Dr Pankaj Kumar Pandey
Project Director, Uttarakhand Skill Development Mission
Uttarakhand is focussing on start-ups and entrepreneurship so that the youth can start activities in and around their hometown, which will also slow down migration, Pandey explains.
The north Indian state of Uttarakhand might be young in number but certainly not far behind in a national mission. Establishing world-class training and skilling infrastructures in the state and exchanging ideas from the right European counterparts have been a game changing tactic for the state. In an interview with Biz@India, Dr Pankaj Kumar Pandey, project director, Uttarakhand Skill Development Mission (UKSDM), talks about the most crucial steps taken and the aspirations of the state to position itself as a state that takes skill development seriously.
What are the major focus areas for skill development in your state? What sectors are best suited for your state and the youth there?
The major focus areas for skill development in Uttarakhand are Health, Tourism, Hospitality, Beauty & Wellness, Security, IT and Agriculture. As Uttarakhand has a high literacy rate due to which youth in the State aspire for jobs in service sector. The best suited sectors are Health, Tourism & Hospitality and Beauty & Wellness sector.
What scope do you see for collaboration with European in this? What kind of activities have already been undertaken in this regard?
The European nations have distinct advantages in well defined courses, better technical advancement, and highly skilled workers. The youth have the potential, which needs to be realised and utilised by training as per industries’ requirement. The UKSDM is looking forward to collaborating with industries and training providers that can help the state in establishing world class training infrastructure and placement facilities. This infrastructure will also help the state with assessors and certifiers, which can certify the skills assessed as per global standard to make the youth employable in the global market.
UKSDM has already signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) who are working towards attaining global standards in skilling and also following Skill Qualification Framework Pattern. The UKSDM is in touch with British Council to understand global skilling ecosystem and will be signing MoU with Europe India Foundation for Excellence (EIFE) for increasing prospects of skill development in the state.
What are the main challenges that the state faces today and how can international/European experts and training companies help in this regard?
More than 65 pc of Uttarakhand is covered with forest and is mostly a hilly terrain, agricultural activities are non-remunerative and there are almost no industries on the hills. Because of this, the rate of migration is high. In these conditions service industry can be a major prospect for employment. The educated youth can be skilled as per requirement of global employers.
We want to invite international training providers and global employers to help us in upgrading the skills of our youth and getting them placed.
What are your objectives in the Global Skill Development Meet 2017 and what kind of takeaways are you looking for?
UKSDM would like to collaborate with industries and training providers specialising in Health, Hospitality, Beauty and Wellness, Security, etc. UKSDM would also like to study trends in global market regarding the kind of skills in demand so that the youth in India can be trained to meet international standards.
What are the recent trends and targets of Uttarakhand in terms of economic development?
Uttarakhand is one of the fastest growing states in India. The state is situated in the foothills of Himalayas. The presence of several hill stations, wildlife parks, pilgrimage places and trekking routes make Uttarakhand an attractive tourist destination.
Between 2004-05 and 2015-16, Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) expanded at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.03 pc to USD 28.37 billion whereas the Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) expanded at a CAGR of 15.34 pc to USD 23.89 billion.
The state is focusing on service sector and finds it prospective for economic growth. The state is focusing on start-ups and entrepreneurship so that the youth can start activities in and around the home town, which will slow down migration. The new industrial policy of the state helps the youth in setting up small and medium enterprises and the UKSDM is offering training in manufacturing, capital goods and similar sectors.