Cost Benefit

For an investment of ₹4.54 Crores, the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres have been able to train 30,000+ youth who, based on the average income data generated in this study, now have the potential to generate ₹286 crores per year. This is an impressive achievement on multiple counts:
  • The financial inputs to achieve such a figure are reasonably modest due to the organisation’s emphasis on volunteering by highly accomplished and skilled personnel.
  • Sa mitis absorb a chunk of other costs like rent and other expenses.
  • The student does not pay anything to be trained and therefore has zero monetary constraints to access the training.
  • The cost per trainee is extremely modest when compared to other national programmes.
  • The youth being benefited are from both urban and rural areas (where, especially, earning a steady income outside of agriculture is a difficult task);
  • The intangible gains for the trainees are substantial: Samiti members take personal interest in mentoring the trainees, spending time with the youth and sharing their knowledge.
  • Finally, and more importantly, the trainees are able to eam an income and support their families, which can be a game changer for them and their families, allowing them to stay in their homes if they wish to, instead of migrating to cities in search of jobs.
The benefits of the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes therefore are economic and social, psychological and spiritual. Profiles of a few trainee graduates give us a glimpse of such benefits.

Cost of Training

The various district level SSSSO units incurred an expenditure of ₹4.54 crores while training 30,187 candidates between 2014 and 2019.
Of the ₹4.54 crores expenditure, 58% was spent towards Tailoring programmes (₹2.63 crores} followed by 26% for Computer Courses ( 1 .18 crores), and 15% for Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical category (68lakhs}. Some Centres offer multiple skills, and hence the expenditure cuts across skill categories where multiple skills are offered.
The expenditure breakup is in line with the trainee numbers by category: 64% of the trainees are in the Tailoring domain, 21% in Computer Courses and, 5% in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical. The other skills being offered such as Spoken English, Food Processing or Agri-based Products are low-resource requirement categories (e.g. for machinery, training space, maintenance costs and raw materials} and therefore, even though 11% of the trainees have undergone training, the expenditure is quite low ( 1 %} .
SSSSO Samitis consist of a large pool of committed and qualified volunteers (Seva Dais) who undertake all organisational activities as an opportunity for selfless service. Thus, 71% of the trainers across programmes are volunteers who accept no remuneration. This is reflected in the trainer salary costs: only 14% of the costs over the last five years are salary costs for trainers hired for the specific skill type. Volunteers from the Samitis assist the trainers where required.
Operational expenses like rent, electricity and maintenance form the bulk of the expenditure (40%). Raw materials for the training are a fifth of the expenditure. Based on the expenditure reported, the per-trainee cost is extremely modest.
Volunteer and Paid Trainers fry Skill Type

Potential and Actual Earnings of Trainees

Based on employability figures of trainees from 37% of Centres, the earning numbers for 30,000+ trainees of the Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres have been calculated. The potential earnings of all trainees are calculated based on the average monthly salaries I wages reported for their categories. Next, the employability percent (trainees employed or self-employed] reported by 37% of the Centres is used to calculate potential earnings only for that percent deemed employed or self-employed out of the total sample. These calculations give a fair idea of the potential and actual earnings of the trainees.

To summarize the learnings from the above figures:
  • If all the trainees were employed I self-employed, they would earn ~24 crores per month I ~286 crores per year. These are potential earnings of the trainees.
  • Based on the reported employability percentages for each skill type, actual average trainee earnings amount to ~8 crores per month I ~96 crores per year.
As discussed earlier, since employability numbers are not known for all centres/trainees, ~96 crores per year is a conservative estimate, and earnings per year range from ₹96 crores to ₹286 crores at highest rate of employment. Since government training programmes also demonstrate employability rates of 30-40% or lower in some cases, this is a reasonable calculation of potential and actual earnings of the graduate trainees.

Comparison to Average National Income

The average monthly income of ₹8, 117 from the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes is significant when compared to the national income figures. In 2019, Government of India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had estimated per capita annual rural income in India to be ₹40.925 (₹3,410 per month) and ₹98,435 in urban areas {₹8.202 per month). According to the All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey conducted by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development} in 2016-17, the average household income per month in rural areas was only ₹8.059, and the average consumption per month is ₹6,646, leaving a surplus per month of only ₹1 ,413. This surplus often goes towards debt and loan payments leaving truly little buffer for growth, emergencies and other expenses towards health and education.

Compared to the national income data therefore, the value added to the lives of the individual youth trainees of the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes and their households is not only substantial but life changing.



