Current Affairs - Labor & Employment

Parliamentary Committee Urges Stringent Oversight of ESIC

Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour has called for enhanced monitoring of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to ensure broader social security coverage for workers.

Key Points

  • Reviewing ESIS Provisions for Better Coverage: The committee has advocated a review of Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) provisions concerning coverage, contributions, wage entitlements, and wage limits.
  • Concerns about Implementation of Social Security Plan: It called for proactive measures, including extensive surveys, data collection, and the use of Aadhaar for identification, to be taken urgently.
  • Addressing Manpower and Infrastructure Shortages: Considering manpower shortages and inadequate infrastructure in ESIC facilities, the panel urges the government to fill vacancies in hospitals and dispensaries.
  • Optimizing ESIC Investments: The ESIC had approved an initial investment starting at 5%, gradually increasing to 15% in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

'Skills on Wheels' Initiative

On 17th September, 2023, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Lok Sabha Speaker inaugurated the 'Skills on Wheels' initiative in Delhi.

Key Points

  • Awareness Generation: The initiative aims to raise awareness about the government's skill development mission and the available opportunities and support systems for young individuals.
  • Promoting Digital Literacy: It also focuses on promoting digital literacy and digital skills, aligning with India's global efforts in this area.
  • Rajasthan Outreach: The initiative will begin its journey by visiting villages in Rajasthan and subsequently expand to other parts of the country.
  • Mission to Reach Youth: The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, along with the National Skill Development Corporation, initiated 'Skill on Wheels' or Kaushal Rath and Skillathon to spread awareness about the Skill Mission.

Vishwakarma Scheme to Support Traditional Crafts Launched

On 17th September, 2023, India’s Prime Minister launched the Rs 13,000-crore PM Vishwakarma Yojana for traditional artisans

Key Points

  • Fully Funded by the Centre: PM Vishwakarma scheme, aimed at supporting traditional artisans, receives complete funding from the Central government.
  • Free Registration via Biometric Portal: Traditional artisans, known as 'Vishwakarmas,' can register free of charge through the PM Vishwakarma portal, facilitated by Common Services Centres.
  • Comprehensive Benefits: Registered Vishwakarmas will gain recognition through the issuance of PM Vishwakarma certificates and ID cards.
  • The scheme offers skill enhancement opportunities, encompassing both basic and advanced training.
  • Artisans receive a toolkit incentive of Rs. 15,000.
  • Collateral-free credit support is extended, providing up to Rs. 1 lakh (first tranche) and Rs. 2 lakh (second tranche) at a highly favourable interest rate of 5%.
  • Additional incentives are provided for digital transactions and marketing support.
  • Covering 18 Traditional Crafts: PM Vishwakarma Yojana encompasses a wide range of 18 traditional crafts, including carpentry, boat making, blacksmithing, goldsmithing, and more.

Union Minister Launches Skill India Digital Platform

On 13th September, 2023, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched Skill India Digital (SID), a comprehensive digital platform aimed at transforming India's skills, education, employment, and entrepreneurship landscape.

Key Points:

  • Digital Public Infrastructure for Skilling: Skill India Digital (SID) is envisioned as the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for skilling, education, employment, and entrepreneurship in India.
  • It is designed to enhance accessibility, innovation, and personalization in skill development, focusing on digital technology and Industry 4.0 skills.
  • Alignment with G20 Framework: SID aligns with the G20 framework for building DPIs and promoting digital skills and literacy.
  • Objectives: The platform aims to enhance user-friendliness, support multiple Indian languages, offer Aadhaar-based eKYC for secure access, and ensure compatibility with various devices, including smartphones.
  • Comprehensive Skilling Ecosystem: It serves as a comprehensive information gateway for government skilling and entrepreneurship initiatives, making it a one-stop hub for career advancement and lifelong learning.

Government Falls Short of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana Employment Targets

The Indian government has not been able to meet its employment generation goals in the formal sector under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), launched in 2020 during the pandemic.

Key Points:

  • Enrollment Figures below Target: According to the latest government data, as of July 22, 2023, enrolments under ABRY reached 6.04 million.
  • While this exceeded the initial target of 5.85 million, it fell short of the revised target of generating 7.18 million jobs under the scheme.
  • Disbursement: Disbursements under the ABRY scheme are significantly behind the target. The government has spent Rs. 9,663.82 crore, which is only 42.3% of the initially targeted expenditure of Rs. 22,810 crore for the entire scheme period, according to the latest data.
  • Beneficiary Trends: Government data indicates that the number of beneficiaries under the scheme were 1.29 million in 2020-21, 4.19 million in 2021-22, around 540,000 in 2022-23, and 9,082 until July 18, 2023. Reimbursements for these years amounted to Rs. 351.07 crore, Rs. 4,046.35 crore, Rs. 4,593.04 crore, and Rs. 649.9 crore, respectively.
  • State Contributions: The top 10 states in creating formal employment under ABRY include Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh.

