A large number of youths from both organised and unorganised sectors lost jobs due to COVID-19 impact in 2020. According to CMIE data, India's unemployment rate climbed to a six-month high of 9.06 per cent in December 2020. The CMIE's report also warned that a rise in the unemployment rate raises serious doubt over economic recovery.
There are high expectations that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce measures to create jobs during the Budget. Although creating millions of jobs is an uphill task, the government can still do it by strengthening its very own flagship programme---Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
The PMKKY scheme under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was inundated with inquiries to learn skills online in order to start a new business or switch to other companies during the pandemic.
PMKVY's objective is to enable a large number of Indian youths to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the government's training centres remained shut, and only some of them provided online training. According to the government data, online virtual classes for Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) trainees were conducted during the pandemic. During July 2020, a total of 288 classes was conducted and 1.39 lakh students participated, according to the Ministry. Most of the PMKVY training partners had to provide their premises for quarantine facilities, including for a temporary hospital.
The ITIs, the training centres under PMKVY, and Apprenticeship training establishments started reopening in October.
In year-end review 2020, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship informed that many ITIs and National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) designed and manufactured machines to fight against the pandemic. For example, the government's ITI Berhampur, Odisha designed and developed "Aerosol Box" which tightly shields health care providers' face from patient's face. NSTI Ludhiana prepared an Aero Blaster Machine that helped in sanitising the city.
As many as 1,75,000 persons trained by the Ministry's skilling ecosystem in health sector professionals such as Health Workers, Emergency Medical Technicians, General Duty Assistants, Home Health Aid, were made available to the States for utilising their services during the pandemic.
Additionally, the Directorate General of Training (DGT), the apex organisation of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship introduced 13 National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) compliant New-Age courses that include Data Analysts and Scientists, Technician Mechatronics, Smart Agriculture, Cloud Computing, Process Automation Experts, User Experience and Human-Machine Interaction Designers, Blockchain Specialists, Software and Applications Developers, Geoinformatics Assistant, AI, and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, Information Security Analysts, Robotics Engineers, and Ecommerce and Social Media, Specialists to prepare the youth for technology-oriented jobs.
The ministry of skills also provided training to three lakh migrant workers from the identified 116 districts across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand to empower the rural and migrant population in the post-COVID era.
The MSED has claimed that it has worked towards making more than five crore people skilled in the country since 2014-15. Also, the Ministry said it signed various MOUs on skill development with different countries, amplified apprenticeship programme, among others.
The Centre launched the third phase of PMKVY on January 15 with a target to train eight lakh candidates at an outlay of Rs 948.90 crore during 2020-21.