normal one which we need for day to day operations. Ddefence Infrastructure can be classified in to two major groups which are Manufacturing Sector and Construction Sector. The aspect to be kept in mind is that both these groups are important for Make in India as well as Skilling India.Nneedless to say that Make in India can only be possible if the programme for Skilling India is on the right track.
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) created by UPA Govt.in 2008 with all good intentions and carried forward by the NDA Govt. practically failed in its mission of skilling India due to poor understanding of the Manufacturing Sector and Construction Sector ,which combined together are the largest employer after agriculture in both organized and unorganized sectors. The basic reasonbeing that NSDC is top heavy with non-professionals who are either exposed to IT sector or Management field & that too from the foreign countries. The understanding of the workers required at the bottom of the pyramid by NSDC has been missing in their planning and strategies. They missed the basic point of skilling that is classifying the skill in to two groupswhich is Knowledge Based Skills and the second is Physical or Manual Based Skills. Knowledge based is for higher levels while Manual based is for the masses which actually what the Government had aimed for.
The Defence Infrastructure covering the Manufacturing Sector -which is highly mechanized- definitely needs both knowledge as well as manual skills, probably in a ratio of 70: 30 of knowledge to manual. On the contrary the construction sector requires a ratio of 60: 40 manual to knowledge based skills. Therefore, accordingly the skills training in each sector was supposed to be planned with short term and long term aim.It is in this area where NSDC failed badly. Unfortunately NSDC took the shorter route of issuing the certificates in numbers even without establishing their credibility with industry for the desired output.
It is good to note that finally the Govt. has woken up to the challenges and changes required in basic skilling strategy by sacking the NSDC top officials so as to make in India successful via skilling route. It will have larger impact on Make in India programme, if skilling is handled professionally and honestly. The Defence production will definitely benefit resulting in a boost to the general employment and quality of products.
The author is a skills development expert and a part of the team which initially set up the CSDCI.