About the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

  • The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) was introduced to stimulate employment growth within the formal sector.
  • This initiative aims to encourage the creation of fresh job opportunities during the economic recovery phase following the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.
  • Objectives: The primary objective of ABRY is to stimulate the establishment of new employment opportunities during the economic recovery phase prompted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Beneficiaries under the Scheme

  • Newly hired employees in establishments registered with the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), with monthly earnings below Rs. 15,000.
  • EPF members, drawing a monthly wage below Rs. 15,000, who exited from employment during the Covid-19 pandemic period, ranging from March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
  • Individuals who secured new employment positions on or after October 1, 2020.

Government's Contribution

  • The Central Government extends a subsidy for two years for eligible employees engaged on or after October 1, 2020, according to the following scale:
    • Establishments with a workforce of up to 1000 employees: Covering both Employee’s contributions (12% of wages) and Employer’s contributions (12% of wages), summing up to 24% of wages.
    • Establishments employing more than 1000 employees: Only the Employee’s EPF contributions (12% of EPF wages) are covered.

Duration of the Scheme: The ABRY scheme remained operational until June 30, 2021, marking the last date for enrolment.

Issues and Challenges Associated with ABRY

  • Enrolment and Job Creation Shortfalls: Enrolment figures indicate lower participation among eligible employees compared to initial expectations.
  • Disbursement Delays: The disbursement of benefits under the scheme has fallen short of the predetermined targets, with only about 42% of the originally planned expenditure utilized to date.
  • Limited Impact on Employment Generation: The scheme's outcomes suggest that it has not been as effective in generating employment as initially envisioned.
  • Complex Eligibility Criteria: The complexity of the eligibility criteria has led to confusion among eligible employees, employers, and implementing agencies.
  • Geographical Disparities: The concentration of beneficiaries in specific states highlights geographical disparities in employment generation.
  • Inadequate Promotion: Limited awareness and promotion efforts for the scheme may be contributing to the lower enrolment figures.

DGT Partners with AWS India to Enhance Skilling Programs

The Directorate General of Training (DGT), under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), is joining forces with Amazon Web Services (AWS) India to upskill students in cloud computing, data annotation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

Key Points:

  • Collaboration for Upskilling: The collaboration aims to boost students' capabilities and employability, benefiting those enrolled in DGT institutions, including about 15,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 33 National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) across India.
  • Self-Paced Online Learning Programs: AWS India will provide individuals with self-paced online learning programs in emerging technologies at no cost.
  • The learning content will be available on DGT's Bharat Skills platform, which is a central repository of updated curriculum, course content, question banks, and learning videos for various skill training schemes.
  • Importance of Emerging Technologies: The initiative will provide training on high-demand, emerging technologies to students, creating new opportunities and enhancing their employability.
  • The collaboration with AWS will empower faculty members to deliver better learning outcomes.
  • AWS India's Contribution: AWS India will support training the faculty in cloud computing, data annotation, AI, and ML.
  • AWS will also provide ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum to nominated education institutions under DGT, preparing students for industry-recognized certifications and in-demand cloud jobs.

SERB – POWER (Promoting Opportunities For Women In Exploratory Research)

  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology has launched a Scheme named -SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research).
  • SERB is a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology, GOI, established by an Act of the Parliament of India in 2009 (SERB ACT, 2008).

About the Scheme

  • The Scheme is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants.

SERB-POWER Fellowship

  • Targets - Women researchers in 35-55 years of age with a limit of up-to 25 Fellowships per year and not more than 75 at any point in time.
  • Fellowship – Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income; Research grant of Rs. 10 lakh per annum; and Overhead of Rs. 90,000/- per annum.
  • Duration - Three years, without the possibility of extension once in a career.

SERB- POWER Research Grants

  • This will empower women researchers by funding them under the following two categories:
    • Level I (Applicants from IITs, IISERs, IISc, NITs, Central Universities, and National Labs of Central Government Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 60 lakhs for three years.
    • Level II (Applicants from State Universities / Colleges and Private Academic Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 30 lakhs for three years.


  • The program is formulated to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D Laboratories.
  • SERB - POWER is specially designed to provide structured effort toward enhanced diversity in research to ensure equal access and weighted opportunities for Indian women scientists engaged in research and development activities.
  • It will empower women scientists and cultivate women friendly culture in our academic and research institutions and ensure more women in leadership positions in decision making bodies.

NITI Aayog Launches Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • On 4th October, 2019, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed among NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to mark the launch of Youth Co:Lab programme.
  • AIM and UNDP, as United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF), are collaborating to spread awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Youth Co:Lab.


