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India can be world's human resource capital: S Ramadorai, NSDA Chairman

Economic Times:  August, 2015

New Delhi: India has the potential to be the human resource capital of the world, said S Ramadorai, chairman of National Skills Development Agency. "We are a young nation. Given the population, we can service the needs of not only this country, but we can also be a source of employment abroad. We can be the service provider to the world," Ramadorai told Saumya Bhattacharya and Prachi Verma Dadhwal in a wide-ranging interview. Edited excerpts. 

What is the role of corporates in facilitating the skills ecosystem? Training providers often say companies are not coming forward with good salaries for the skilled workforce... 

When competition gets intense, corporates will realise that the differentiator is human capital. Where the quality, reliability and price points are right, you have to have workers with the right skills and give them right salaries. For instance, today the information technology industry pays its people well. Their salaries are revised regularly. Companies will start paying — it's only a matter of time. The winners will be those training providers who pick their spot in the demand-supply chain, and make supply so perfect that you have no reason to complain. 

Can you guarantee the quality of skilled workforce? Training providers should be able to give a guarantee on the employability of the people trained. Quality will determine the price. 

People are willing to pay a premium for quality. Training providers have to realise this and start giving world class quality. It is not easy; it is a journey. 

Is the onus of making the skills initiative work more on training providers than corporates? 

On both. It starts by mobilisation. You do not mobilise people who don't have an aptitude; it starts with aptitude. There are methods to test aptitudes of people. That's where the role of skills training at schools comes in. Then, training providers will provide right skills with teachers, curriculum, and delivery mechanism. Certification and assessment agencies are critical. 

Will there be a classification of training providers? 

There must be a classification for training providers for what they stand. The information of the skilled workforce is available through their Aadhar number, etc. It is easy to trace them and track their quality through their new employers. Their employers' feedback can help us track their performance and help classify these training providers. This will eventually lead to creation of labour market information system (LMIS), where tracing the quality of skilled workforce and the quality of training providers becomes easier. 

What are the immediate priorities for NSDA? 

National Skills Qualifications Framework and LMIS are our immediate priorities. Every occupation standard in their qualification pack must enter their qualification register so that any training provider can start training people to that standard.

What are the skilling targets? 

There are a lot of numbers floating around. Most satisfying will be if we say that 400 million people got jobs and we can trace everybody. Our true test is outcome in terms of how many get employed. A situation where more people are skilled/trained and fewer people get jobs, is not good. If the economy does not grow, there are fewer jobs. 

We want to teach people the ability to learn and unlearn quickly. Skills should not be limited to only one trade. What if the industry tanks? Every sector is cyclical in nature. It is the ability to adapt in different skills and sectors.