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December 2021 Kurukshetra Magazine Issue: Innovative skilling and livelihood

Kurukshetra Magazine is a vital source of study material for the UPSC IAS exam. It is a monthly magazine that gives information about important government schemes and programmes in various sectors. Kurukshetra is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Kurukshetra, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Chapter 1: Skilling for Future: Reaping Demographic Dividend for AatmaNirbhar Bharat

Demographic dividend:

  • India is among one of the youngest nations in the world today, at a median age of 28-29 years. With nearly two-thirds of its population in the working-age group, the working-age population is larger than the number of dependents thus allowing India to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend.
  • At present, 55.8 percent of the Indian population is in the working-age group of 20-59 years which will peak at 58.9 percent in 2041.
  • India’s working-age population is projected to grow by roughly 9.7 million per year during the decade 2021-31 and 4.2 million per year between 2031-41.


  • It is estimated that only 2.3 percent of the workforce in India had undergone formal skill training as compared to 68 percent in the UK, 75 percent in Germany, 52 percent in the USA, 80 percent in Japan, and 96 percent in South Korea. Large sections of the educated workforce have little or no job skills, making them largely unemployable.
  • India could benefit immensely from this demographic dividend only if the youth are empowered with the right education, training, skill development, empowerment and creation of congenial socio-economic, institutional and political environment.
  • India needs to transform its human capital into a highly skilled workforce for the national and global market.

Governmental initiatives:

  • Establishment of a dedicated ministry- Ministry of Skill Development and entrepreneurship for skilling.
  • Setting up of the National Skill Development Corporation
  • Skill India mission aims to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022.
  • National Education Policy 2020 calls for integration of vocational education with school and higher education and skilling in futuristic technologies. NEP-2020 aims to expose 50 percent of the learners in school and higher education to vocational education by 2025
  • National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 aims at creating an ecosystem of empowerment by skilling people on a large scale with high standards and to promote a culture of innovation based entrepreneurship in the country.
  • Framing of the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) provides free short duration skill training to youth for skill certification.
  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs across the nation aim to offer exposure and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines such as robotics, 3-D printing, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc to school students. In the higher education sector, the Atal Incubation Centres offer grooming, mentoring, and technical as well as financial handholding to budding student entreprenuers

Chapter 2: Skill Requirements for Sustainable Livelihood in Rural Farm-based Cooperatives

Significance of co-operatives in India:

  • Cooperatives being self-supporting community associations can help realize social, economic and political objectives ranging from self-help and grassroots participation to production, distribution and social control over the nation’s resource allocation and mobilization.
  • Rural farm-based cooperatives as institutional mechanisms can play a significant role in tackling the problems of poverty alleviation, food security, and employment generation, which can help increase income and well-being of member.
  • Strong cooperatives can create enabling atmosphere in rural areas to spearhead agriculture and rural development initiatives.
  • It also has immense potential to deliver goods and services in areas where both the State and the private sectors have remained not so successful and effective.

Need for skilling in co-operatives:

  • In the current market and consumer centric and technology driven economic environment, cooperatives need entrepreneurial orientation, business acumen and skill-sets in order to make themselves smart, competitive and sustainable.
  • Cooperatives require timely and adequate skill up gradation and capacity development initiatives for facilitating community leaderships, time management abilities, creativity and innovation in business system.


  • Low priority to the activities of skilling.
  • Paucity of expert trainers
  • Mismatch between demand and supply at sectorial and spatial levels
  • Narrow and obsolete skill curriculum
  • Non-inclusion of entrepreneurship in formal education system
  • Lack of mentorship and inadequate access to finance for startups encouraging skilling
  • Inadequate impetus to innovation-driven Entrepreneurship.

Chapter 3: Vibrant MSMEs towards Inclusive Growth

Significance of MSMEs:

Economic significance:

  • The Indian MSMEs sector is the backbone of the national economic structure.
  • MSMEs contribute nearly one third of aggregate economy gross value addition.
  • MSMEs act as ancillary industries for Large Scale Industries providing them with raw materials, vital components and backward linkages. Hence they play a bigger role in the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Employment opportunities:

  • MSMEs provide employment to around 120 million people and contribute around 45 percent of the overall exports from India. They employ a significant proportion of rural workforce
  • They provide for opportunities for both self-employment and wage-employment outside the agricultural sector. The employment per capita investment of MSMEs in much lower compared to other manufacturing industries.
  • As per the annual report 2017-18 of the Ministry of MSME, the sector contributed around 3.6 crore jobs (70%) in the manufacturing sector.

