Ministry of Skill Development has constituted Sharada Prasad Committee to Review the Functioning of Sector Skill Councils.
In order to ensure convergence and optimal functioning of SSCs as per mandate given under the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, it was decided to constitute a committee on SSCs.
It’s objective was to “review the functioning of the SSCs so as to ensure rationalization & Optimization of the Functioning of the Sector Skill Councils”.
What are Sector Skill Councils (SSCs)?
SSCs are industry led and industry governed bodies
Their task is to:
To ensure that skill development efforts being made are in accordance with the actual needs of the industry and
To develop National Occupational Standards and Qualification Packs (QPs).
Presently, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has approved formation of 40 SSCs in different Sectors.
Key findings made by the committee
Crony capitalism: The committee has termed these councils a ‘hotbed of crony capitalism’ who are trying to ‘extract maximum benefit from public funds.’
Conflict of interests: It has cited several instances of conflict of interest in the councils’ membership base, including those involving three NSDC board members
NSDF: It also said that the governance of the National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) is flawed.
The NSDF is required to oversee the work of NSDC. But Board of trustees of the NSDF consists of three members, one of which is chairman of NSDC. Now how can the supervisory body consist of head of the supervised body as a member?
NSDF was set up in 2009 to raise funds from both non-government entities and government.
Key recommendations made by the committee
Centre should scrap the existing 40 skill councils, many of which have overlapping roles. These should be replaced by just 21 councils in accordance with the national industrial classification of different sectors.
Government should review the NSDC’s role and functioning comprehensively.
Government should also introduce an oversight mechanism on the NSDC to ensure that such conflicts of interest do not arise in future. This mechanism should be preferably from the central bank, as it is registered as a non-banking finance company.
The Chairman of NSDC should be excluded from NSDF.