National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF)

The National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) is a competency-based framework that organizes all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. These levels, graded from one to ten, are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they are obtained through formal, non-formal or informal learning. NSQF in India was notified on 27th December 2013. All otherframeworks, including the NVEQF (National Vocational Educational Qualification Framework) released by the Ministry of HRD, stand superceded by the NSQF.

Under NSQF, the learner can acquire the certification for competency needed at any level through formal, non-formal or informal learning. In that sense, the NSQF is a quality assurance framework. Presently, more than 100 countries have, or are in the process of developing national qualification frameworks.

The NSQF is anchored at the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and is being implemented through the National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC) which comprises of all key stakeholders. The NSQC's functions amongst others include approving NOSs/QPs, approving accreditation norms, prescribing guidelines to address the needs of disadvantages sections, reviewing inter-agency disputes and alignment of NSQF with international qualification frameworks.

Specific outcomes expected from implementation of NSQF are:

  1. Mobility between vocational and general education by alignment of degrees with NSQF
  2. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), allowing transition from non-formal to organised job market
  3. Standardised, consistent, nationally acceptable outcomes of training across the country through a national quality assurance framework
  4. Global mobility of skilled workforce from India, through international equivalence of NSQF
  5. Mapping of progression pathways within sectors and cross-sectorally
  6. Approval of NOS/QPs as national standards for skill training


The NSQF provides for a five year implementation schedule which provides that after the third anniversary(27.12.2016) date of the notification of the NSQF,

  1. Government funding would not be available for any training/ educational programme/ course which is not NSQF-compliant.
  2. All government-funded training and educational institutions shall define eligibility criteria for admission to various courses in terms of NSQF levels.
  3. The recruitment rules of the Government of India and PSUs of the central government shall be amended to define eligibility criteria for all positions in terms of NSQF levels. The State Governments and their PSUs shall also be encouraged to amend their recruitment rules on above lines.


After the fifth anniversary (27.12.2018) date of the notification of the NSQF,

  1. It shall be mandatory for all training/educational programmes/courses to be NSQF-compliant
  2. All training and educational institutions shall define eligibility criteria for admission to various courses in terms of NSQF levels.

NSQF Gazette Notification