Inclusive growth:

  • MSMEs play a critical role in sustainable and inclusive development by serving as a source of livelihood for many in rural areas. They can contribute in checking rural-urban migration by providing people living in isolated areas with a sustainable source of employment.
  • They can help achieve the Sustainable Development goals by directly benefitting the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and youth, thereby directly reducing poverty, increasing income and positively impacting on household investments in education and health

Challenges Faced by MSMEs:

  • Obsolete technology leading to low efficiencies and quality concerns. MSMEs face high risk and uncertainty in technological development, as well as lack of resources to pursue large scale innovation projects.
  • Limited access to institutional finance
  • Large number of unregistered MSMEs

Governmental measures to support MSMEs:

  • Access to credit: Launch of the 59 minute loan portal; interest subvention
  • Access to market: Public sector companies now have to compulsorily procure 25 percent of their total purchase from MSMEs
  • Technology Upgradation and digitizing of MSMEs.
  • Ease of Doing Business: A number of initiatives have been initiated for facilitating business for getting clearances and certifications.


  • There is a need to improve the competitiveness of the overall MSME sector.
  • India’s MSME policy should cover the entire lifecycle of MSMEs to ensure a healthy, vibrant and competitive MSME sector. This should cover areas like access to technology, IPR related issues, design related issues, wasteful usage of resources/manpower, energy inefficiency and associated high cost, low ICT usage, low market penetration, quality assurance/ certification, and standardization of products and proper marketing channels to penetrate new markets.

Chapter 4: Rural Women: Key to New India’s Agrarian Revolution

Rural Women Workforce in Agriculture Sector:

  • India is an agrarian economy with about 54.6 percent of total workforce engaged in agricultural and allied sector activities (Census 2011). Women are extensively engaged in the activities pertaining to agriculture and allied sector.
  • In India, Agriculture employs about 80% of all economically active women, out of which 33 percent constitute agricultural labour force and 48 percent are self-employed farmers.
  • Rural women are engaged at all levels of agricultural value chain- production- pre-harvest, post-harvest processing, packaging and marketing.
  • As per available estimates the ratio of women to men working in agricultural sector has increased over the time.
  • The percentage of female operational holdings in the country has increased from 12.78 percent during 2010-11 to 13.78 percent during 2015-16.

Governmental initiatives towards gender mainstreaming in agriculture:

  • Government of India has prioritized agenda of ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Agriculture’ to provide access to resources/ schemes to rural women engaged in agriculture and allied sector. These special schemes provide for States and other implementing agencies to incur at least 30 percent expenditure on women farmer in the general schemes meant for the sector.
  • For skill development and capacity building amongst women farmer, various skill-training are being imparted under schemes of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Ministry of Rural Development.
    • The Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) scheme was launched by Ministry of Rural Development to impart skill development and capacity building programmes for rural women.
    • Support to State Extension Programmes under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Extension.
  • Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) Programme was initiated by the Department of Biotechnology to provide scientific solutions to farmers in north east region to link available innovative agriculture technologies to the farm with the small and marginal farmers, especially women farmers of the region.
  • Financial inclusion and accessibility to banking through Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, Stand-Up India Scheme, Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme are the additional supporting steps towards financial empowerment and entrepreneurship development of rural women.


  • Rural women are major stakeholders in growth of agricultural sector for the New India. Acknowledging and mainstreaming of rural women via ensured access to resources, technology, education, ownership rights and skill development will help improve agriculture productivity which will not only help in increasing economic growth but also help enhance food and nutrition security.
    • As per the Food and Agriculture report of 2011, women-oriented reforms, ensuring equal access to resources, skill development and opportunities in agriculture would increase agricultural output in developing countries between 2.5 and 4 percent

Chapter 5: Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurial Skills among Rural Youth


Rural youth are educated but not skilled unlike urban youth. Lack of new, challenging and better job opportunities in the agriculture sector limits the job opportunities for educated rural youth.

