Skill Development: Chuck the thick manuals!

The formation of the National Skill Development Mission has necessitated the need to re-examine the need for skill development in relation to rural livelihood in Manipur. This is felt more in a state like Manipur where the challenge is emanating from the demographic dividend, rural and urban set up.

BySanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Updated on 3 Jan 2022, 8:15 am

(Representational Image: Unsplash)

(Representational Image: Unsplash)


Mahatma Gandhi’s statement “If Indian villages is developed the nation is developed” stands true even today. India is an agrarian society where more than 70 per cent of the population is living in rural area. The rural population mainly depends on agriculture and associated sectors of agriculture for their livelihood. The ability of the individuals in any society is necessity to vest them for social alteration, economic growth, contribution in development process. Therefore, a nation progressing towards development requires institutions, entrepreneurship and skill development to initiate and achieve the course of change and changing societal structure and livelihood profiles. India is rich in human resource. What is needed now is a long-term policy for development of human resources through education, training, skill development, empowerment and creation of congenial socio-economic, institutional and political environment for the fullest possible utilization of the vast untapped reservoir of human power and ingenuity.

Skill development for sustainable livelihood for the youth

In order to promote self-employment among the rural youth, the Government of India has taken a two-pronged approach viz: enabling skill development and implementation of direct employment programmes for lower skilled individuals. To create an institutional base for skill development in India, in 2009, the government launched the National Skill Development Policy (NSDP) with a target for skilling 500 million people by 2020. With the creation of National Skill Development agency (NSDA) in June 2013, the NCSD, NSDCB and Office of Advisor to Prime Minister on skill development have now been subsumed in NSDA. Ministry of Labour and Employment has taken a number of initiatives in the field of skill development and employment. In earlier days, most of the rural youths are comfortable with seasonal plantation jobs, no specified skill and education was needed; besides parents do not want to send youth to far-off urban and semi-urban areas for livelihood. But recent trends showed youth were attracted to skill development for their livelihood. Public-Private partnership (PPP) model for skill development of unemployed rural youth is very much needed. Based on this PPP model skill development for rural youth in various skill developments will improve self-employment, then more employment opportunity will enhance sustainable livelihood among the rural youth in Manipur too.

Rural poverty alleviation programme

The  National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) was launched by the Ministry of Rural development (MoRD), Government of India in June 2011. The mandate of the Ministry is rural poverty alleviation through programmes directly targeted poor household. The major programs of this ministry that directly targeted for creation of assets, skill development and self-employment started with Integrated Rural Development Programmes (IRDP) in the year 1980 and induced several other programmes like the Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Development of Women and Children in Rural Area (DWCRA), Supply of improve Tools to Rural Artisans (SITRA), Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY).

On account of the multiplicity of programmes, which were viewed as separate programmes in themselves, the desire linkage among these were not established effectively. These were more concerned with achieving individual programme targets rather than focusing on the substantive issue of sustainable income generation. Based on the recommendation of planning Commission, the schemes of TRYSEM, SITRA, GKY and DWCRA were merged into a single self-employment program called Swamjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), implemented by the state Government. These self-employment programmes aimed at work opportunity for rural special focus on poverty alleviation.

Implementation of National Rural Livelihood Mission poor in Manipur

In case of Manipur, implementation of National Rural Livelihood Mission is very complicated. More than 90 per cent of Manipur is the rural hilly areas while out of nine per cent valley area, majority are considered as urban area. The hilly area covers 20,082 sq km and centrally located valley covers about 2,238 sq.km, accounting for only one-tenth of the total area of the state. The tribal groups are distributed in all the 10 hill districts of Manipur. Scattered pockets are also found in the valley and urban areas. The oval shape small valley area is the targeted place for all section of the people in the state for any purpose. Thus, for effective implementation of rural livelihood Mission, youth centered skill training was one of the options.

Manipur government initiative must focus on the young population

The Manipur Society for Skill Development (MSSD) is an initiative of the government of Manipur under the National Skill Development Corporation and the State Skill Development Mission (SSDM) to enable youths to be skilled and to get employment opportunities in a holistic manner. The mission aims at youths to be trained in various skill as per their capabilities and merit to make employable.

About 40 per cent of populations in Manipur are in the age group of 15-29 years. They can act as agent of transformation, by being empowered with various employable skills which will enable them to make impact not only on their lives but also on the lives of other individuals.

The recently approved Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikash Yojana (PMKVY), a flagship scheme for imparting skill training to youths, focusing on improved curricula, better pedagogy and trained instructors. The training includes soft skills, personal grooming, and behavioral change at all. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Skill India Mission on July 15, 2015, on World Skill Day. It is aimed at providing vocational training to youth across the country to over 40.02 crore people in the country by 2022.

The formation of the National Skill Development Mission has necessitated the need to re-examine the need for skill development in relation to rural livelihood in Manipur. This is felt more in a state like Manipur where the challenge is emanating from the demographic dividend, rural and urban set up. As of 2016-17, youth unemployment (for the age group 15-35 years) in Manipur stood at nearly 40 per cent.  Skill development can, therefore, be seen as the need of the hour for promoting rural livelihood in Manipur. Manipur has one of the highest numbers of unemployment in India which mostly belongs to youth in the age group of 15-29 years.

Hindrances to accessing skill training in rural Manipur

Although youth have the zeal to do something new and innovative but due to lack of training opportunity, lack of  skill, financial support they become frustrated and therefore sometimes indulged in consumption of drugs or join insurgent groups. Nearly seven lakhs are seeking jobs in Manipur of which, mostly belong to the age group of 15-29 years. Higher number of unemployed is found matriculate group with 33.365, closely followed by under matric with 31.08 per cent. Intermediate or class XII account for 18.82%, graduate 2.96%, post graduate 2.28, diploma or Engineering graduate with 1.5%. The highest number of unemployment (matric and under matric) implies that youths belong to the highest number of unemployment.

Absence of professional training institution is one of the hindrances to accessing skill training in rural Manipur. The success of skill entrepreneurship and vocational training depends on hard and soft skills and content of the course. Thus improving self-employment opportunities through skill development is the need of the hour. To promote sustainable livelihood through skill development, the rural youth need practicable updated knowledge rather than some traditional training with dull lectures or thick manuals.

(The views expressed is personal)

First published:3 Jan 2022, 8:15 am


Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Faculty, JCRE Global College, Imphal, Manipur. The writer can be reached at sjugeshwor7@gmail.com

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