Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment in which it operates. As per the Companies Act 2013, corporates are required to spend at least 2% of their profits every year on CSR. Skill development is fast emerging as one of the most preferred choices for CSR initiatives in India. CSR funding in education and skill development areas have increased by around 50% from Rs. 2073 crore in FY 2015-2016 to reach Rs. 3,121 crore in FY 2017-2018 - roughly accounting for one third of the total CSR money spent in the country.
Why do companies invest in skill development programme?
India enjoys a demographic dividend where more than 50% of its population is in a working age group. This unique demographic feature presents an opportunity for India to enhance its growth as well as source skilled manpower to the rest of the world. According to a report by the World Bank, it is estimated that during the next 20 years the labour force in the industrial world is expected to decline by 4% while in India it will increase by 32%. Hence a skilled and young population might make India a global sourcing hub for manpower.
Shormi Roy Choudhury, Head, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, Tech Mahindra Foundation, informed BE, “We have witnessed that industrial jobs are shrinking in India due to automation and other reasons and general education alone is unable to make the youth employable. So skill development becomes crucial to make the youth employable. The CSR mandate acts as a win-win opportunity for companies to invest in skilling as they create a wide-ranging impact and sustainability for their stakeholders. Organisations are realising that skilling the workforce in various sectors would catalyse their expansion goals.”
How are CSR funds used for skill development?
Organisations invest in different skill development programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility. There are two ways by which CSR funds are used; some organisations directly skill the youth by establishing their training centres while some donate funds to NGOs to run various skill development programmes. In an interview given to a media house, Manish Kumar, MD and CEO, National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) explained how CSR funds are invested in various skill development programmes. He said, “Our wide network of training partners across India accelerates the implementation of CSR initiatives by numerous public sector units and corporates, who intend to contribute towards the Skill India Programme. The CSR team at NSDC regularly engages with stakeholders, practitioners and industry experts at various forums. Every project starts with a needs analysis that involves inputs from all parties involved. The skill training at the grass root level is carried out by our training partners.”
Is skill development making the youth employable?
The Skill India movement was introduced with the objective to ensure sustainable employment to the youth. The purpose of the movement would not be fulfilled unless the youth are made employable. Roy Choudhury added, “Of course, the skill development programmes are helping the youth to get employment. The most important thing of such a programme is that it allows a student to focus on his field of interest, get the required training and be placed accordingly. We always give utmost attention to the quality of the training and the proper development of our students. Almost 70-75% of our students from different courses get placed after the completion of the course.”
When we take a look at the national scenario, we find that skill development has helped hundreds of thousands of students to get placed. According to the Annual Report of NSDC 2017-2018, approximately 30 lakh candidates were enrolled for training across sectors under Short Term Training (STT), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and special projects of the scheme. Over 23 lakhs candidates completed the training and more than 4.5 lakh candidates were placed with various leading industry players. Out of the placed, around 55% are women. The scheme also lays emphasis on skilling for social inclusion as 56% of candidates belonged to tribal and backward classes, 22% belonged to minorities and over 14,000 seats were allocated to people with disabilities.