Need to Ignite Entrepreneurial Skills among the Rural Youth:

  • Entrepreneurship development is the driving force behind every country’s socio economic development.
  • Developing agricultural entrepreneurs will address issues such as reliance on agriculture, rural unemployment, and rural migration.
  • In rural areas, the development of business in villages will generate utilities and employment.
  • Rural entrepreneurship will save energy by reducing the amount of time it takes to move large quantities of raw materials and human resources to nearby urban regions for employment.
  • As a result, promoting agripreneurship and the formation of agricultural and raw material-related businesses in rural areas has become a pressing requirement.

Challenges faced in Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurial Skills among Rural Youth

  1. Paucity of funds: Due to the absence of tangible security and credit in the market most of the rural entrepreneurs fail to get external funds.
  2. Lack of Infrastructural facilities: In spite of efforts made by the government the growth of rural entrepreneurs is not very healthy due to lack of proper and adequate infrastructural facilities.
  3. Competition: Rural entrepreneurs face stiff and severe competition from large sized organizations and urban entrepreneurs. They incur high cost of production due to high input cost.
  4. Lack of Technical Knowledge: Information technology as such is not very common in rural areas. Entrepreneurs rely on internal linkages that encourage the flow of services, goods, ideas and information.
  5. Poor quality products: Another important problem is growth of rural entrepreneurship is the inferior quality of products produced due to lack of availability of standard tools and other equipment as well as poor quality of raw materials.

Government Initiatives

  1. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was set up in November 2014 to drive the ‘Skill India’ agenda in a ‘Mission Mode’.
  2. Recognizing the importance of rural entrepreneurship and skill development in the initiatives “Start-up India” and “Stand-up India”, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna and Aajeevika were recently launched.
  3. The Support to Training and Employment Program (STEP) aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skills that enable women to become self- employed or entrepreneurs.
  4. The Priyadarshini scheme empowers poor women and adolescent girls through Self Help Group formation.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) Under this unique initiative, Government of India aims to train about 24 lakh youth to be industry relevant, skilled and

prepared for the global market.

Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) This scheme is a World Bank loan assisted programme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship where

the focus will be on three key result areas namely

Institutional Strengthening, Quality Assurance and Inclusion of marginalized populations in skill development programmes.

Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) It is a unique scheme of the Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW).

The main objective of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana is to develop farming as the main source of economic activity.


  • Creation of finance cells: Banks and financial institutions which provide finances to entrepreneurs must create special cells for providing easy finance to rural entrepreneurs
  • Concessional rates of Interest: On an easy repayment basis and at concessional rates of interest the rural entrepreneurs should be provided with finances.
  • Offering training facilities: Training also enables the rural entrepreneurs to undertake the venture successfully as it certainly imparts required skills to run the enterprise.
  • Power supply of raw materials: Rural entrepreneurs should be ensured of proper supply of scarce raw materials on a priority basis.
  • Setting up marketing co-operatives: Proper assistance and encouragement should be provided to rural entrepreneurs for setting up marketing co-operatives.

Conclusion: –

To prevent rural migration and promote rural upliftment, more agri-preneurship and new agricultural job possibilities are required. As a result, entrepreneurship in food processing and food value addition might result in a surge in employment in rural areas.

Chapter 6: Innovative Approaches in Farm-based Livelihoods


Innovative Approaches target the poor in the development process, especially the rural poor who are mainly concentrated in the dry and rain-fed areas and largely dependent on agricultural income. Because of limited and inequitable access to productive resources such as land, water, improved inputs and technologies, and natural calamities, livelihoods become a challenge.

Innovative Approaches in Farm-based Livelihoods

Innovative Approaches Description
Group Farming System Approach: Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs) and FarmersAssociations work better than single individuals. A group approach to involve the farming community in decision making and implementation could be strengthened.
Farm Polyclinic: Farm polyclinics should be established in every Gram Panchayat or in a cluster of Panchayats to address the various problems related to crops.
Farmer Self Help Groups: To execute the plan of development people are organized into

Farmers Self Help Groups (FSHGs) and Farmer Interest Groups (FIGS) based on their common interests.