  • The programme aims to accelerate social entrepreneurship and innovation among young entrepreneurs.

About the Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • The programme will provide young entrepreneurs and innovators a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
  • The initiative will also convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.
  • Focus Points- The first phase of Youth Co:Lab will focus on 6 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
    • SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
    • SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)
    • SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
    • SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)
    • SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production)
    • SDG 13 (Climate Action)
  • Under the programme, young people in the age group of 18-29 years and start-ups will be invited to showcase their proposed ideas and solutions to tackle some of the region’s biggest social challenges.


  • The efforts of UNDP and NITI Aayog will be directed at supporting young people with an emphasis on the following overarching priorities: catalysing youth innovation, empowering young people through technology, fostering youth inclusion, promoting youth leadership, and promoting social entrepreneurship.
  • Youth entrepreneurship has immense potential benefits and harnessing and utilizing in right direction will help to create huge employment opportunities, leading to better and sustainable development of the country.

Youth Co:Lab

  • Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, it is a multi-dimensional and multi-level response to tackle the challenges young people face, by positioning them front and centre to find solutions to today’s most pressing problems.


  • To establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, social entrepreneurship.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

  • AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) is a flagship initiative by NITI Aayog to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.


  • To serve as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.


  • Entrepreneurship Promotion: through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation Promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

AIM has adopted a holistic framework in the achievement of its objectives:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): to promote creative, innovative mind set in schools
  • Atal Incubators Centres (AIC): to promote entrepreneurship in universities and industry
  • Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges: to promote specific product innovations with social / economic impact
  • Mentors of Change: to mentor students at ATL and AIC Incubators / Startups

United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)

  • In September, 2018, NITI Aayog and United Nations in India signed the Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022, aimed towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The UNSDF outlines the development cooperation strategy between the Government of India and the United Nations Country Team in India, in support of the achievement of India’s key national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Focus Areas: poverty and urbanization; health, water, and sanitation; education; nutrition and food security; climate change, clean energy, and disaster resilience; skilling, entrepreneurship, and job creation; and gender equality and youth development.


  • Development for All: The UNSDF is underpinned by the overarching principle of the SDGs to leave no one behind, echoing the Government of India’s message of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (development for all). It will help to to accelerate the pace towards building a New India by 2022, an India that is free of poverty and equal for all.
  • Development of Low-Income States: It targets the seven low-income states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP), the North-East region, and the aspirational districts identified by the NITI Aayog.
  • Development of Vulnerable Sections: Work will focus on improving the lives of the most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable communities and people in the country, especially women and girls.

Government Initiatives to Promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), it is a Skill Certification Scheme to enable a large number of Indian youth to >take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)

  • Launched by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, it aims for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. It focuses to build an innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem with an objective of socio-economic development through wealth and job creation.

Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE) Scheme

  • It aims to assist Institutions of Higher learning to strengthen their Technology Incubation Centres and thus enable young entrepreneurs to b companies for commercial exploitation of technologies developed by them.
  • TIDE 2.0 provides financial and technical support to incubators engaged in supporting ICT startups using emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, Block-chain, Robotics in seven pre-identified areas of societal relevance.

Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, it provide to set up a network of technology centers, incubation centres to accelerate entrepreneurship and also to promote start-ups for innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and agriculture based industry .
  • Objectives
    • Create new jobs and reduce unemployment
    • Promote entrepreneurship culture in India
    • Facilitate innovative business solution

Way Forward

  • Entrepreneurs play an important role in the economic development of a country. Successful entrepreneurs innovate, bring new products and concepts to the market, improve market efficiency, build wealth, create jobs, and enhance economic growth.
  • While supporting young firms in technology and other new-age innovative sectors is important, India also needs to develop an ecosystem that encourages innovation at more mature enterprises across the industrial spectrum- across the existing manufacturing, export, and rural and <social enterprise sector, in order to give a fillip to the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

NISHTHA: World’s Largest Teacher’s Training Programme Launched

  • On 21st August, 2019, Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry launched the Integrated Teachers Training Programme, National Initiative for School Head’s and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA).
  • This training programme has been included as one of the two transformative ideas from this Department for the 100 days programme of the Government.


  • It aims to build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of the school at the elementary level in all government school, faculty members of state councils of Educational Research and Training and other educational departments of all States and Union Territories.

