Skill Development and sustainable livelihoods

Skill development is an important area of focus for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in India. Here are some key points about skill development and CSR in India:

  1. Importance: Skill development is a critical component of economic growth and job creation in India. CSR initiatives focused on skill development can help to address the skills gap in the Indian workforce and improve the employability of individuals, particularly those from marginalized communities.
  2. Focus areas: CSR initiatives focused on skill development can be targeted towards a range of industries and job roles, including manufacturing, IT, healthcare, and hospitality. They can also be targeted towards specific groups, such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
  3. Programs: CSR initiatives focused on skill development can take various forms, such as vocational training programs, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship training. These programs can be implemented by NGOs or in partnership with government agencies and educational institutions.
  4. Evaluation: It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of skill development programs to ensure that they are meeting their objectives and making a positive impact. Evaluation can include measuring the number of individuals trained, their employment outcomes, and the quality of the training provided.
  5. Collaboration: Collaboration between companies, NGOs, and government agencies is important for successful skill development initiatives. Partnerships can help to leverage resources and expertise, and ensure that the programs are tailored to the needs of the community.
  6. Reporting: Companies are required to report on their CSR activities in their annual report, including details of their skill development initiatives. Reporting should include information on the number of individuals trained, the types of training provided, and the outcomes of the program.

Overall, skill development is a key area of focus for CSR initiatives in India. By addressing the skills gap in the Indian workforce, these initiatives can contribute to economic growth, job creation, and social development.

Skill development finds a place in Schedule VII which prescribes areas for CSR programs of companies that are under the ambit of mandatory CSR provisions as per Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013. Also, some other prescribed activities under this Schedule are directly or indirectly connected with skilling. It needs to be stated that a good number of companies have prioritized skill building under their CSR agenda of late.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute , India needs to boost its rate of employment growth and create 90 million non-farm jobs between 2023 and 2030 in order to increase productivity and economic growth. The net employment rate needs to grow by 1.5% per annum from 2023 to 2030 to achieve 8-8.5% GDP growth during this period. India’s current account deficit (CAD), primarily driven by an increase in the trade deficit, stood at 1.2% of GDP in 2021-22.

Why is skill development necessary?

The importance of skilling in India was understood only in the last 2 decades or so and became a national agenda with the Skill India Mission getting widely publicized. Alongside this, the Companies Act of 2013 mandated that corporations spend on social causes as defined by the Act. the surge of capital for skilling in India thus was high and consistent.

After nearly 15 years of experimentation with different models, the country is still trying to find solutions to have an impact at scale. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) , based on current trends, India is staring at 29 million unskilled youth by 2030. Accenture predicts a loss to the tune of $1.97 trillion in the next 10 years as an outcome with agility and scale. 

Considered one of the most important factors of job creation, it helps in avoiding bottlenecks and ceilings to growth. With globalization, knowledge, and competition being intensified, there is a constant demand for a skilled workforce in the market for better socio-economic development. 

The criticality of a skilled workforce in India can be registered in a twofold manner:

  • Demographic point of view:  India has a unique demographic advantage with more than 60% of the population being in the young age group. But in order to get dividends from such a large workforce, employability has to be improved.

  • Macroeconomic point of view: high rates of employment will influence the development of sectoral growth and ultimately increase the GDP of India

Skilling ecosystem in India

Investment in trainers: industry-led certifications carry a lot of weight when it comes to trainers. In our past projects, we have hired trainers who were certified by the Sector Skill Councils under the NSDC. The trainers play an important role in amplifying the success rates of the placement of youth.  

What are the major challenges faced by the youth of India?

  • The public perception views skilling as the last option meant for those who have not been able to progress/have opted out of the formal academic system.

  • Multiplicity in assessment and certification systems leads to inconsistent outcomes and causes confusion among employers.

  • The paucity of trainers, and the inability to attract practitioners from the industry as faculty.

  • A mismatch between demand and supply at the sectoral and spatial levels.