Bio-village: In these villages, activities like biodyna mic ferti Iisation, com post, vermin-culture, Cow Pat Pit (CPP), green manuring,biocontrol agents, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Integrated Plant Nutrient Management (IPNM), Integrated Crop Management (ICM), etc. to be promoted.
Seed Village: With a view to attaining self-sufficiency in good quality

planting material, ‘Seed Village’ concept should be promoted.


Though majority of families, in both the farm and non-farm sectors, derive their livelihood from agriculture, sustainability of agriculture cannot be discussed or even defined in isolation of the issue of livelihoods.

Chapter 7: Vocal for Local

What is Vocal for Local?

  • By promoting local brands, manufacturing, and supply chains, Vocal for Local promotes self-reliance, or ‘AtmaNirbhar India.’
  • The tagline “Vocal for local” has also highlighted the importance of having a worldwide presence for our local brands.

Needs To Be Vocal For Local

  • Vocal for locals gives unequivocal importance to the domestic industries and the small-scale Kirana stores.
  • The ‘Vocal for Local’ movement can also be considered as a catalyst for reawakening demand and giving tiny and marginal domestic industries a lifeline.
  • It will decrease reliance on foreign items and, as a result, alleviate import pressure.
  • Domestic businesses will have a fighting shot to survive the crisis because of the Vocal for Locals.
  • It will fit in with the economic backlash against China, putting India in a strategic position to become the world’s next manufacturing hub.

Challenges in being “Vocal for Local”

  1. Import substitution: The benefits would be lost as less resources would be available for those sectors where it can produce quality products at comparative low costs and can sell to other countries.
  2. Tariff and Non-tariff Barriers: Putting tariff and non-tariff barriers on imports might be even more serious, because you might have similar restrictions being put by other countries as well.
  3. Indian Brands to Global Brands: The problem with Indian brands becoming global is, although the Indian labor force has been able to command respect in the developed world, trust in terms of quality which Indian products and services are not yet able to develop.
  4. Infrastructure:  Infrastructure including logistical services, credit facility and regulatory environment further needs to be enhanced in order to not only attract production of MNCs to India but also help in making Indian brands global.

Way Forward:

The Vocal for Local campaign has already achieved its initial goal of increasing nationalism and the desire to buy things made in the United States. However, given the timing, this action has the potential to fundamentally disrupt global supply chains and change India’s position for the better.

Chapter 8: Impact of Digital Transformation on Livelihood Generation

Introduction: –

Digital technology has become a critical component in boosting India’s economic growth through Livelihood Generation, fostering social and economic fairness by improving access to information, markets, and government services for all, and addressing the country’s infrastructural gap.


  • Financing, precision agriculture, and internet trading are three areas where digital solutions hold promise.
  • Accessible, inexpensive finance is critical not only for allowing farmers to purchase seed and fertilizer, but also for allowing them to participate in digital initiatives to boost productivity.
  • Farmers can also increase their earnings by gaining greater direct market access and consequently get better pricing for their produce.
  • By solving transportation and storage issues, digitisation can help improve postharvest management.
  • Microtrends at the regional and crop levels may be evaluated, and innovation could be encouraged to address some of the issues influencing productivity and price realization.

How Government Initiatives led to Digital Transformation on Livelihood Generation?

  1. Digital India Campaign: It led to digital empowerment that ranged from improving India’s services industry to molding a robust manufacturing sector, and to reviving India’s glorious agriculture sector.
  2. Startup India: Through Startup India, India tweaked the employment generation target that every government chases by making its citizens capable of providing employment even as they get employed themselves.
  3.  National Agriculture Market (eNAM): It is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India. The eNAM, powered by mass digitisation, has enhanced farm employment by providing better compensation to the people employed in this sector.

Challenges: –

  1. Rural customers’ financial needs vary depending on geographical, occupational, and cultural aspects, as well as local norms and goals.
  2. In terms of finance, India’s rural customers are not yet ready to go totally digital. Rural people in poor nations and LDCs have notably low literacy and education levels, which makes it difficult for them to adopt digital technologies.
  3. Youth unemployment rates are frequently greater than the national average, particularly in rural areas.
  4. Rural communities will fall behind in the modern job market due to a lack of e-literacy and digital capabilities.


To unlock the full potential of digital agriculture transformation, governments need to create an enabling regulatory environment.

Posted in Free Study Materials, Kurukshetra Magazine

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