Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 440
A Critical Review of Apprenticeship Policy of India
Malini L Tantri
Apprenticeship systems contribute significantly to the enhancement of required job skills and thereby leading to higher productivity and economic growth. India stands to significantly gain on this count given the presence of a large share of population in the working age group leading to demographic dividend. India, however, has a substantially lower number of apprentices and a large labour force compared with other countries. According to one estimate a mere 0.1% of the formal labour force is involved in apprenticeship compared to 4% in other countries. Against this background, this paper explores the reasons for a poor performance of apprenticeship policy in India through critically evaluating the policy and highlight structural problems that exist in the formulation and implementation of the policy itself. The analysis so carried out helped us to argue that there is a need to put in place short-term as well as long term measures. In the short term, there is a need to understand the working of the scheme by sectors and regions by putting in place institutional arrangements to collect robust statistical data, the data so collected will help understand the potential number of apprentices who can be absorbed in the industry/work establishments given the current mandatory requirement to compulsorily engage apprentices to the tune of 2.5 percent to 10 percent of the total workforce of the establishment. In the long run, there is a need to effectively implement these schemes to obtain the desired results by first creating awareness both in the rural and urban areas, incentivise industry to participate in apprenticeship policy; involve key actors in the formation and implementation of apprenticeship policy. There is considerable amount of success in apprentice systems both with in India and internationally, the state can make good progress by suitably adapting the feasible options rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel.