Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS)

Riya Rajvanshi


Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) is a vocational program designed to increase employability and foster entrepreneurship which is managed by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in India. The initiative began in the year 1950, and is being implemented by the Directorate General of Training, which provides training in a variety of trades for various periods of time, ranging from six months to two years. It is available to people who have finished grades 8, 10, or 12, and it is largely delivered at government-run and authorized private Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). Following examinations and testing, trainees receive credentials that are nationally recognized. The goals of CTS are to close skill gaps, match the curriculum to market demands, and eliminate the gap between rural and urban areas. Despite being successful, issues like restricted visibility, gender inequities, and lack of gender parity exist. Future enhancements may include modernizing the curriculum, encouraging entrepreneurship, and ensuring the scheme’s continued role in India’s skill development journey.


The Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) in India is a vocational training program that falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The scheme is implemented by the Directorate General of Training (DGT). Its primary objective is to provide skill development training to individuals across various trades and industries, thereby enhancing their employability and promoting entrepreneurship.

The program’s main focus is to develop a trained workforce that can meet the needs of various industries and the labor market. It provides training for a variety of trades, including engineering, manufacturing, construction, and more. A nationwide network of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and other reputable training facilities normally administers the training.By developing trained craftsmen who can effectively contribute to diverse areas of the economy, the Craftsmen Training Scheme plays a significant role in closing the skills gap and fostering economic growth.

Key features of the Craftsmen Training Scheme:

1. Duration: The training duration for different trades under the CTS can vary from six months to two years, depending on the complexity and requirements of the trade.

2. Eligibility: The scheme is open to individuals who have completed their 8th, 10th, or 12th grade, depending on the specific trade’s eligibility criteria.

3. Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs): The training is primarily conducted in government-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and some private ITI s approved by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT).

4. Trade Testing and Certification: Trainees undergo periodic assessments and trade testing to evaluate their skills and knowledge. Upon successful completion of the training, they receive a certificate issued by the NCVT, which is recognized nationwide.

5. Skill Enhancement: The CTS imparts practical skills and theoretical knowledge, equipping individuals to work in various industries and trades.

6. Focus on Employability: The scheme aims to address the skill gap in the workforce and improve the employability of young individuals, promoting gainful employment opportunities.

7. Industry-Relevant Curriculum: The training curriculum is designed to align with the evolving needs of industries, ensuring that trainees are equipped with up-to-date skills and knowledge.

8. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): The CTS also offers Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for individuals who possess relevant skills and experience but lack formal certification.


The Craftsmen Training Scheme has played an important role in introducing new skills and increasing employment opportunities by developing a skilled workforce that fulfills industrial demands.

The program has regularly produced a trained workforce in a variety of industries because to its extensive network of training facilities and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs).  By filling the skills gap in sectors, graduates with National Trade Certificates (NTCs) have better career opportunities. The CTS’s training programs are still relevant because of its capacity to adjust to shifting industry demands and technological developments. The program has been crucial in fostering an innovative workforce, advancing economic growth, and supporting the government’s emphasis on skill development. Increased industry alignment, graduates’ employability, and the scheme’s contribution to a trained and competitive workforce in India are all indications of the scheme’s effectiveness. According to the Standing Committee on Labour when submitted its report on ‘Industrial Training Institutes and Skill Development Initiative Scheme’ , it was noted that 64% of trainees in 400 government ITIs (as of 2015–16) obtained either wage job or self-employment.  For 100 private ITIs, the corresponding proportion is 53%.  The Committee stated that additional efforts are needed to improve trainees’ employability by examining and improving the skills taught at ITIs.  Over the years, the CTS has expanded its reach and introduced new trades, catering to a broader spectrum of skills and industries.


