The National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) run by the government is witnessing a major increase. Over the past 3 years, total enrollment has tripled to touch 0.9 million in FY24.

Officials of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) said that this rapid growth is due to many factors. “Today, more than 3.2 million people have participated in apprenticeship programs. We have promoted apprenticeship training in more than 110 industries. clusters, covering one-third of the country’s districts, and 22 State Apprenticeship Monitoring Cells have been set up. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Wazifa has significantly boosted NAPS,” Atul said. MSDE Secretary Kumar Tiwari told FE.

Additionally, the ministry has actively engaged with multiple stakeholders to increase participation, including sending constant reminders to companies that hiring apprentices is mandatory, he said.

Currently, the scheme obliges all establishments with 30 or more workforce (regular and contract employees) to hire apprentices in the range of 2.5-15% of their workforce every year. For example, an establishment with a total strength of 100 has to engage a minimum of 3 apprentices and a maximum of 15. According to the scheme, there are 7 slabs under which apprentices are paid by their employers. It ranges from Rs 5,000-9,000 per month based on their qualifications. The government reimburses 25% of the stipend – up to a maximum of Rs 1,500 per month per apprentice – which all employers receive by engaging apprentices.

Although companies, especially in the private sector, are hiring apprentices in large numbers, stipends are given to candidates with courses linked to the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). “Around 30% of apprentices are supported by stipends by those who opt for government assistance. In the next phase of NAPS, we expect this number to increase significantly,” Tiwari said.

In recent years, the MSDE has brought comprehensive changes in the Apprenticeship Act, 1961 and the Apprenticeship Rules (1992). For example, in 2019, it notified changes to the Apprenticeship Rules (1992) to increase the financial remuneration of apprentices.

Not only has the overall enrollment increased, but the participation of female apprentices has also increased significantly. For example, the percentage of female apprentices has increased from 18% in FY21 to 21% in FY24, highlighting a positive trend towards gender inclusion under the scheme. Launched in 2016, NAPS has about 0.26 million institutions registered, and the government has paid claims worth Rs 330 crore so far.

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