Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Chairman of the National Skill Development Co-ordination Board, spoke with Business Today's Shamni Pande on skilling and the proposed National Skill Development Authority . Edited excerpts:
Q. What does the proposed National Skill Development Authority hope to solve?
A. The purpose of NSDA is to overview skill development efforts that are spread among a large number of ministries, though two to three are most important. It role will also be to talk to the states and sensitise them about the importance of skill development and to identify success stories and replicate them. Mr. Ramadorai will be the head of NSDA. I am sure with his experience we will get to a system of skill development that the private sector will find useful. Ultimately, the test of skill development is employability.
Q. But there are turf conflicts between human resources development and labour ministries?
A. There is always turf conflict in government . That is why you have co-ordination. You overcome this through good coordination. The truth is that the job that has to be done is huge, so we need to avoid duplication and bring in some rationality.
Q. So NSDA can avoid that duplication?
A. I am sure. In the end, when the government sees what is needed to avoid duplication and improve efficiency, it actually does what is necessary.
Q. What will it mean in terms of funding, as each ministry gets a separate sum?
A. The funds will remain. Every implementing ministry will get its own funds, but the advantage of NSDA is that it will provide independent assessment of what is really working. So we are really the ones that provide the money. If NSDA's independent assessment is that this, rather than that, is more effective, then presumably we will allocate funds more to this than to that.
Q. But funding for NSDC has been stopped this year, which was allocated in the last Budget.
A. They themselves don't need funds. They are just a small office. The real funding is on skill development. I don't think the idea was that all skill development funding will be given to them and then they will allocate. That actually is with the Planning Commission and we allocate, like we do now, but we would have a body (i.e. NSDA) with whom we will interact that will tell us that this is working and this is not working.
Q. So will NSDC get reviewed as part of that, and will it get funded in future?
A. NSDA will take an overview of NSDC as well. Let me put it this way: if there is a review that it needs funds or is not using its money effectively, that would get reflected in the allocation decision. But we would count on the NSDA to give us a lot of that feedback.