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Home arrow News arrow Education and training arrow FICCI calls for tax breaks to empower Private Industrial Training Centers
FICCI calls for tax breaks to empower Private Industrial Training Centers Print E-mail
Written by Ganesh   
Tuesday, 19 August 2008

FICCI urges National Skill Development Corp. to address their problems

NEW DELHI: FICCI has recommended a multi-pronged package of measures to tide over the shortage of skills that threatens to trip the growth momentum of the economy.

The FICCI strategy calls for a four-fold approach. One, grant of fiscal incentives to modernise and scale up private sector managed Industrial Training Centres (ITC); two, creation of opportunities for ITI pass-outs to graduate to diploma and degree holders; three, restructuring of employment exchanges to offer training, counselling,  employment, and employee referral services; and four, treatment of trainees at par with regular workers and training of trainers for vocational courses offered at the plus 2 stage.

FICCI wants private ITCs to be empowered through the proposed National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). FICCI strongly believes that to give an impetus to the skill-training programme in the country government should take measures to also empower the private sector managed industrial training centres (ITCs). These training institutions, which number over 3200, have been set up by and are completely managed by the private sector.

To give a boost to the capacity of the private sector to scale up and modernise these institutions, the government should offer fiscal support in the form of a ten year tax holiday, excise waiver for purchase of training equipment and machinery, funding for training the trainers for these institutions etc.

The proposed National Skill Development Corporation should also actively take up the cause of private sector managed ITCs and draw up a plan to strengthen this important segment of skill building in the country. FICCI feels that private sector run ITCs can prove to be a strong catalyst for skill formation and an important conduit to attain the national goal of developing an adequately skilled manpower.

FICCI is of the view that government should also address the critical issue of lack of opportunities for upward mobility in the education ladder for ITI pass-outs. Under the present scheme of things, ITI pass-outs find it difficult to upgrade their qualification to diploma and degree level.

The ITI qualification is not linked to other (higher / lateral) educational streams. Government should address this issue, as this would go a long way in enabling ITI pass-outs to improve their career prospects.

Another issue, which FICCI feels is important for the government to address in this context, is the restructuring of the employment exchanges. The employment exchanges in different parts of the country currently function as a mere referral centre. These need to undergo a complete makeover. FICCI suggests that employment exchanges in the country be remodelled on the pattern of Taiwanese employment exchanges, which effectively under one roof offer training services, counselling services, employment testing services and employee referral services.

Finally, the provisions of the Apprenticeship Act, 1961, do not help in mainstreaming the apprentices and create a psychological barrier in the absorption of apprentices in industries. In India, the legislation does not allow the companies to treat apprentices at par with workers. However, international experience shows that wherever trainees are engaged at par with full time workers, not only is the productivity of such trainees much higher but also they seamlessly get absorbed in the companies they intern with. A case in point is Switzerland where the productivity and contribution of trainees has been found to be as high as 75% of those of the regular workers. FICCI therefore suggest that suitable amendments be made in the regulations so that apprentices can be treated at par with regular workers in India.

FICCI is already engaged in the process of training the trainers in the field of healthcare sciences that is offered as a vocation at the plus 2 stage in CBSE affiliated schools. FICCI through the engagement of its member hospitals has jointly with CBSE freshly designed the course curriculum for the hospital science programme. Further, FICCI’s members, such as Apollo, Fortis, Max, Dharamshila Hospital, would offer 14-week practical training to students who take up this vocational programme at the school level. FICCI is further committed to develop 10 more such vocations/trades.

FICCI has called for fresh thinking on improving the quality and capacity of vocational education and training.

FICCI has recommended the following:

1  Strengthen private sector participation in management of institutions and in course design. Today, private sector participation is largely ‘advisory’ in nature. This needs to be changed and the private sector should get more operational autonomy in managing the affairs of the institutions they have developed association with.

2  Strengthen the general education part of the training programmes. Students should be imparted education in subjects such as social sciences, sciences and commerce. Further, topics on soft skills and life skills should be included in the syllabus of all the trades.

3  The testing and certification norms should be strengthened and brought in line with the global standards so that students passing out of Indian vocational education institutions are eligible to gain employment even overseas.

4  Financial incentives to management could be used as a tool to bring about improvement in the working of vocational training institutions. In other words, state funding of institutions should be based on certain performance metrics and how institutions deliver on these over time.

5  The vocational education stream should be promoted as an important channel for shaping one’s career by the government. The current perception amongst students of limited opportunities available after undergoing vocational training should be changed through a focused marketing effort. A nation-wide programme describing the availability and usefulness of these programmes must be launched.

6  Proper coordination between different agencies and departments of the government responsible for managing and administering vocational educational programmes should be ensured. This would avoid duplication in efforts as well as bring in transparency in the system.

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