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 Topics
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions