Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as CM Naveen Patnaik claimed that 'skilled in Odisha' is fast emerging as a global brand, the reality check done recently by Wheebox finds Odisha nowhere in the top-10 states with the highest employability in country.

As per the India Skill Report (ISR) 2020, Odisha failed to make it into the top-10 states with highest employability in the country. Employability means workforce joining jobs market that can get readily absorbed in the industries as per their skill requirement.

Despite Bhubaneswar having topped the Smart city ranking list, failed to find an entry to the coveted top-10 cities with maximum employability in the country.

In contrast, Mangalore, a major port city in Karnataka, which was allotted 13th rank in the same Smart Cities list, figured as the 7th city nationally having high employable population.

Such damning findings have surfaced in the India Skills Report (ISR)-2020 released recently. The report is documented by Wheebox, India’s leading online talent assessment company, PeopleStrong, India’s leading HR solutions and technology company, CII, Pearson, World’s learning company, AICTE and Association of Indian Universities (AIU).

In order to check the employability skill, the institutions conducted a WEST (Wheebox Employability Skill Test) and India Intent Hiring survey across 28 States and 9 UTs covering three lakh students, 150 employers to assess ground situation of employability, employment in country. The survey and WEST were conducted during July – November 2019.

Significantly, when Odisha government has been betting big on skill development, the ISR 2020 has not ranked Odisha, even, in the top-10 in the index of talent availability.

Assessing availability of skilled in subjects like Business Communication, Numerical, Critical Thinking and Computer skills, Odisha couldn't register it's presence in the top-10 states despite State’s skilling mission is led by noted expert Subroto Bagchi.

Interestingly, Odisha's neighbour, West Bengal, topped the skill availability chart in the arena of computer skills. A backward state like Rajasthan has been ranked 2nd in computer skills.

Is 'Skilled-in-Odisha' a mere slogan? As per Wheebox yardstick, the higher the skilled youths trained in State's skill development institutes under the flagship  scheme of Prandhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) get a placement in Special Projects, the better is the employability index.

A reality check tells the tale. In Odisha, a total of 4,896 were enrolled for Special Projects, 4,268 received orientation, of which only 2,774 passed.  The placement number count stood at mere 374. The placement rate is mere 13 per cent. Moreover, in the short-term training under PMKVY, the placement rate in Odisha stood at around 54 per cent in 2019-20.

While Special Projects under PMKVY envisages creation of a platform that facilitates trainings in special areas and/or premises of Government bodies, Corporates or Industry bodies, and trainings in special job roles not defined under the available Qualification Packs (QPs)/National Occupational Standards (NOSs), Short-term training is meant to benefit candidates who are either school/college dropouts or unemployed. Apart from providing training according to the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), training in Soft Skills, Entrepreneurship, Financial and Digital Literacy were also imparted.

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