India's Manpower Paradox

15th Apr 2008
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An article by Meera Shenoy (Executive Director of Employment Generation and Marketing Mission, Government of Andhra Pradesh) focuses on a paradox faced by India – a booming population of youth, but a shortage of skilled manpower. Shenoy discusses the downfalls of the approaches of a variety of stakeholders – government, companies, and the rural poor, and emphasizes a need for collaboration.

The government created ITIs, which are vocational training institutes, but they are now out of step with current market needs. Simultaneously, companies are often wary of low quality government programs, and the rural poor are faced with a mismatch of degrees and expectations. Shenoy describes the success of her department, EGMM, and their practice of linking public and private spheres:

EGMM has been incorporated as a society to create an enabling eco-sphere for public-private partnerships. The institutional framework of having senior government officers and private sector on the Executive Committee allows the best of the private sector linkages to be wedded to the powerful muscle and machinery of the government.
Work in Public Private Partnerships in this sector of imparting market linked skills to youth is still in its infancy. By not forging these linkages, business may lose opportunity; government may loose credibility; but society loses most of all by not creating millions of skilled youths.

Examples like this may be useful as the 11th Planning Commission, as Shenoy states, quadruples its budget for training BOP youth.

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