‘Future Skills’ platform launched to upskill technology professionals in India

India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, announced the launch of the ‘Future Skills’ platform while addressing the World Congress on Information Technology, jointly organised by NASSCOM, World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and the State Government of Telnagana through a video link on February 19. The aim of the platform is to upskill Information Technology professionals in emerging technology areas.

NASSCOM, a not-for-profit industry association, is the apex body for the 154 billion dollar IT BPM industry in India. NASSCOM has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) for strengthening re-skilling initiatives and identified eight important technologies it will focus on to prepare people for jobs of the future: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Robotic Process Automation, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Social and Mobile. It has also identified 55 job roles that are expected to be in high demand globally.

According to a report in Livemint, NASSCOM president R. Chandrashekhar said that the platform aims to skill and up-skill about two million technology professionals and skill another two million potential employees and students over the next few years.

Previously, in 2015, the Indian Government launched the National Skill Development Mission to ensure adequate availability of skilled workers and enable the country’s existing workforce to be able to re-skill and adapt to the emergence of disruptive technologies.

PM Modi said, “I am sure, the "Skills of Future" platform will greatly help India maintain its competitive edge.”

“Digital technology is now at the heart of every business. New technologies must be embedded in various operations and processes of a business entity. How can we prepare our millions of small and medium businesses for this transformation, in a short time? Keeping in mind the importance of innovation, in the future of economy and business, the Government of India has launched the Start-up India initiative. We believe our startups are the key to finding viable and economical solutions across sectors and verticals,” he added.

He also highlighted the Government’s Atal Innovation Mission, which seeks to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and talked about the Atal Tinkering Labs being set up in schools across India. The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds. They provide dedicated works spaces, with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT & sensors, where students can learn innovation skills and develop ideas.

In the 2018-19 budget, the Indian Government revealed a number of initiatives for the development of emerging technologies in the country. The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), the premier policy thinktank of the Government of India, will initiate a national programme to direct efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications.

The Department of Telecom will support establishment of an indigenous 5G Test Bed at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, while the Department of Science & Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence and to invest in research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and IoT. The Government also plans to explore the use of distributed ledger or blockchain technology proactively for ushering in the digital economy.

Subsequently, the Government announced the establishment of 7 Centres of Excellence (CoE) in new technologies: FinTech (Chennai), IoT (Guwahati and Patna), Virtual Reality (Bhubhaneshwar), Blockchain (Gurugram), Medical Technology (Lucknow) and Electronics Products (Bengaluru).

Building a skilled workforce would play a critical role in the success of these initiatives and this new initiative could play an important role in the area. 

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