Both for domestic needs and global opportunities, skilled manpower demands are set to grow and India has indicated that it will do what can make it a hub of highly trained workforce who can stand the test of time and respected for quality output and performance
Skilled human resources are assets for any country and their importance grows, especially when that country sets an ambitious goal to become an economic power of the world. India is in the race to become a third major global economy after the US and China.

It aims to become a $5trillion economy by 2025 and $7 trillion economy by 2030. Without skilled and trained manpower who can handle advance technologies, it is very difficult to attain this economic feat. In fact, productivity is the key propeller of an economic growth and if it is linked with a technology-enabled innovation then that economy becomes highly competitive and dynamic too.

In view of this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stressed that workers in India should be skilled with the use of advance technologies and processes and said that skilling, re-skilling, and up-skilling are the mantras for the future workforce.

Under the 2023-24 budget, provision has been made to set up 30 Skill India International Centres across states to train youth and make them ready to grab international opportunities.

“On-job training, industry partnership, and alignment of courses with needs of industry will be emphasized. The scheme will also cover new-age courses for industry like coding AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills,” Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister said while presenting the 2023-24 budget on February 2.

It sounds promising, and clearly shows that Indian policy makers are getting to take into their grasp what is needed for the country to attain sustained high-level growth.

Shifts in labour market

Technology has a profound impact on the labour market. Automation and digital advances are shifting workers’ demand from low to middle-level skills to higher-level and more sophisticated analytical, technical, and managerial skills.

To keep the supply side of the labour market active and subsequently, propel the economy, it is needed that workers are equipped with higher-level skills that complement the new technologies.

With the greater use of AI and other high-end technologies to maximize the production activities, companies across the world prefer highly skilled workers.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, over the next five years, nearly a quarter of all jobs will change as a result of AI, digitization and other economic developments like the green energy transition and supply chain re-shoring.

Skilling ecosystem

To improve and streamline the skilling ecosystem in the country, the government has launched the National Skill Development Mission and the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Integration of vocational education with general education and mainstreaming of vocational education have been identified as the key reform in the education system of the country.

Periodic Labour Force Survey of Financial year 2021-22 shows that formal vocational and technical training among youth (age 15- 29 years) and the working population (age 15-59 years) have improved in FY21 over FY19 and FY20. The improvement in skills has been for males and females, both in rural and urban sectors, the Ministry of Finance said.

As per the reports of the fourth round of the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) (for Q4 FY22) in respect of establishments employing at least 10 workers in major nine sectors, 15.6% of estimated establishments imparted formal skill training and 20.5% imparted on-the-job training.

The health sector had the highest percentage of estimated establishments imparting formal skill training (24.7%) and on-the-job training (31.6%), followed by financial services (20.4%) of establishments imparting formal training and 26.4 % imparting on-the-job training), the Quarterly Employment Survey for Q4 FY22 said.

Role of Skill Indian Mission

Skilling, re-skilling, and up-skilling through short-term and long-term training programmes are the focus of the Skill Indian Mission. Under the Mission, the government, through more than 20 Central ministries and departments, is implementing various skill development schemes across the country.

The advocacy of the programmes is being done through print media, electronic media, and state governments’ campaigns. More and more areas are being aligned with the common framework spanning the skills ecosystem so that the outcomes of the government skilling programmes are uniform across the skilling ecosystem, the Ministry of Finance said.

Rise in higher education centres

To enable youth to get higher education, the number of universities in the country has increased from 723 in 2014 to 1,113 in 2023. There are 23 IITs, 25 Indian Institutes of Information Technologies and 20 Indian Institute of Management.

These institutions are playing a vital role in the development of the country’s quality educational ecosystem. These institutions’ focus on high-quality education, research and innovation has also helped India in positioning itself as a global player in various fields.

Global opportunities

India has signed comprehensive migration and mobility partnership agreements with a number of countries in the recent past. It has this pact with France, UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Cyprus, Austria, Portugal, Australia, Japan.

The pact has been linked with an aim to help citizens of India and these countries in working, studying, and doing research. It should be noted that these countries are experiencing skilled workers’ shortages due to ageing of their population and declining fertility rates.

This is what will provide skilled Indian youths an opportunity to find jobs in these countries. In this regard, the Young Professional Scheme that India and the UK are providing to each other country’s youth of the age between 18 and 30, holds high significance.

The YPS allows young professionals in both countries to work for a period of 24 months. As per media reports, since the last quarter of 2019, the UK has lost 408,000 individuals in the working age group who do not wish to return to work.

Similarly, the migration and mobility agreement with Germany allows Indian students to look for employment opportunities, 18 months after the completion of their study.


Technological transformation and innovation have brought about a huge change in the world. There is a huge demand for workers who have domain specific knowledge in the field of IT, innovation, and research. In days to come, such demands for specialised workers are expected to grow more and this is what several treaties signed by India with countries in Europe and Asia show.

***The writer is a Delhi-based journalist; views expressed here are her own