  • Limited mobility between skill and higher education programs and vocational education.

  • Very low coverage of apprenticeship programs.

  • Narrow and often obsolete skill curricula.

  • Declining labor force participation rate of women.

  • Pre-dominant non-farm, unorganized sector employment with low productivity but no premium for skilling.

  • Non-inclusion of entrepreneurship in the formal education system.

  • Lack of mentorship and adequate access to finance for startups.

  • The inadequate impetus to innovation-driven entrepreneurship.

  • Lack of assured wage premium for skilled people.

  • According to the UN’s Gender Snapshot Report 2022 ,

    • In 2020, women held less than 1 in every 3 managerial positions (28.3%). Only 47 of the 151 countries and areas with data have reached over 40% representation. At current rates, parity will not be achieved for more than 140 years.

    • Women hold only 2 in every 10 science, engineering, and information and communication technology jobs globally.

    • In 2022, women held only 26.4% of Parliamentary seats globally. In 23 countries, representation was below 10%. At the current pace of progress, parity will not be achieved until 2062. 

    • By the end of 2022, around 383 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day) compared to 368 million men and boys.

    • Moving forward, progress on SDG 5 will remain out of reach unless long-term structural barriers to gender equality, including discriminatory norms, laws, and practices are addressed and dismantled. 



Our intervention in enhancing skill capacity:-

With education and skill development emerging as the most preferred form of CSR activity, there is an influx of strategic contributions to capacity building and community development through partnerships, collaborations, and outsourcing of CSR activities. The increased awareness of employment and entrepreneurship has resulted in the need for upskilling.


Aligned with our beliefs in an inclusive and sustainable workforce, our experience in implementing CSR projects dates back to the year 2007. With our on-ground team of over 15 professionals, we approach the projects in a holistic manner, collecting on-ground data, analyzing the trends, and assessing the needs of particular sectors. Below is the methodology we execute for our solution and result-oriented projects:

  • CSR Policy Formulation Advisory: identification of the problems, geographical area, and the number and nature of stakeholders with requisite fieldwork. 

  • Need/Baseline Assessment:- it is a crucial element in the formative stage of the research and provides information on the situation the project aims to change. Here, quantitative data is collected for certain chosen areas/indicators with extensive fieldwork, surveys, and official statistics, and a case for intervention is created. 

  • Project Conceptualisation: it is a shared vision and purpose which would be translated into action plans. It comprises outcomes and objectives to be attained at different levels of implementation and also includes timelines to formalize commitments. A detailed, step-by-step procedure is mentioned below:

    • Analysis of the current trends, and situations.

    • Setting aims and objectives with a focused and uniform approach. 

    • Giving details of desired outcomes in the respective areas. 

    • Expected expenditure and required budgetary allocations.

    • Identification of the beneficiaries and their problems.

  • Field-level Project Implementation: once the plan is devised, this stage puts the plan into action to produce deliverables. During this phase, the project manager establishes how closely a team is meeting the project objectives, making necessary changes and keeping the project on track. The on-ground team works in coordination with the project manager thus, establishing a clear line of communication to avoid any discrepancies.

    • Since skill development comprises various areas ranging from vocational and on-job training to higher education, each project needs to have an approach that best appeals to the beneficiaries. 

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and CSR Reporting

    • Monitoring: this step involves tracking the project implementation, progress toward the project goals, and external factors which may or may not be relevant to the campaign.

    • Evaluation: it brings together the monitoring data and findings from external/additional research to assess the effectiveness of the project. It is a time-bound and specific intervention usually carried out at the end of major completions of the project. It helps in determining the accomplishment of the objectives and makes a case for whether the project is feasible or not. 

    • CSR Reporting: this module can vary from sector to sector and has a very specific purpose to serve. The functions carried out in such reporting are

      • Mobilization: door-to-door identification, pamphlet distribution, and display of banners in public places.

