Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) urged Central Public Sector companies to significantly increase their participation in the government’s apprenticeship program at a National Seminar held to spread awareness and participation in Apprenticeship Programme, here today. The seminar was organised by MSDE in collaboration with the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), with an aim of increasing participation in the government’s apprenticeship scheme in the service sector by government-run companies.Shri. R. K. Singh, Minister of State, MSDE, Dr. K.P. Krishnan, Secretary, MSDE, Shri Sailesh Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises and Shri Atul Sobit, Director General, SCOPE were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
The ministry has taken several efforts to increase the number of apprentices hired by enterprises in the country. The aim is to fill the gap in supply and demand for skilled workforce and meet the aspirations of the Indian youth through gaining on-the-job training and securing better opportunities for employment. Most PSUs are hiring apprentices for technical and manufacturing job roles. However, the number of apprentices in the service sector is lagging behind. Senior executives of major PSUs, attending the event, were also urged to hire students who have cleared skill programmes under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), a flagship scheme of MSDE implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The students of long-term programmes offered by technical colleges under the All India Council of Technical Education and Industrial Training Institutes run by the Directorate General of Training will also be hired as apprentices.
Detailing the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey said, “Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) are instrumental in sustaining self-reliant economic growth and play a vital role in generating employment opportunities for skilled professionals. I strongly urge them to come forward, increase their engagement with apprentices and build their potential to be industry ready’’. He further stated this will lead to the success of the enterprises, apprentices and will lead to fulfilling the aspirations of New India. He appealedto all the enterprises to give due respect to the young apprentices, treat them at par with their employees and recognise them as the torchbearers of the overall growth and progress.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri R.K. Singhsaid, “We have a substantial proof of the positive impact apprentices create in the manufacturing and service industry. Countries like Germany and Japan have proven apprenticeship as an effective model improving links between industry and training institutions. Through such examples and by urging our CPSUs, we can create pathways for industrial development and contribute to India’s economic growth. We want to strengthen the Indian apprenticeship system to impart formal training across sectors in order to rightly skill the youth and provide them opportunities for livelihood.”
The government has brought significant reforms to the apprenticeship rules to drive greater participation in the program. These reforms include:
- Upper limit for engaging apprentices increased from 10% to 15%
- Size limit of an establishment with mandatory obligation to engage apprentices lowered from 40 to 30
- Payment of stipend for 1st year has been fixed rather than linking it to minimum wages, 10% to 15% hike in stipend for 2nd and 3rd year to apprentice
- Duration of apprenticeship training for Optional Trade can be from 6 months to 36 months
- The industry has the option to design and implement their own Apprenticeship programs
- Under NAPS, the establishments / industry can get reimbursement upto 25% of the stipend paid to the apprentices
The event also witnessed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing between MSDE and Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an apex body of Public Sector Enterprises, to further promote and expand apprenticeship training in CPSUs.
PSUs are present in almost every sector and are significant contributors to the Indian economy, crucial to the employment generation. The top 100 PSUs in the country represent 20% of the total manpower and are utilizing 30% of the apprenticeship training potential. The priority sectors in almost 30 PSUs are Defence, Aerospace, Manufacturing, Service, Heavy industries & Chemicals and they engage 66% of the current total apprentices engagement. Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) have engaged 10.21% of total workforce as apprentices which itself embarks the need to call upon other CPSUs and ancillary units working under them to come forward and work collaboratively with MSDE. Therefore, PSUs play a critical role in the success of the apprenticeship program being run by the MSDE. A few PSUs present at the seminar also shared their success stories of the candidates receiving apprenticeship training and successfully getting employed.
PSUs like Air India Transport, Andrew Yule, Artificial Limbs Manufacturing, BEL, BHEL, Housing & Urban Development Corporation and Madras Fertilizers have been engaging 15% of their total staff strength as apprentices which is more than the desirable limit.