In terms of delivering skilled labour to industry, ITIs play a critical part in the country’s GDP growth. Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) was established in 1950 by constructing approximately 50 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for imparting skills in several vocational professions in order to meet the country’s skilled manpower requirement for industrial expansion. In the 1980s, several new private ITIs were formed in southern states, primarily Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, from which educated craftsmen were placed in Gulf countries.Recently in September 2021, the Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) has been a cornerstone of vocational skill development in India since its inception in 1950. With a large network of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and affiliated training centers across the country, the scheme offers training in more than 130 different trades.

Training institutes were established, and their numbers have clearly expanded over a span of 66 years , owing to the country’s increasing labour requirements for technology, industrial development, and economic expansion. The number of ITS was merely around 60 in 1956 and expanded to 15000 in 2022.


   Growth of ITS from 1956 – 2022

Currently, training courses under the Craftsmen Training Scheme are being offered through a network of 14955 ITIs (Govt. 3248 + Private 11707) located all over the country with total trainees enrolled 26.58 lakhs (in the trades of 1 year and 2 year durations) on NCVTMIS portal with an objective to provide skilled workforce to the industry in 150 NSQF compliant trades.

Emerging Issues

While the Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) in India has been successful in imparting vocational training and enhancing employability, there are some issues associated with the scheme.

1. Limited Reach and underutilizated capacity : The CTS generally targets persons who have finished the eighth, tenth, or twelfth grades. This restricts access to training for persons with limited educational qualifications or who are not enrolled in a formal school system. According to the report

on ‘Industrial Training Institutes and Skill Development Initiative Scheme’, the Committee noted that only roughly 88% of the seats in the ITIs are being used, or 19.4 lakh total trainees, as opposed to a 21.9 lakh seating capacity.

2. Lack of Practical Exposure: The quality and level of practical training provided may vary between training centres. Lack of hands-on experience may impair trainees’ capacity to apply theoretical information in real-world circumstances.This deficiency could undermine their employability, hinder their ability to produce high-quality work, and erode their confidence in executing tasks effectively.

3. Gender Disparity: Due to a variety of socio-cultural issues in India, women’s involvement in the CTS is frequently lower, restricting their access to skill development and employability prospects.The lack of a supportive and inclusive environment can discourage female candidates from pursuing training in these trades, perpetuating the gender gap in the skilled workforce.

4. While the scheme provides training, the lack of adequate support for work placements and career opportunities after course completion can indeed be a challenge,leaving some learners difficult to find suitable positions.Without proper guidance and connections to industries, some learners might struggle to secure suitable positions related to their training. This issue often stems from a gap between the training providers and the job market, which can lead to a mismatch of skills and expectations.

5. Remote Learning: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of remote and online learning. The CTS needs to ensure robust digital infrastructure, effective online teaching methods, and blended learning models to reach learners who may face geographical or logistical challenges.

Way Forward

While the Craftsmen Training Scheme has issues, it has also made substantial contributions to skill development and has been a critical component of India’s efforts to establish a skilled workforce and encourage vocational education.

The Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) in India has the potential for growth and improvement in a number of sectors in the future. Here are some variables that could define the scheme’s future as it grows to address shifting economic and technical landscapes.

1. Curriculum Modernization: Modernized curriculum should emphasize practical application, hands-on learning experiences, and real-world projects to bridge the gap between theory and practice.There should be a mechanism to assess the popularity of courses and divert resources towards them rather than keeping the capacity idle.

2.Focus on Entrepreneurship:Introduce modules that nurture entrepreneurial skills, empowering graduates to explore self-employment and contribute to economic growth.

3.Global Recognition: Collaborate with international institutions and programs to benchmark best practices and stay updated on global skill development trends.

Overall, the Craftsmen Training Scheme’s scope is based on its capacity to respond to changing industry, technological, and job market demands as explained above. The scheme can continue to play an important role in India’s skill development journey by addressing the difficulties and seizing opportunities.


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Riya Rajvanshi is a research intern at IMPRI.

Acknowledgment: The author would like to thank Vaishali, Nandu S, and Garvit Gupta for their kind comments and suggestions to improve the article.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation. 

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