A jobs portal — billed by the government as a speedy way to get skilled youth employed by small businesses — has hit a persistent snag. There aren't enough openings for job seekers.
At the time of this story going to print, there were a mere 65 job postings on MSME Sampark with only 923 open vacancies for the more than 460,000 trained youth registered on the portal.
The ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) has begun an investigation into why placements through the portal have not picked up, sources said.
Launched by President Ram Nath Kovind in June 2018, the portal was expected to help bridge the skill gap as well as reduce unemployment. Students, who studied at the 18 MSME Technology Centres nationwide, were offered the choice of making themselves available to "various reputed national and multinational companies", according to the government.
But statistics show the total number of students who have been placed till December through this plan stood at 2,528, at a rate of less than 150 people placed per month.
The government has faced difficulty in enrolling major industrial firms on the portal while multinational companies have expressed dissatisfaction with the average training level of the candidates.
Though, a senior official in the MSME ministry argued that small businesses and entrepreneurs, who often struggle to find the right person with relevant experience and skill set, have always been the main target, since big corporate houses have well-defined recruitment processes with a national reach.
The Narendra Modi government has focussed on the technology centres to provide quality tools, trained personnel and consultancy services. These centres train 150,000 students annually, with the ministry claiming most of them are absorbed in the domestic industry with some even heading abroad. However, the ministry does not maintain data on how many students find jobs immediately after leaving college.
"While many of the centres are yet to be properly set up, fund disbursal and creating a cutting edge curriculum hasn't been a problem. But the teaching process hasn't changed much and students from economically poorer backgrounds often continue to seek the same typical on-hands education imparted at the more than 14 thousand Industrial Training Institutes strewn across the country," a senior policymaker in the know said.
While both job seekers and firms pointed out poor site planning and technology as a drawback, the government has argued otherwise. "The portal was built broadly based on the same technology behind successful job portals. Even on sites such as Monster.com and Naukri.com, the number of successful hits are low since available jobs are invariably much lower than optimum in this country," another ministry official said.
The Sampark portal was an inspiration behind Bharatcraft, the ministry run e-commerce portal for indigenous products along the lines of global online shopping platform such as Alibaba, sources said.
MSME minister Nitin Gadkari has publicly said the proposed portal could generate a turnover of Rs 10 trillion over the next few years.
The government is also gearing up to launch enterprise development centres (EDCs) that have been in the planning stages for two years now, senior officials said. Aimed at developing a cadre of indigenous entrepreneurs in the MSMEs, the EDCs will be similar to incubators for start-ups, according to a documents reviewed by Business Standard.