Salient Features of NISHTHA

  • Activity Based Modules: The prominent features of this integrated programme are activity based modules including educational games and quizzes, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism, online monitoring and support system, training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training).
  • Standard Training Modules: The initiative is first of its kind wherein standardized training modules are developed at national level for all States and UTs.
  • Comprehensive Training Resources: The training will be conducted directly by 33120 Key Resource Persons (KRPs) and State Resource Persons (SRP) identified by the State and UTs, who will in turn be trained by 120 National Resource Persons identified from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Non-Government Organisations.
  • Integrated with Technology: It has been integrated with technology to ensure smooth facilitation, availability of digital content and technology enabled teaching methods to support the teachers. A Mobile App and Learning Management System (LMS) based on MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) have been developed by NCERT. LMS will be used for registration of Resource Persons and Teachers, dissemination of resources, training gap and impact analysis, monitoring, mentoring and measuring the progress online.
  • Post Training Interventions: In order to ensure sustainable impact on classroom transactions, this integrated training programme is embedded with post training interventions including provision of mentoring. After the completion of KRP training, National Resource Persons will regularly be in touch with KRPs and will form Quality Circles that will work to share ideas, challenges and their solutions and best practices. This will help in building pedagogical skills and connecting with peers, thereby leading to improvement in learning outcomes of the students.


  • It will motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students, handle diverse situations and act as first level counsellors.
  • It will help to upgrade their skills and ensure that they are trained in the best way. Teachers at elementary level will be able to acquire scientific temperament and knowledge of other important educational aspects and transfer it to students.
  • Teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning and Testing, Learner-centered Pedagogy, School Safety and Security, Personal-social qualities, Inclusive Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching-learning including Artificial Intelligence, etc.

Textile Ministry To Impart Skill Training Under Samarth Scheme

  • On 14th August, 2019, Ministry of Textiles in a meeting, decided to impart skill training to 4 lakh people in 18 states under the Samarth - Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS).
  • However, the ministry signed MoU with only 16 states as Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha, did not participate in the meeting. The 16 states are- Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Karnataka,Manipur, Haryana, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

Key Points

  • The programme covers the entire value chain of the textiles sector such as apparel and garments, knitwear, metal handicraft, handloom, textiles, handicraft and carpet except spinning and weaving.
  • The training programme involves advanced technology oriented features like Aadhaar Based Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS), CCTV recording, dedicated Call Centre, Mobile App based Management Information System and on-line monitoring.
  • After the training, employment will be provided to all these beneficiaries in various textiles related activities.
  • Those who are not employed by the industry may get additional benefits provided by financial services under Mudra scheme(It is to be noted that about three-fourths of workers in the textiles sector are women and 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the Mudra loan are women).
  • North Eastern States must be given focus on silk and jute sector. 

Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)

  • Also known as Samarth, the scheme was started in 2017, in order to meet the skill gap in the textile industry and to ensure steady supply of skilled manpower (total 10.00 lakh persons - 9 lakhs in organised& 1 lakh in traditional sector) for the entire value chain of textile except spinning andweaving in the organized sector, for a period of three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.


  • To skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector.


  • To provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textile, excluding Spinning and Weaving.
  • To promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute.
  • To enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self-employment to all sections of the society across the country.

Impact of the Decision

In India, there is huge potential of employment generation in the textiles sector. This initiative will help the ministry to extend its support to the state agency and make them equal partners for building the spirit of national development to boost the textiles sector as well as the workforce involved in it.

Challenges Faced by the Textile Industry

  • Large Amount of Unskilled Labour: Though Industry has cheap manpower but mostly they are unskilled this makes them less productive comparative to other south Asian countries.
  • Poor Infrastructure: Outdated technological and low degree of modernization in various steps of value chain affects badly the quality, cost and distribution which results in failures to meet global standards in the highly competitive export market. Though India is a hub of IT services, they are not effectively implemented in textile sector to improve the productivity.
  • High Power Tariff:Power cost is the most significant cost in the whole supply chain. High power cost and erratic supply hampers the production in India.
  • Low Capital Investment: Lack of scale and the fragmented nature of industry have discouraged mega investments in the Indian textile industry. Unattractiveness of the industry has resulted in low FDI inflows, despite 100% FDI being allowed under the automatic route. These drawbacks created a hurdle to make industry more competitive on the global basis.
  • Strict Tax Norms: The strict and changing government policies at the state and central government levels pose a major challenge to the textile industry. The tax structure GST (Goods and Service Tax) makes the garments expensive.
  • Strict Competition from Neighbouring Countries:There is fierce competition from China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the low price garment market. Besides, in the global market tariff and non-tariff barrierscoupled with quota is posing major challenge to the Indian textileIndustry.
  • Social Issues: Social issues like child labor, safety of women and personal safety norms are also some of the challenges for the textile industry in India.

Way Forward

  • Despite availability of raw material, textile industry could not be promoted in many parts of the country because of its competitive structure with decentralized small scale industries.
  • The Indian textile industry requires support from both the Central and State governments to become competitive in the global market. The Skill India and Make-in India program of Central government is helping the industry in getting required skilled manpower and good market for textile products.
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