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Indian Government to launch National Career Service (NCS) Portal


Jul 22, 2013
National Career Service: Govt's Rs 150 crore national portal aims to be 'Makemytrip' of job world

On the face of it, it looks like a great plan. Months away from the national elections, the government has decided to set up a national job portal called the National Career Service (NCS). The Rs 150-crore project is ambitious. Modelled on the lines of a similar initiative by the UK government in 2012, it aspires to be the 'makemytrip' of the job world and connect millions of jobseekers to employers, both in the government and the private sector. The hope is that private players such as naukri.com, monster.com and babajobs.com too will join in.

For a country with 45.7 crore workers and in which one out of every three young graduates (15-29 years) is jobless, the government for sure has got its priority right this time. The portal, expected to be ready in 22 months, will aggregate all information regarding jobs, jobseekers, training and employers. Using SMS, call centres and email, it will help job seekers — from drivers to engineers — connect with the employers.

"This will be a one-stop platform for everything that a job seeker might need and will be easily accessible in remote corners," says a senior Delhi-based bureaucrat who did not wish to be named. Last month the government even signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK to glean learnings from its project.

"The project has great potential. The government has great reach. What it does not do well is connect jobs to people," says Sean Blagsvedt, founder of babajobs.com, a job portal that targets blue collar jobseekers. The government's employment exchanges have four crore registered jobseekers but has barely been able to place 4 lakh annually. "Private players will help change that," he adds.

Besides trying to engage with the private sector, there is another refreshing shift in the government approach. "We are not the guardian. We are only facilitators," the bureaucrat says. The government will build the platform, make it easy for jobseekers to register online and allow private sector placement firms to access its candidate's database and match them with the vacancies.

The UK Model

The UK government's NCS is an integrated free service that offers information and advice to everyone aged over 13 for training, learning and work opportunities. From career advice to writing good CVs, the service is available online, via web chat, on phone and face-to-face through multiple walk-in centres, including schools and colleges. The initiative is an upgrade of an earlier plan called Next Step that was launched to cater to those over 18 in 2010.

To keep pace with a dynamic job market and frequent job losses, the government has been introducing new courses in schools and colleges to re-skill jobseekers. The integrated NCS becomes the anchor disseminating information on courses, funding and grants and also capturing data and trends from the job market. While the NCS does not offer jobs directly, it provides a platform to link up job seekers with the prospective employers.

So far the results have been encouraging. Joe Billington, director of NCS UK, says last year it held face-to-face sessions with 6.5 lakh people, handled 3.67 lakh calls and web chats and got 70 lakh visitors on their website. According to the NCS UK, three fourths of adults felt the service improved their ability to take decisions. About 10,000 of its customers got jobs or enrolled for training programmes every month. And 46% felt their employment chances improved in six months of contacting the NCS.

Side-stepping the Problem

The Indian government's NCS, though, has its task cut out. For several reasons.

Let's start with the intent, which looks suspect. In 2009, the UPA government had announced a Rs 2,200-crore plan to overhaul India's 1,128 employment exchanges (EEs). Five years later, the government has finally woken up and is pushing through a substantially scaled down plan and is now setting up a portal. "After the announcement, neither the project got approved nor did the funds come. Employment is a good thing [to talk about] before an election but nobody is interested in fixing the nuts and bolts," says a senior Delhi-based bureaucrat.

India's job market is in crisis. While current and accurate employment data is not available, unemployment and underemployment both are very high in India. Every year, 1.2 crore new workers join the workforce. But job creation has slowed down. Whilst between 2000 and 2005, India added about 6 crore new jobs, between 2004 and 2009 it added only 27 lakh new jobs, according to government data.

Source:- National Career Service: Govt's Rs 150 crore national portal aims to be 'Makemytrip' of job world - Economic Times

An interesting move indeed but still wont earn any votes for the Congress at this crucial point of time :P

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