Progressive reduction of unemployment and creation of employment opportunities has been one of the principal objectives of economic planning ever since the plan effort was undertaken in Himachal pradesh.
Expansion of employment opportunities is a sine-qua-non to cover the backlog of unemployment and also to provide additional employment to the new entrants in the labour market. While approaching employment as an objective of the Plan, employment generation and economic growth are to be treated as complementary rather than conflicting processes.
The mainstay of the people of Himachal Pradesh is agriculture on which 66.7 1 percent of the population depends. The topography being mostly hilly, the cultivation is terraced and about 80 percent of the total holdings fall in the category of small and marginal farmers. The total unemployment picture at the national level is, therefore, significantly, different from the one obtained in Himachal Pradesh in view of the latter’s intrinsic rural nature. As such, “the employment strategy is slightly different from the overall national perspective and also more biased towards the intensive expansion of employment opportunities in the rural sector.
Despite the increase in secondary school and college enrollment, Himachal Pradesh is constrained by the low employability of its school and college graduates. Like in other states of India, general education at the secondary and college levels in Himachal Pradesh is weak and not adequately aligned to the needs of the market. The challenge of “educated unemployment” is growing. The state’s TVET programs are constrained owing to outdated curricula and training equipment, the limited reach of training facilities, and weak industry links. The TVET programs are fragmented across 12 government departments. Consequently, there are no uniform norms for training quality, certification, or placement outcomes. More than 90% of Himachal Pradesh’s workforce has not received any formal skills training. Consequently, dependence on government jobs remains high. In 2014, 65% of organized sector employment in Himachal Pradesh was in the public sector. This is fiscally unsustainable and economically unproductive.
A sharp mismatch has arisen between Himachal Pradesh’s economic and employment profiles over time. From FY2005 to FY2014, the share of the primary sector in the state’s gross domestic product declined from 25% to 19%; the share of the secondary sector remained stable at 38%, and that of the tertiary sector increased from 36% to 43%. However, as of FY2014, 58.5% of the workforce was employed in the primary sector, 22.5% in the secondary sector, and only 19.0% in services. While the state has broad gender parity in school and college enrollment rates, there is a sharp disparity in the workforce participation rates. In 2012, the average workforce participation rate was 87% for rural men and 73% for urban men, but 63% for rural women and only 28% for urban women. As Himachal Pradesh continues to urbanize and the share of the services sector grows, it is necessary to expand market-linked TVET opportunities for women.
It is estimated that net demand for skilled workers in Himachal Pradesh will amount to 515,557 between 2017 and 2022 across various trades such as retail, health care, tourism and hospitality, and information technology. The state has a narrow demographic window until 2022, after which the share of the working-age population (15−59 years) will begin to decline.11 GOHP is keen to take advantage of this demographic window by providing market-linked skilling opportunities to those aged 15–35 years.
The Twelfth Five-Year Plan of Himachal Pradesh, 2012−2017 emphasizes the need for “faster, inclusive, and sustainable development”. As part of this goal, GOHP aims to enhance livelihood and employment opportunities for the state’s youth. It established the Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam (HPKVN) as a specialized skills development company under the Department of Planning (DOP) in September 2015, to consolidate the state’s fragmented TVET programs, align all TVET programs with India’s National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), and facilitate private sector participation in design and delivery of TVET. This approach is aligned with India’s National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2015), which encourages states to develop umbrella skills development missions with “the overarching power to pool resources for harmonizing the skilling efforts across line departments, private agencies, and voluntary organizations, and reducing duplication”.
In June 2016, GOHP approved the Himachal Pradesh Skills Development Policy (Him Kaushal), 2016 to guide the reform and scaling-up of skills development efforts in the state. The project will build HPKVN’s institutional capacity to operationalize this policy and deliver the challenging mandate of the state’s skills development mission effectively. All ongoing TVET programs will be rationalized and integrated to reduce duplication. The project will add value by supporting GOHP in providing NSQF-aligned vocational training and livelihood development opportunities to around 65,000 needy youth over 2017−2022, expanding Himachal Pradesh’s annual TVET training capacity by 13,000, and extending the reach of quality training facilities and counseling services to underserved parts of the state. This will help the youth of Himachal Pradesh to learn relevant TVET skills and gain the confidence required to make the transition from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors, where job prospects are better and remuneration levels are higher.
The project reflects the priorities of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) country partnership strategy for India, 2018–2020, which aims to support India’s efforts in facilitating inclusive growth. Skills development is a major priority of the Government of India, and a key instrument for empowering people.16 It is aligned with ADB’s Midterm Review of Strategy 2020, which emphasized the need for ADB to focus on post-basic education and TVET to promote human capital development. The experience gained from ADB’s two ongoing loans in the education sector in India has been reflected in the design of the project.
What are the Initiatives of HPKVN which are proving boon for improving employability of Youth in Himachal Pradesh?
Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam established by the State Government (HPKVN) is an umbrella body for implementation and coordination of skill activities across the state. It is improving employability of the youth of the state through quality skill trainings.
Nigam’s main objectives is to consolidate technical, vocational education and trainings (TVET), development of quality skill training infrastructure, demand driven skill training for youth of the state and to provide 100 percent cost free training to the Himachali youth. To save youth generation from the catastrophe of unemployment Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam is proving itself a boon for the youth of the state and has been phenomenal with it’s people centric framework.
HPKVN is contributing to skill framework by imparting short, medium and long term skill training through training centers across the state. Nigam also facilitates industry linkages for better job placement support. HPKVN also monitors and evaluates training outcomes for quality training outcomes, KVN is developing state of art training centers and organizing skill melas and competitions for wider stakeholder engagements.
Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam is providing training through various offerings. So far 18,409 candidates have got enrolled in short term trainings and out of which 8010 candidates have got certified. Bachelor of Vocation is a three year degree programme in collaboration with department of Higher Education where the trainings are being provided in retail, tourism and hospitality. In this course so far 2755 candidates have been enrolled and 576 candidates got certified.
Its Graduate Add On Programme provides opportunity for acquiring domain and employability skills for final year graduating students in more than 25 Government Degree Colleges across the state where nationally recognized NSQF certificate is being provided to all the successful candidates. So far 2216 candidates enrolled themselves and 1851 candidates have been certified in this course.
Any person who is not enrolled in ITI can join HPKVN sponsored short term training in ITIs. It provides free of cost NSQF aligned short term 3 to 6 months training in 38 Government ITIs across the state. Trainings under ITIs are optimized for upskilling, multiskilling and enhanced employability of students. So far 5876 students enrolled themselves and 2117 students got certified under it.
HPKVN is also implementing Centrally Sponsored and State Managed Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) in the state where skill training in multiple job oriented sectors have been provided to the youth. It also provides placement assistance to the certified candidates.
Apparels, electronics and hardware, beauty and wellness, healthcare, tourism and hospitality are top performing sectors under PMKVY. Recognition of prior learning is a 12-80 hours training programme where HPKVN provides recognition and certification of skilled and semi skilled workers in existing workforce. It also provides wage compensation to trainees.
HPKVN has also taken many initiatives during Covid-19. The Government launched an online ‘Skill Register’ portal on 1st June, 2020 to create database of migrant workforce, who had returned to the state during the lock-down due to Covid pandemic and needed employment. HPKVN initiated an Industry Connect outreach exercise and shortlisted the candidates from data generated from the ‘Skill Register’ and offered related jobs.
For the purpose of skill development of the differently-able people of the state, Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam is also running a special campaign “Navdharna” through which the differently-able people of the state will be given employment-oriented training in the field of tourism and hospitality sectors.
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