According to latest Report of National Sample Survey Organization – 61st Round (2004-05) published in March 2007, self employment in the Rural areas– in agriculture as well as non agriculture – was the main statue for the Religious Groups. In 2004-05, 26% of Muslims and 35% of Christians depended on “self employment in agriculture”, whereas in “self employment in non-agriculture sector”, 28% of Muslims and 15% of Christians were involved. 1.2 In Urban India, during 2004-05, proportion of Muslims households depending on “self employment”, “regular wage/salary” and “casual labour” were 49%, 30% and 14% respectively, whereas for the Christian it was 27%, 47% and 11% respectively.

1.3 In Rural areas, the Workers Population Ration (WPR) among the males of all ages in 2004-05 was the highest among Christians (56%) followed by Hindus (55%) and then Muslims were the lowest (50%). Similarly WPR for Females for Christians (36%) and Hindus ( 4 1.5 According to reports of Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T), a majority of India workforce does not possess marketable skills which is an impediment in getting decent employment and improving their economic condition.

1.6 While India has large young population, only 10% of the Indian labour forces – 8% informally and 2% formally have acquired vocational skills. About 63% of the school students drop out at different stages reaching class- X. Only about 3.1 million vocational training seats are available in the country whereas about 12.8 million persons enter the labour market every year. Even out of these training places, very few are available for early school dropouts. This signifies that a large number of school drop outs do not have access to skill development for improving their employability at one side and availability of 12.8 million jobs at the other side. As per estimates of 2011, in India there is a skill gap of about 244 million across 21 key sectors. 1.7 According to Sachar Committee Recommendations, the country is going through a high growth phase. This is a time to help the underprivileged to utilize new opportunity through Skill development and education. A large segment of the Muslim community is engaged in self-employment activities. Besides, a significant proportion, especially women, is actually engaged in home- based work. While some of these workers are engaged in sectors that have experienced growth, many are engaged in occupations/ sectors that are stagnant. The policy intervention needs to help workers engaged in growthoriented sectors to become part of the larger network of market oriented firms engaged in that sector. For those caught in the stagnant sectors, a transition path will have to be evolved. Skill upgradation, 5 education and credit availability, will have an important role in both these strategies. 1.8 National Skill Development Policy envisages that the skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. Countries with higher and better levels of skills adjust more effectively to the challenges and opportunities. 1.9 India is in transition to a knowledge based economy and its competitive edge will be determined by the abilities of its people to create, share and use knowledge more effectively. This transition will require India to develop workers into knowledge workers who will be more flexible, analytical, adaptable and multi skilled. 1.10 India has the advantage of “demographic dividend. Harnessing the demographic dividend through appropriate skill development efforts would provide an opportunity to achieve inclusion and productivity within the country and also a reduction in the global skill shortages. Large scale skill development is thus an imminent imperative.