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National Skill Development Initiative In India: A Legal Perspective

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on February 3, 2024


The National Skill Development Initiative in India, when viewed through a legal lens, stands as a pivotal force in shaping the dynamics of the country’s workforce. Envisioned under the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM)[1] and approved by the Union Cabinet in 2015[2], this initiative aims to bridge the gap between skill supply and industry demand. Its roots trace back to the year 2009[3] with the establishment of this Initiative, signaling a commitment to providing vocational training and skill development to the vast youth population of India to compete in the global market.

Skill India Campaign:

At the heart of this initiative is the Campaign, launched in 2015, serving as a vehicle for training and employment opportunities for the country’s youth. It advocates entrepreneurship, innovation, and skill development across diverse industries.

The seven sub-missions[4] under the NSDM serve as the foundational pillars for achieving the broader objectives of the Mission:

  • Institutional Training;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Convergence;
  • Trainers;
  • Overseas Employment;
  • Sustainable Livelihoods; and
  • Leveraging Public Infrastructure.  

Institutional Mechanism:

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)[5] leads the Skill India initiative. The institutional mechanism with respect to NSDM is structured with a Governing Council, Steering Committee, and Mission Directorate, each playing a crucial role in policy guidance and implementation. Supporting the Mission Directorate, are three institutions:

  • National Skill Development Agency (NSDA),
  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), and
  • Directorate General of Training (DGT).

This collaboration ensures a streamlined approach to activities related to development of skills, amongst others.


The objectives of the NSDM are comprehensive, focusing on, amongst others:

  • Implementing the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)[6] to provide both long-term and short-term training, aligning industry demand with a skilled workforce.
  • Re-skilling and up-skilling for unorganized sectors, ensuring high-quality training standards, and supporting weaker sections through outreach programs.
  • Enabling seamless transitions between vocational training and formal education, backed by a credit transfer system.

Labour Market Information System (Lmis):

A cornerstone of the NSDM is the Labour Market Information System (LMIS), a national database facilitating the matching of demand and supply of skilled workforce. Acting as a portal for citizens to access information on skilling initiatives, it also monitors the performance of ongoing skill development programs across Indian states. This integrated approach enhances transparency and efficiency.

Government Initiatives:

Several government initiatives further propel the Skill India mission[7], which include, amongst others:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) offers free skill training.
  • Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) focuses on improving the performance of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs).
  • The Skill Saathi Counseling Program sensitizes youth on various avenues under Skill India.
  • SANKALP, a World Bank-assisted scheme, concentrates on district-level skilling ecosystems.

Environmental Sustainability:

A notable recent addition to the legal framework is a heightened focus on environmental sustainability within skill development programs, such as Green Skill Development Programme[8]. The initiative recognizes the importance of aligning skills with sustainable practices. Legal provisions now emphasize incorporating eco-friendly practices and green skills into training modules, creating a workforce that is not only skilled but also environmentally conscious.

Recent Updates:

A recent update to the initiative includes the establishment of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), state-of-the-art Model Training Centres designed to set benchmarks for competency-based skill development. The focus is on expanding and modernizing the existing Long-Term Training ecosystem in India and collaborating with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to introduce high-quality skill programs for school students- signifying a forward-looking approach, recognizing that the journey of skill development begins early.


While this initiative has made significant strides, several challenges highlight areas that require ongoing attention and strategic planning to ensure its success in encouraging a skilled and adaptable workforce:

  • Mismatch with Industry Demands:

Potential mismatch between the skills imparted through the initiative and the actual demands of the rapidly evolving industries.

  • Quality of Training Programs:

Concerns exist about the consistency and quality of training programs, raising questions about the effectiveness of skill development in preparing individuals for real-world encounters.

  • Regional Disparities:

Uneven distribution of skill development opportunities, with urban areas often having better access to training facilities than their rural counterparts.

  • Adequacy of Legal Safeguards:

Ensuring sufficient legal safeguards to protect the rights and interests of those undergoing skill development programs, particularly in addressing issues of fair wages, workplace safety, and quality assurance.

  • Participation from Private Sector:

Encouraging active involvement from the private sector in skill development initiatives, with concerns about sustainability and long-term engagement.

  • Limited Focus on Emerging Technologies:

As industries shift towards technology-driven landscapes, ensuring that skill development initiatives keep pace with emerging technologies and provide training relevant to the digital era is crucial.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation:

The effectiveness of the initiative is contingent on robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Challenges in implementing these systems can hinder the accurate assessment of the impact of skill development programs.

  • Funding Constraints:

Adequate funding impacting the scalability and sustainability of the initiative. Limited financial resources can constrain the reach and quality of skill development programs.


This initiative in India serves as a legal beacon, guiding the nation towards a future where skills align with industry needs. Through a robust institutional mechanism, comprehensive objectives, and strategic initiatives, this program stands as a testament to India’s commitment to empowering its youth and building a skilled workforce. It is not just about policies; it is about igniting dreams and building a nation where every skill finds its rightful place. So, the next time you hear “Skill India,” do not just think of training centers and job placements. Think of the aspirations of millions whose lives are being transformed with every skill they acquire.









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