NEWDELHI: As if cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, actor Sidharth Malhotra, and singer Mohit Chauhan weren’t enough, the government has made Priyanka Chopra the latest brand ambassador of its Skill India initiative.
Manish Kumar, CEO and managing director of the National Skill Development Corporation, which is helping implement Skill India, said that the administration is planning a major new promotional effort. Filming of advertisements is unscheduled, he said, but should start soon.
According to Kumar, celebrities such as Chopra, Kohli, Malhotra, and Chauhan approached the government asking to push the skill initiative free of cost.
For example, Chauhan “came to us and was very keen to be part of the Skill India Mission in India and abroad,” said Kumar.
“Soon he is going to do a concert in the US, and he wants us to tell him what message he can share there on skill development.”
Kumar added that yet more celebrities, including actress and entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra, want to join as well.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Skill India initiative on July 15, 2015, aiming initially to spend ~1,500 crore to train and find jobs for 2.4 million young people. The first phase, however, led to only 5% of participants finding a job by some measures.
Multiple HT investigations have uncovered numerous problems with the programme. Training centres have been found to lack the infrastructure necessary to train even a fraction of their supposed enrollees, and the Aadhaar numbers of lakhs of supposed candidates have been unverifiable, possibly an indication of inflated statistics.
Another Central skill programme, Udaan in Kashmir, has similarly been beset by low success rates and dodgy statistics despite whopping expenditures, according to an HT report.