Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Sep 25 (IANS) The central government lacked the vision to harness the skills of the youth, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said and added that had the country invested in its youth power, it could have skipped many difficulties.
"The prime minister talked about skill development five years back. But what did he do with that? The government has no vision for skill development. Had the country invested in manpower, maybe we could have skipped many difficulties," Modi said here Wednesday while addressing around 7,000 people at the National Conference on Skill Development.
The conference was organised by the Labour and Employment Department of the Gujarat government along with Confederation of Indian Industry.
"Unemployment is a big problem. On one hand, there is demand for skilled labourers and on the other hand there is lack of skilled manpower. There is no leader or government to work towards making the two ends meet," he said.
Modi added: "In Gujarat, we have done many things on that direction, but it would have been better had the central government done it."
According to a report by the National Skill Development Corporation, net enrolment in vocational courses in India is about 5.5 million per year compared to 90 million in China and 11.3 million in the US. A mere two percent of Indian workers are formally skilled.
The bulk of the labour force in India - about 93 percent - who work in the unorganised sector are largely untouched by any kind of formal training. By way of comparison, 96 percent of the workers in South Korea receive formal skills training. This is 80 percent in Japan, 75 percent in Germany and 68 percent in Britain.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in August 2008, outlined his vision for skill development in India, stating that experts have estimated that India has the capacity to create 500 million certified and skilled technicians by the year 2022.
Modi claimed that the central government has failed to take up skill development exercise in the country.
He said the centre has recognised the Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra project of the Gujarat government in 2013. This project imparts desired training at the door-step of the needy in rural areas and provides multi-skill opportunity.
Modi said that 35 percent of the Indian population is below 35 years old. "The world is now focussing on human resource and we also should focus on that."
"We cannot think in isolation. We have to set our priorities according to global requirement, so that we do not lag behind. That is the need of the hour."
He said development is the centre of gravity and where there is skilled manpower, development is bound to happen at that place. "Those states which will focus on skilled manpower will get more investments."
Talking about the school dropouts every year, Modi said once these young people are trained, "they will not beg or depend on government aid - they will live their life with respect".
He said proper training would help the unskilled labourers to produce quality products, which can be exported to earn more foreign exchange that will make rupee stronger.
The Gujarat government is celebrating this year as Youth Development Year.