National skill development centers turn defunct after ministry audit
NEW DELHI,July8: Sunil Kumar last year put his life savings to start a skills training centre in Alwar, Rajasthan. The centre was inspected and approved in January. He also received an advance for the first batch of trainees. Mr Kumar was glad he had let himself be inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to train the youth and get them jobs. A few months down the line, he isn’t so sure any more. The owner of the training centre says the government stopped setting targets for his centre, and the money. “Now, I have no idea where this project is headed,” Mr Kumar told NDTV, worried that at this rate, “we will all be unemployed”.
His only consolation; he isn’t the only one. There are hundreds of such centres across India, which meet the criteria set by the government under the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Scheme but aren’t getting the targets, or the money. Most of these are in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Centres such as the one run by Mr Kumar are the collateral casualties in the government’s attempt to smoke out ghost training centres that got certificates from the National Skill Development Corporation to prove their existence. But remain invisible on the ground.
In an investigation done last week, NDTV was able locate such ghost centres.
One such centre is located 60 kilometres from the national capital in Greater Noida. On its website, the National Skill Development Corporation says the SPEJ center in Greater Noida has a target to train 480 students in beauty and hairdressing.
It doesn’t. What was meant to be a training centre in official records is a hostel for boys. The security guard confirmed this is all it was. “This is a boys’ hostel. No courses are taught here,” he said.
In Jaswantnagar town in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh, the government’s website lists a footwear design institute. When NDTV reached the address, it turned out to be wedding hall.
Officials at the skills development ministry said they were trying to weed out such centres from its list.
An internal audit by the ministry had indicated that nearly 7 per cent of all training centres funded by the government did not exist. Of those that did exist, one in five centres, or 21 per cent, did not have the basic equipment needed to impart skills training. An equal proportion did not have a placement cell to help the young pass-outs get a job.
Officials say it was the Quality Council of India that appeared to have slipped up; the body responsible for the inspections and accreditation of all skill India training centres across the country.