Cabinet to take decision on forming National Skill Development Authority today
The Cabinet will take up for approval on Thursday the proposal to set up the National Skill Development Authority, a permanent body proposed as "attached office" of the Planning Commission that will be the main agency driving the Centre's skill development programme.
The National Skill Development Authority, an important component of the UPA government's "achievements", is tasked with ensuring that the target of training 50 million people during the Twelfth Plan period is met. The government would like to institutionalise a new approach to skills development in its penultimate Budget before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The finance ministry, however, has questioned the idea of a central authority, suggesting that the proposed structure has weaknesses. It has argued that the current system of individual ministries piloting their skill development programmes and defending them before the Expenditure Finance Committee is preferable since it is the ministry's domain knowledge, and the vetting process ensures that there is clarity of purpose and that the scheme will achieve stated goals.
The ministry has argued that line ministries work in close co-ordination with states to implement the scheme, and it would not be feasible for the Authority to achieve the same level of co-ordination.
The ministries of human resource development and labour, which manage most of the skill development programmes, too have questioned the need for this centralised body. They have suggested that the Authority will lead to duplication of efforts.
The Planning Commission, which is piloting the proposal, has stressed that the proposed Authority will only co-ordinate and synergise the current efforts by the ministries. The Authority is expected to oversee, support and speed up existing skill development efforts of the central government and state-level skill development missions. It will lay down strategies, financing and governing models to expedite skill development activities, and harmonise standards.