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Setting target of 10 Mn apprenticeship in 10 years

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Employment/ Government intervention in various sectors.


Source: Economic Times

Direction: Certain sectors such as Health, Education, and Skilling is always on the radar of UPSC. Have a ready note prepared for them. For this article, know key stats, key reasons and a few government programmes.


Context: As per a study, doubling the number of apprentices from 5 lakh to 10 lakh per year, and setting an initial target of 10 million apprentices in ten years, is a crucial step in bridging the skill gap.


An apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experiences. It may involve on-the-job along with part-time classroom study.


Current status:

  • India currently has only 5 lakh apprentices, which constitutes 0.11% of the pool of apprentices worldwide.
  • Unemployment rate in India was 3.3% (2020-21)- with the youth unemployment rate at 12.9%
  • Formal training in India remains low at less than 4% (In South Korea, more than 90% are formally trained)

Reasons for low apprenticeships:

  • Complex labour and regulatory requirements for firms who hire apprentices
  • In India, academic education (theoretical) is preferred over vocational training (practical)
  • Significant mismatch between what the world of work needs and what youth knows
  • Apprentices are seen as the source of cheap labour and enjoy inadequate protections.
  • Lack of information and matching of skillset for the employee as well as employer
  • Government sector lacks behind g., of 339 Central PSUs, only 150 engage apprentices.


Government efforts:

  • National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 (strongly focuses on apprenticeship as a means to provide gainful employment)
  • Apprentice Protsahan Yojna (Government reimburses the cost of basic training of apprentices)
  • National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS) (1-year apprenticeship programme, under the Ministry of Education)
  • National Employability through Apprenticeship Program (a PPP programme to hire 2 lakh apprentices every year for the next 10 years, under the Ministry of Skill Development)
    • It also releases Apprenticeship Outlook Report
  • National Apprenticeship Mela (support hiring of more than one lakh apprentices)
  • SHREYAS (scheme for higher education youth in apprenticeship and skill)
  • YuWaah Youth Skilling Initiative
  • Apprentices Act, 1961(regulates training of apprentices in the industry)


What should be done?

  • New employer-led training manual to impart need-based skills
  • Change in pedagogy and curriculum in universities
  • Better skilling governance
  • As per the study if each MSME engages only one apprentice, still India will have 25 lakh



With these reforms, India will not only ramp up our apprenticeship adoption but will also be closer to what is already happening in Europe, China, and Japan – countries that have pioneered apprenticeships over the decade.

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Mains Links

Q. Apprenticeships could be the real key to Skill India’s success as they could help business firms raise productivity in several ways. Discuss. (250 words)


Prelims Link

Know basic few data on unemployment and a few flagship schemes (and their ministry), but not all the schemes are important.

With reference to Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2018)

    1. It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
    2. It, among other things will also impart training in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy.
    3. It aims to align the competencies of the unregulated workforce of the country to the National Skill Qualification Framework.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, and 3

Answer C

PMKVY is implemented by the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) under the guidance of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The last two statements are correct.