Laxmi Capital News
Rs3.54b spent on skill development largely 'a waste'

 Developmentprojects and programs are suffering a skilled-manpower crunch, according toseveral reports on the periodic plans of the National Planning Commission. Atthe same time, the country is exporting labor hugely, mostly  unskilledlabor. This, however, does not mean that the country is not spending on theproduction of skilled hands through skill development programs andtrainings. 

The government alone spent Rs3.54 billion for this purpose last year through 228 programs and projectsacross the country, according to data from the Financial Comptroller GeneralOffice (FCGO). This budget was meant to be spent partly  on  awareness programs and workshops. However, some government officials believethis to be a waste of money, pointing out that  the skill developmentprograms  lost their rationale long ago. 

Fourteen different programs andprojects under the Ministry of Industry spent Rs 636 million for impartingskills. The ministry is top spender in this category. The Ministry of Women,Children and Social Welfare ranked second, spending  Rs 540 millionthrough eight different programs and projects. 

Likewise, the Ministry of Healthand Population and the Ministry of Agricultural Development spent Rs 435 and Rs353 million respectively for the same purpose. Integrated spending records for2015/16 and earlier are not available, according to FCGO. And according toa report of the National Planning Commission, such spending was Rs 2 billion in2009/10. A short pilot study of this kind of spending by at least a dozenentities  found that the skill development programs and trainings werecarried out only on paper.  The study was carried out  by the NPC in 2009.

“The spending is a complete wastebut it has been continuing since several years,” said labor expert GaneshGurung, who was  a member of the NPC from 2009 to 2010. “The payment billsfor the activities under such training programs showed that the budget was usedto pay for travel by the chiefs and other officials,” he explained. The study,albeit a small one,  did not find a single training program producingskilled manpower, according to Gurung. 

Following the report, the NPC hadtabled a proposal at the cabinet to stop the entire program immediately andinstead initiate a pilot project under which youths could choose any trainingthey are interested in, with the government footing  the bill. Thetraining itself would be  imparted by both government and private parties,using a screening process. “We had proposed to pay Rs 50,000 for one youth participating in the skill-based training, but our plan was turned downby cabinet ministers who said it cannot distribute resources proportionately toall the districts,” said Gurung. 

Every review report on thegovernment's periodic plans singles out  lack of skilled manpower as oneof the key factors in the failure to achieve set targets. But neither has thegovernment  bothered to  rationalize the spending nor has any effortbeen made to produce skilled manpower within the country. 

The government has spent Rs 3.54billion on skill development and awareness training and workshops. Officials ofthe Ministry of Finance (MoF) also admit that this spending has been losingvalue. “We know that  there is duplication in training programs by differentagencies as well as in trainings conducted in a scattered way, and theeffectiveness has not  yet been formally measured  ,” said BaikunthaAryal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Finance. 

Gopi Krishna Khanal, jointsecretary at the Ministry of Industry, claimed that the skill developmentprograms they run via the Department of Cottage and Small Industries nationwideare effective and have imparted skills to  youths for becomingself-employed. The department has been conducting training in making herbal soaps,sewing bags, paper handicrafts and many more. 

Source: MyRepublica, 17thDecember, 2017

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