Consider this contemporary scenario in India:
· 92% of Indian workforce is in non-formal unorganized sector. Of the 460mn total workforce in 2004-05, 56.8% were self-employed, 28.9% casual labour, and 14.3% on regular wages.
· In rural India, only 10.8% employed persons belong to regular wage/ salaried class; 45.7% are self employed, and 43.5% are casual labour.
· Cities contribute to more than 60% of national GDP, but between 93-94 and 04-05, the number of urban poor increase from 40 lakh to 8.1 crores.
· Over 25 crore rural population (45 million households) in the country remain locked in poverty. Govt of India estimates rural poverty ratio of about 42%.
· While the number of rural people living on less than Rs.50/-(US$1) a day decreased by 2.9 crores between 1981 and 2005, the number of rural people living on less than Rs.62.5 ($1.25) a day grew by 3.5 crore during the same period.
· According to NSSO 2000, about 44%of the workers were illiterate, and another 22.7% had schooling up to primary level.
· In the urban area, only about 19.6% of male and 11.2% of female workers possess “marketable skills” (e.g., masonry, mining, driving, bookbinding, carpentry, welding, electrical repair, basket making, etc.).
· In the rural areas, the percentage of workforce with marketable skills is even lower: about 10% for male and 6.3% for female.
· In some ways, the rural/urban classification is blurred, since rural and peri-urban populace migrates (seasonally or even daily) to urban areas.
· Only 2% of the workforce between 15-29 years receives any formal training, while another 8% receives non-formal training. Overall, only 9% of India’s workforce is technically trained.
· The entire capacity for job training (which itself is obsolete, with inadequate infrastructure, outdated courses, etc.) in the country is mere 3.1mn per annum, while every year 12.8mn new entrants join the workforce.
· It is estimated that organized sector will need at least 2 ½ times more technically trained manpower by 2022 than what is available today.
If India needs to leverage on, what is described as its “demographic dividends”, and become a really developed nation (and not a fractured country – aptly captured in the phrase “India vs. Bharat”), there is a need for very broad-based humungous efforts.
There are initiatives too (some emerging some at work since many decades), which aim to address these gaps, e.g.:
· National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) has set out with an agenda to cover 7 Crore BPL households, across 600 districts, 6000 blocks, 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats and 6 lakh villages in the country through self-managed Self Help Groups (SHGs) and federated institutions and support them for livelihoods collectives in a period of 8-10 years.
· NRLM also seeks to promote: "...promotion of innovation, social enterprise/ social entrepreneur and public, private and community partnership (PPCP) (for)... development of a new product or new model of service delivery to address challenges faced by the rural poor... Successful innovative ideas are then scaled-up using an enterprise approach i.e., social enterprise... for replication and scaling-up in the Mission districts and blocks."
· Recognizing this hurdle, in 2008-09, GOI’s National Skill Development Mission had endorsed a vision to create 500mn skilled workers by 2022.
· As an offshoot, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has taken the mandate to create 150mn technically trained manpower through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), and funding/ supporting social entrepreneurial ventures (about 80+ so far)
· … and of course, there have been so many impactful grassroot NGO/ social entrepreneurial initiatives since many decades who have made an impact in their served communities – and there is so much to learn from their experience…
That’s the rationale/ purpose of this conference!... to bring them all together on a same platform – To learn from the innovations and benchmarks, and to facilitate partnerships: