Converting MPLADS to a skilling programme, as Milind Deora suggests, is an idea whose time has come
Milind Deora, the minister of state for communications and IT, has got the right idea. As an MP, he is besieged with requests for jobs, but finds it impossible to get his voters a job. Indeed, as our top edit points out, getting jobs in the non-agricultural sector is going to become even more difficult in the years ahead—the economy simply isn’t creating enough such jobs and, to the extent it is, a large part of the educated workforce simply isn’t equipped to take on the jobs.
Which is where Deora’s idea comes in. Every MP, he has written to the Prime Minister, is given R5 crore a year under the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). While the scheme is meant to better infrastructure, this invariably runs into problems in terms of executing the project. Why not, he says, allow the MPLADS funds to be used for skilling, thereby creating a body of workers that is equipped to meet industry’s needs in the years to come. An easy solution would be to marry MPLADS with the existing National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which is currently tasked with doing precisely this. A more sensible solution is to plug the gap in the NSDC programme, which is that industry simply doesn’t pay enough to NSDC-skilled trainees, thereby removing the incentive for skilling. It would be a good idea to use MPLADS funds to augment the salaries in the first few years of those getting skilling from NSDC, making it a win-win for all concerned.