Sulagna Chattopadhyay
Geography and You, New Delhi.

Better skills would lead to better employability, and better employability would make better business and better business would help India transition into a nation of affluence, reaping its demographic dividend. The equation seems simple enough, only the schema has barely kick started—as data in this issue reveals.

The nation grows larger and more unwieldy in the meantime, with cracks and chasms deepening in an effort to uphold the cause of varied and at times opposed entities. For a nation as diverse as India, employment, or at least level playing access to it could have served as a binding force, especially for the impressionable youth. However, skill development is understood as a piecemeal mish-mash of odd trainings that have to be opted for outside the education system. Moreover, skill development is deeply linked with dignity of labour. Correct me if I am wrong, but is there a masonry or carpentry award constituted by the Indian government to reward best practices? When there are no aspirational formulations in skill, how would one expect a huge turnaround in workforce.

Because, a young chap is just so very aware of how useful he can be in a particular occupation, and because India believes in laissez-faire, and because there can be no guidance or option extended for career selection, let alone mandatory internships, the nation continues to rollout skilling dreams. Yes, the need to skill India is not a recent revelation—but a newly dedicated ministry brought with it some excitement, an entity I remain quizzical about rooting.

What if we had schools offering vocational training from the outset, to serve as an incubation ground? Here students could access worksheds where state-of-the-art technical skills were offered along with a regular curriculum. This could also serve as an aptitude checker to lead to better utilisation of a huge workforce, a wealth that we are presently squandering. But, strengthening of schools and the education system seems to be the last priority of the Indian  political system.

Happy reading.