A State Level Sector Consultation Workshop on Employment and Skilling sector was called by Vision Document Project Office of Government of Karnataka on 26th September 2017. The workshop was facilitated by the Knowledge Partner KPMG in association with GRAAM. The agenda of the workshop has been to deliberate and collate inputs from different stakeholders ranging from Government departments, CSOs/NGOs, Senior Corporate leaders as well as Sector Experts on what the Vision 2025 Document on Skill development and Livelihood Training should look like.

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While welcoming the gathering, Ms Renuka Chidambaram, IAS, CEO, Vision Document Project Office mentioned that there are several states that are currently engaged in the envisioning exercise, Karnataka being one of them. She urged the gathering that the exercise should put the people/community in the centre of the discussion by making the question: What is in it for me? central to the discussion and debate.

Ms. Renuka also emphasized that the government agencies need to listen to the voices of the people during policy making. She also observed that there is a need to include the requirements, aspirations, and expectations of the different stakeholders. The vision document should in fact actualize the buzzwords “Participative” and “Inclusive”, and not just have them for the rhetoric. This actualization process can be achieved through two processes, viz., horizontal and vertical. The overarching goal of this exercise is to come up with an “implementable” document.

There was further discussion about the approach for this exercise.

1 Presentation by Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement on sector’s current state in Karnataka, key issues and themes for discussion

Mr. Basavaraju, Executive Director, GRAAM, in his presentation provided an overview of the skill ecosystem in Karnataka state.

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The Department of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood was set up in 2016, which has been functional since 2017.The State Policy on Skill Development was formulated in 2008 and the 2017 – 203 Skill Development Policy is also in place. Though the policy is highly progressive, it is highly dependent on Karnataka Vocational Training & Skill Development Corporation (KVTSDC). Out of the total population 6.11 crores, 2.44 crores are registered as workers. About 3/4th of the workers are in the unorganized sector, thereby imposing a policy challenge of how to make it more inclusive.

It also was mentioned that though there is a huge infrastructure available at different levels, it is not being utilized to the full capacity. Also, short-term training programs do not go far in achieving the desired results. There needs to be active participation from the community to make the training programs successful. It was suggested that the institutional mechanisms like Skill Missions should b set up at the district level that need to be coordinate in a better way by providing information about the labor market needs. And the focus has to be on the selection of the beneficiary, dynamic and real-time information about the labor market which will help in developing most appropriate skill development and training modules. There need to be effective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation and impact assessment of the training programs.

The following are the current challenges faced in the skill development sector

1. Inadequate knowledge base and information asymmetry
2. Limited capacity of institutional skilling – less capacity to cater to more people and course modules as per the market need

There is a need to create institutions and generate an interest among the communities about these skills. This process has to be a continuous and parallel and should be taken up on a regular basis.

As regards the skill eco-system at the state level, there is a need for convergence at multiple levels of implementation. There must be more effort put in the direction of inclusion of marginalized groups within the community. It is a sad fact that there is no incentive for investing in skills. There is no concrete roadmap about how to take apprenticeship and internships forward in the long run. In such a context, the way forward is to look at the gaps as opportunities for improvement.

The following table provides an overview of the key sectors and emerging sectors in the current scenario:

Key sectors Emerging sectors
IT & ITES Green constructions
Health WASH
Education and skill development Hospitality
Building and construction Beauty and wellness
Tourism Handlooms and handicrafts
Agriculture Furniture and furnishings
Transportation Retail
Textiles Sustainable agriculture
Food processing Uberization of employment

Though several government departments are engaged in training and skill development, it was observed that they do it for the sake of it without any follow up on what the trainees are engaged in after the training program is completed. Similarly, the private organizations are into training programs for the profits that they make out it. But it is also true that the corporates have good models which can be replicated elsewhere.

School education needs to be looked at critically and there has to be a linkage between the school education and skill development from an early age.