Government cuts skill development budget, MPs raise eyebrows

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) While the Narendra Modi government has emphasised on skill development programmes under the ‘Skill India’ mission, it has drastically cut the budget allocation, compared to the demand from the ministry responsible for overseeing them.

While the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) had asked for Rs.8,062 crore under various heads for the financial year 2016-17, all it got was Rs.1,804 crore — less than one-fourth of the proposed amount.

The MSDE is responsible for monitoring and coordinating more than 70 skill development schemes being implemented by various central ministries/departments apart from implementing schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Technical Assistance Scheme for the National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC), National Board for Skill Certification and National Skill Development Agency.

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The ministry had asked for Rs.4,078 crore for PMKVY but the finance ministry allocated only Rs.1,100.

Similarly, for apprenticeship and training, the ministry asked for Rs.1,450 crore but got only Rs.286 crore. For Technical Assistance Scheme for NSDC, the ministry got just Rs.250 crore against the proposed Rs.1,401 crore.

The parliamentary standing committee on labour which looks into the budgetary allocation for the ministry of skill development, has expressed concern over the “unexplained” slashing of the funds by the finance ministry.

“The committee is deeply concerned to observe that against the ministry’s budgetary proposal of Rs.8,062 crore, the ministry of finance, without assigning any reasons, has pruned down the MSDE’s proposal and allocated Rs.1,804 crore only,” the committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member Virendra Kumar, observed.

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“What is more worrisome is the huge reduction made in the ministry’s flagship and ambitious programmes like the PMKVY,” it added.

The PMKVY, approved in March last year, is aimed at imparting employable skills to one crore youth in three years. For the current financial year, the target has been set at 28 lakh, according to the official data.

Prime Minister Modi has been repeatedly emphasising the need of skill training and entrepreneurship to become employable or self-employed ever since he assumed office and his government has launched several schemes in this connection.

The committee also observed: “We are surprised that on one hand the government is publicising and popularising the skill development initiatives, whereas on the other hand no fund has been allocated to impart skill training under the Skill Development Initiative scheme.”

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The prime minister has also been supporting start-ups to promote entrepreneurship among the youth.

(Asim Khan can be reached on [email protected])



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