India: Skill Development Legal Framework In India

Last Updated: 8 October 2016
Article by Krishna Vijay Singh

Practical and theoretical training given to fresh learners to develop their professional or technical skill is called apprenticeship. The Indian apprenticeship system which is well established and supported by legislative and administrative arrangements regulates the training and protects the rights of apprentices in India. The rights of apprentices are protected under the Apprentices Act, 1961 ("Apprentices Act"). The Apprentices Act which surrounds the operation of apprenticeships in India is highly significant as it sets out the ways in which recruitment, training, conditions of work, contractual arrangements and compliances are organized.

The Apprentices Act in India was drawn up based on the principles of 'learning while earning' and 'learning by doing'. It envisaged to fully utilize the facilities available in the Indian industry for practical training with a view to meet the skilled manpower requirements of the industry. The apprentices under the Apprentices Act are categorized into four categories i.e. trade apprentices, graduate apprentices, technician apprentices and technician (vocational) apprentices. For each category of apprentices, educational prerequisites as prescribed under the Apprentices Act apply for undertaking apprenticeship training. For an apprentice to undergo apprenticeship training in India, he/ she has to enter into a contract with the employer which is to be registered with the Apprenticeship Advisor appointed under the Apprentices Act. The contract so entered lays down the terms and conditions of the training including the monthly stipend to be paid during the training period.

Despite the Apprentices Act being measured as a comprehensive legislation for safeguarding the interests of apprentices in India, certain issues like employment of apprentices on completion of training, low participation of both employers and workers in comparison to other countries, low stipend rates for apprentices, high levels of regulatory requirements for employers and shortage of trained teachers and trainers still persist in Indian apprenticeship system. Recently, the government by passing the Apprentices Amendment Act, 2014 has made significant efforts to reduce the level of regulatory barriers by doing away with penal provisions regarding imprisonment of the employer, simplifying registration of apprenticeship contracts by introducing online portal and giving employers the privilege of deciding the holidays, leaves and the working hours of training. But these efforts are not enough as apprentices working in unorganized sector or industries still remain largely deprived of these rights for want of enforcement of laws regulating their working conditions. Furthermore, the removal of penal provisions from the Apprentices Act can give rise to exploitation of apprentices.

In view of the above, one of the issues which has been under constant debate and discussion concerns the right of employment of the apprentices on completion of their training. Although the Apprentices Act does not cast any obligation on the employer for recruiting apprentice subsequent to the completion of his or her training, however, several cases have come up for adjudication before various courts and tribunals, where the apprentices have demanded legal right to employment after completion of their training.

One of the significant reasons for claiming such right is because of employment of workers by the employers on a large scale under the guise of apprentices. Certain employers believed that deployment of workers under the guise of apprentices will benefit the employer as apprentices cannot claim permanency or protection given to the workmen. It was alleged that employees/workmen were dubbed as apprentices so as to resort to summary termination and deny their legitimate benefits. The courts while dealing with such cases have given their decisions on the basis of facts and circumstances of each case. In this regard, reference may be made to the judgment of the Hon'ble Madras High Court in the matter of Workmen of Pmp Textiles vs. Management of Pmp Textile (2011 LLR 731). In the said matter no regular workers were employed by the management and all the persons working with the management were apprentices. The Hon'ble Court after going into the facts of the case observed that it would be impossible to believe that the entire production activity was being carried without any regular employee. Though the employees, all of whom were involved in the production activities, were called apprentices, the Hon'ble Madras High Court while relying upon the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Trambak Rubber Industries Ltd. Vs. Nashik Workers Union and Ors. took the view that the apprentices in question were to be treated as workmen.

However, the Hon'ble Allahbad High Court while dealing with the situation that whether an apprentice is a workman or not has held that the apprentice cannot claim employment on the basis of the nature of the work performed by him/her. In this regard reference may be made to the judgment of the Hon'ble Court, in the matter of Tannery & Footwear Corporation of India Limited vs Labour Court Kanpur [(1994) II LLJ 1186 (All.)], where the court held that an apprentice merely by discharging a function of a regular employee cannot turn around and say that he has become a regular employee. Accordingly, the question whether a trainee is a workman or not entirely depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and no specific criteria can be defined to determine the same.

Another issue surrounding the apprenticeship is regarding the social benefits which have been often demanded by apprentices in India. Although the Apprentices Act is clear regarding non-applicability of provisions with respect to labour laws to apprentices, there have been several cases where the apprentices have demanded social security benefits from the employer provided under the said laws. In this regard, reference must be made to the Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of R.P.F Commission Mangalore vs. Central Aercanut and Coca Marketing and Processing Co-operative limited [2006 I LLJ 995 (SC)], where the apex court held that the apprentices engaged under Section 2(aa) of the Apprentices Act are excluded from the definition of employee under Section 2(f ) of the Employers Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 and thus, are not entitled to any benefits granted under the said Act. Therefore, it is evident that apprentices working under the Apprentice Act are not covered under the provision of any labor law and are not entitled to any benefit granted under the labour welfare legislations.

Indian apprenticeship legislation has a powerful influence on the way the apprenticeship training is conducted in the country. Though, the government by passing the Apprentices Amendment Act, 2014 has taken steps to reduce the regulatory barriers, but even today the apprentices/trainees working in the unorganized sector are deprived of the rights granted to them. Therefore, there is a need of legislative responsiveness to change the demography and the voices of the industry as it is a crucial factor in the continuing success of apprenticeships as a way of providing skilled labour for the country.

Originally published in Human Capital, April 2015

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.