      • Counseling and selection of candidates: brief about the industry, explaining roles and responsibilities to be handled at the different stages of the tenure of the jobs

      • Documentation and enrolment of candidates

      • Initiation of training

        • Regular sessions

        • Guest sessions

      • On-job training

      • Assessment: monthly and final

        • Every month, tests will be conducted to assess the regular performance of the trainees. 

      • Certification for the completion of the coursework. 

      • Placement & Support for entrepreneurship Development 

      • Post Placement Tracking 

  • Social Audit and Impact Assessment: 

    • Social Audit: It is a technique to understand, measure, verify, report on and improve the social performance of the organization. After the implementation of the project, regular social audits at defined intervals are carried out to assess the periodic progress of the project. Usually quarterly, it helps in making the necessary changes that may be required in the event of non-performance of the project or its objectives. Some of the key objectives of social audits are:

      • Assess the physical and financial gaps between needs and resources

      • Increasing the effectiveness of the project by making the required changes

      • Updating the project guidelines in the event of new laws or regulations.

      • Constant analysis of the indicators to avoid any deviation from the targeted deliverables. 

    • Impact Assessment: 

      • It is used to identify and manage the social impact of certain projects. It is a holistic approach to assessing the impacts associated with plans, policies, projects, and other developments on the stakeholders, beneficiaries, and the community.

      • The social effects of planned development interventions are measured so those interventions can be tweaked according to the needs and contingencies of the society, community, or even a locality where the projects are implemented.

      • Such assessments can be carried out for different purposes- social, environmental, and economic. 

      • It also has a utility as a comparative analysis with the Baseline Assessment to assess the progress made; before and after the intervention. 

    • Endline assessment: The end-line assessment is an ongoing process to ensure the sustainability of trainee and industry needs matching. We will continue working on process improvements of the project, outcome of the project, feedback from industry and trained women in the sector, placement of trained women in the Sector, and socio-economic benefit of trained women’s families


Our commitment to skilling in India is based on the broader theme of increased employability, inclusivity and livelihoods. Numerous initiatives have been put in place to realize this aim. Working in a result-oriented approach, with a dedicated team of over 35 people covering the states of Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi, we ensure that training and skilling are not compromised in any manner and that it does not prove to be counterproductive to the hiring companies. We aspire to dominate the integrated Global Value Chain (GVC) with a skilled workforce. 

The development of skills can contribute to structural transformation and economic growth of a country helping it to be more competitive. Investment in a high-quality workforce can help in a prosperous cycle of employability and productivity where relevant and quality skills enable productivity growth and foreign direct investment, which result in more and better jobs for the current workforce and more public and private investment in education and training systems.

According to the World Bank, there are some key issues countries need to tackle for skill development:

  • Access and completion

  • Quality

  • Relevance

  • Efficiency

To know more about these issues, visit the following website:  

Incremental human resource requirements across sectors

Commissioned by the NSDC, the report was to understand the sectoral and geographical spread of incremental skill requirements across high-priority sectors between 2013-17 and 2017-22. 

The research provides a detailed overview of the sectors

  • From a skills perspective

  • Assesses the demand for skills

  • Highlights key job roles

  • Maps the available supply-side infrastructure

  • Suggests actionable recommendations with key stakeholders in the system experts, 500 job roles and 1500+ trainees, Sector Skill Councils, and GoI 



    Estimates in millions
Sector Human Resource Requirements Incremental Human Resource Requirement
  2017 2022 (2017-22)
Agriculture 229 215.5 -13.5
Building Construction & Real Estate 60.4 91 30.6
Retail 45.3 56 10.7
Logistics, Transporation & Warehousing 23 31.2 8.2
Textile & Clothing 18.3 25 6.7
Education & Skill Development 14.8 18.1 3.3
Handloom & Handicraft 14.1 18.8 4.7
Auto & Auto Components 12.8 15 2.2
Construction Material & Building Hardware 9.7 12.4 2.7
Private Security Services 8.9 12 3.1
Food Processing 8.8 11.6 2.8
Tourism, Hospitality & Travel 9.7 14.6 4.9
Domestic Help 7.8 11.1 3.3
Electronics & IT Hardware 6.2 9.6 3.4
Healthcare 4.6 7.4 2.8
IT & ITeS 3.8 5.3 1.5
Telecommunications 2.9 5.7 2.8
Pharmaceuticals 2.6 4 1.4