Average incomes vary by skill type. Highest average salaries are earned by trainees in the Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical category, followed by Computer Courses.

A 2012 Tracer Study of Ill graduates by the Government of India found average incomes of ITI graduates to be about ~5,300 per month. Those who entered the Public Sector earned a few hundred rupees per month more than those who were employed in the Private Sector. More recent numbers have a wide range and vary from ~7.500- 15,000 depending on the skill category. Apart from ITI salaries, the average salaries earned by trainees of the Sri Sathya Sai VTCs and RVTCs can be compared to wages they would have otherwise earned.

Agricultural labour and daily wage work under MGNREGA are two options for RVTC graduates. Published agricultural labour wages in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana {where most of the RVTCs in this sample are) are about ~160 per day. If we assume 25 working days per month, an agricultural labourer could earn ~4.000 per month. However, work is not available round the year due to the seasonal nature of agriculture. Further, all the youth in rural areas cannot be accommodated in agricultural wage labour (and are not willing to engage in the sector).

MGNREGA pays about ~180-200 per day (varies by year} and could yield about ~4.000-5,000 per month. However, each rural household is allocated only 1 00 workdays in a financial year, and the days are shared by all working members of the household. Clearly, wages from this scheme will also not match up to the wages that young workers can eam if trained in the right skill and given the opportunities to find jobs and be self-employed. The trainees from RYTCs who qualify with a certificate in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical works can serve a wide range of customers in these areas and earn up to ~15,000 per month. This kind of steady income from utilization of these specific skill sets has been a game changer for the youth and their families. Moreover, the said amount is what they earn in the initial years. As they gain proficiency, they can

command higher salaries or higher payments for the services they render, unlike the standard payments received for agriculture labour or MGNREGA-based employment. Thus, the skills training helps them improve the standard of life and living as they progress in their jobs or skill-based entrepreneurial venture.

Average income reported is ₹8. 117 per month; however, some categories like Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical are able to earn higher incomes (average: ₹1 0,406). Reports from some of the RVTCs indicate that whether self-employed or employed in companies, trainee graduates from Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical domain are often able to earn ₹15,000-20,000 per month.



A recent survey by Team Lease Services found that only 18% of vocational training graduates found employment, of which only 7% found formal jobs. They concluded that vocational training programmes in India are not very effective in increasing the employability of youth. Compared to these statistics, the Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Programmes are delivering results nearly twice as well with 32% employability overall, and substantially higher employment figures in Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical domain.


Skills Offered

More than 40 skills are offered between the 169 Centres. Most of the Centres offer one skill; 39 Centres offer two or more skills. The groups below (called “primary skill groups”) are created for ease of analysis. A Centre offering Tailoring training may also have a computer course (trainees could be different or same). A RVTC offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills may also be offering Spoken English, Masonry or Carpentry.

The women’s wing (Mahila Vibhag) of SSSSO generally offers training on Samiti premises or in space donated by volunteers I members. 71% of the trainers in the Tailoring training domain are volunteers from the Samitis (231 volunteers) and only 96 are paid volunteers (29%). For nearly five decades, Tailoring has been an established training programme in SSSSO and therefore, it has scaled up pan-India over the years. Typically, these are delivered through VTCs in urban areas and towns where Sri Sathya Sai Samitis are functioning.

‘Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical’ is a broad category that encompasses multiple skills offered by RVTCs. Targeted at rural youth, predominantly male, this category offers a variety of skills that help young men to either find jobs in these fields or, to be self-employed in the village(s) they come from. Many RVTCs offer multiple skills in this domain, so that the youth are well equipped to earn an income by offering various services.

The figure above provides details of skill offerings by the Centres. Of the 122 Centres offering Tailoring and associated skills, 97 offer this skill alone. Another 14 offer Computer courses at the same Centre; 5 offer Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills and 17 offer other courses. Similarly, of the 16 RVTCs offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills, 2 offer computer courses and one offers tailoring and associated skills. Together, the 169 Centres have trained 30,187 candidates over the last six years.


Description of Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres

There is a wide variety and range regarding almost every aspect of the functioning of VTCs. Geographically, for example, the VTCs are situated in villages, small towns, district headquarters and metro cities like Chennai and Hyderabad. Some have a handful of trainees per batch while others have a few hundreds. Some are new and have run a few batches as of December 2019, while others have been running for several years and have run more than 100 batches. The duration of courses also varies greatly – from a minimum of 10 days to a few that run for 6-9 months.

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