Interview with Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Mr. Rajiv Pratap Rudy
i-Connect | Interview – Captain Rajiv Pratap Rudy
- Government of India has been focusing a lot on Start up growth in But the year 2016 saw a drop of 67 per cent in the number of startups founded. Where, according to you, the gap lies and what is the ministry doing to bridge the gap?
We need to realize that Government push, alone, cannot revolutionize the entire start-up ecosystem. Economy, people and the ecosystem play their important role in this overall framework. One important thing is the right perspective towards entrepreneurship among youth. Our Ministry is trying to address that by providing entrepreneurship education among college, school & ITI students. We have integrated entrepreneurship education across our training institutions so that students interested in self-employment can take it forward post their training. This is an on-going process.
2. Going forward, what kind of a relationship would you visualize between the Skill Development Ministry and other ministries and departments such as AICTE to create a holistic skill ecosystem?
Convergence of all skill development schemes and associated Departments/Institutions is critical to ensure a holistic, outcome oriented approach towards skill development. This would not only enable a consolidated and well thought skill development program but also avoid duplicity of beneficiaries and other leakages that might creep in because of the missing linkages among Departments.
On the partnership front, we have been able to enter MoUs with various Ministries/Departments to undertake course alignment, training standardization, and sector specific skill development initiatives.
We are also considering entering into some arrangement with AICTE and other institutions of MHRD such as CBSE to provide an academic equivalence of 10th/12th to our ITI students and offer a vertical academic pathway post ITI.
3. Skill Development and Entrepreneurship are domains that cut across the functional areas of several ministries. How do you see the role of your ministry evolving under these circumstances?
I think I have addressed a major part of this question in my previous answer. Ofcourse, several Ministries/Departments are undertaking skill development programs, we may see some sort of convergence happening in the future.
As far as my Ministry is concerned, our role is very clearly defined. Be it training, infrastructure development, training of trainers, standardization, or the overall capacity building, our Ministry has taken concrete deliverable steps in all directions.
4. Government has opened up incubation centers in various Management Schools across the country. What are the expectations from these in the long run and how are they functioning at the moment?
I may not be able to address this question in its entirety as my Ministry doesn’t direct engage with management schools under any institutional framework. But as per my understanding, idea and innovation are key to incubation, and as early as we realize this and work towards it, we will start achieving results.
Further, Entrepreneurship for me is not a delivery of product or running a company, it’s a way of life. I am sure that these incubation centres imbibe this feeling and motivation to the people. I wish they work on people as much as they work on product and profits.
My Ministry, in particular, is working with schools and colleges to provide entrepreneurship education across the country under a scheme – Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana. We have also partnered with various B-Schools under this scheme to achieve our mission. We are also working on coming out with a hand- holding policy for budding entrepreneurs in the country.
For us, the focus is more on our sector specific trained students and to get them self employed through information support, assistance in financials through MUDRA Loan, and help him/her start something in his/her locally.
5. North East is considered to be a hub of traditional skills in handicrafts and Bamboo works. It has seen a decline in the number of artisans and
craftsmen due to livelihood issues. Do you agree? If yes, how does the ministry attempt to tackle this disturbing trend?
Not only North East, I believe the entire country is witnessing livelihood issues through traditional skills. We need to understand one important thing. There would always be a trade-off between human resource employment and technology. Today, we have power looms operating everywhere, producing a cheaper product and people are happy buying it. Ofcourse this grossly affects the traditional handloom industry.
As far MSDE is concerned, one very important thing that we have undertaken is the Recognition of Prior Learning i.e. assessing and certifying already existing workforce. What it provides is an official and nationally recognized certification to all these artisans, weavers, craftspersons etc. so that they have an identity to their skills.
6. Entrepreneurship leading to start ups require an eco system of which skills is but one component. The other essential requirements are finance, infrastructure, and backward and forward linkage. Do you think that GOI should formulate a holistic plan instead of focusing on only one component that is skill development?
I won’t agree with this completely. Government of India is focusing on all important issues through the Start-Up India campaign and other facilitation opportunities; although, yes, these issues are presently being addressed by different Ministries/Departments. My Ministry takes care of the relevant skills and entrepreneurship education; M/o Commerce and Industry handles the Start-Up India campaign; NITI Aayog also has a couple of schemes such as SETU and Atal Innovation Mission, promoting entrepreneurship; M/o Finance is helping youth entrepreneurs through MUDRA.
So, the Government is completely focused on all issues but ofcourse the same could happen through the concerned Ministries, specializing in that particular policy domain.
7. Enterprises in order to be considered start-ups and secure tax and other benefits have to be enlisted first. Could you shed some light to the B- school fraternity on what is the process for the same?
I am sorry but taxation and registration of start-ups is something that is out of the ambit of my Ministry and I would not be able to do justice with this particular question.