As per the Economic Survey of India 2021-22 released by the Ministry of Finance, following trends in urban employment were observed:

Urban Employment
According to PLFS data (MoSPI) According to EPFO payroll data
  • After rising to 20.8 % in the Q1 of 2020-21, the unemployment rate (UR) for the urban sector gradually declined to 9.3 % in Q4 of 2020-21 with the revival of the economy.
  • The LFPR and WPR in the urban sector also declined significantly during Q1 (36.4% and 43.7% respectively) but showed a swift recovery in the subsequent quarters (47.5% and 43% respectively).
  • The EPFO data covers the low-paid workers in medium and large establishments in the formal sector.
  • The net addition in EPFO subscriptions is an indicator of the extent of formalization of the job market, and the coverage of social security benefits to the organized/ semi-organized sector workforce.
  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in the labor force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work)in the population.

  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR) : WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.

  • Unemployment Rate (UR): UR is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labor force.



Latest Periodic Labour Force Data

Rates Rural Urban Rural + Urban
  Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female Person
PLFS 2020-21
LFPR 57.1 27.7 42.7 58.4 18.6 38.9 57.5 25.1 41.6
WPR 54.9 27.1 41.3 54.9 M17.0 36.3 54.9 24.2 39.8
UR 3.9 2.1 3.3 6.1 8.6 6.7 4.5 3.5 4.2
PLFS 2019-20
LFPR 56.3 24.7 40.8 57.8 18.5 38.6 56.8 22.8 40.1
WPR 53.8 24.0 39.2 54.1 16.8 35.9 53.9 21.8 38.2
UR 4.5 2.6 4.0 6.4 8.9 7.0 5.1 4.2 4.8

LFPR- Labour Force Participation Rate

WPR- Worker to Population Ratio

UR- Unemployment Rate

Source- National Statistics Office (MoSPI)

Potential of the Corporate Sector

The corporate sector can derive several strategic benefits by getting involved in skill-building activities. The CSR agenda of companies get realized well as their skill development efforts reach out to the capability-deprived youths and create a positive impact sustainably across communities. The availability of skilled manpower makes it easy for companies to increase their efficiency and productivity and reduce their operational cost. By up-skilling and re-skilling the youths, companies get future-ready.

The corporate sector has adequate scope for involvement and contribution to realizing the SDGs. Therefore, leading agencies and experts working on sustainable development mission urge companies to lend their support toward the accomplishment of these global goals. Skill development is given due importance in this sustainable agenda.

Some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the corporate sector can contribute to, are

  • SDG 4.3: equal access to affordable and quality technical and vocational education.

  • SDG 4.4: increasing the number of youth who have relevant technical and vocational skills for employment and entrepreneurship

  • SDG 8: targets decent work and employment which is not achievable without skilled manpower.

India is one of the youngest nations in the world as 54% of its population is below 25 years of age, and more than 62% of its population is in the working age group (15-59 years). The average age of the population in India is around 29 years, much lower in comparison to developed countries like the US, Japan, and European nations. In the next 15 years, the labor force in industrialized countries will decline by 4% whereas in India it will increase by more than 30%.

This can be seen as a challenge and a burden as well as an opportunity as a “demographic dividend”. In order to avoid this “demographic dividend” turning into a “demographic disaster”, the workforce should be imparted with employable skills and knowledge, as a skilled workforce is vital for socio-economic development. Without exaggeration, it can be said that India has the potential to be the skill capital of the globe.