India has the potential to account for one-fourth of the overall workforce across the world by 2022, President Pratibha Patil said on Thursday.
"Through a planned investment in skill development, the country holds the potential to account for a fourth of the global workforce by 2022, when India will mark 75 years of its independence," Patil told a joint sitting of Parliament.
Emphasising that the UPA government has put in place coordinated action for skill development, she said, "A National Council for Skill Development to synergise public and private streams for skill development and a National Skill Development Corporation to promote private sector led action have also been set up."
Patil pointed out that the setting up of the IITs in early decades of the country's independence has "led to India's emergence as the global power in software development by the end of the century." She said the government has undertaken a second wave of investment in higher education through creation of eight new IITs, seven IIMs, five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research and 15 central universities.
India is currently estimated to have a total workforce of 500 million, which is expected to grow by 20 million every year over the next 10 years.
Patil said India is a "nation of young people" and the country's youth can be made employable by investing in skill development. "India's demographic dividends can be realised only if the country invests in developing skills to make our youths employable," she said.
Her address marked the start of Parliament session in the new year, the last for the 14th Lok Sabha.
Last year the central government had constituted the Prime Minster's National Council for Skill Development to guide activities for skill development in the country. The apex body is chaired by Prime Minster Manmohan Singh and the ministers of human resource development, finance, heavy industry and public enterprises among others. The NCSD board assists the apex body for coordinated action for skill development in the public and private sectors.
Reiterating that the UPA government has been focusing on knowledge-investment she said investments in knowledge sector has grown four-fold in the 11th Plan (2007-12)."India sees knowledge as the strategic resource that will give it leadership and this investment will serve that purpose," Patil said. "To attract and retain talents in institutions of higher learning, my government has radically restructured the pay scales of teachers in universities," she added.