With an abundance of natural resources and thousands of aspiring youth, the skill development mission in Tripura has chalked out several holistic strategies for balanced industrial growth and high productivity. In this Skill Story by M. Nagaraju, IAS, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, Government of Tripura, we get a glimpse of initiatives that are driving the positive impact of skilling.
Tripura is a land of tremendous opportunities. We have various traditional crafts and trades, rich natural resources and a huge talent potential that needs skilling and nurturing. The Directorate of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was set up soon after national missions like Skill India, PMKVY, DDU-GKY, and NRLM. We work with several training partners and certifying agencies with an objective to train and employ youth in various industry sectors.
Evolution: From Swavalamban to Directorate of Skill Development
Skill development is one of the top most priorities for the government of Tripura. Perhaps, we are one of the earliest states in the country to have recognized the need for it. In 2001, we started a self-employment society called Swavalamban (self-reliance) to facilitate training, EDP (Entrepreneurship Development Program) and link it with bank loans. It’s an open-for-all scheme. And the training was provided through PPP mode by partnering with training providers, central government and autonomous entities.
Under this scheme, loan is sanctioned after the completion of training, and it is disbursed after the EDP is completed. And we also a have subsidy scheme to encourage more youth to take up self-employment through skill development. We help them financially to start their own small units. These project are sanctioned after screening through a committee headed by the District Collector. And every year we have 3000 beneficiaries.
Later, skill development was becoming more structured and organized through NSDC. Then, we leveraged our experience with the Swavalamban and scaled up our efforts by forming the State Skill Development Mission, headed by our honorable chief minister. This has helped us in preparing the draft policy, strategy, and roadmap for skill development in the state. An executive committee was formed under the leadership of the chief secretary of state with all the priority departments like agriculture, PwD, power, industry, SC/ST/OBC minorities to come up with schemes for youth.
We also formed a directorate to strengthen institutional support for skill development. Perhaps, we are the only state in the country with a directorate of skill development under the Department of Industries and Commerce. The director coordinates all the efforts for government of India schemes; we have performed a skill gap study for Tripura with the help of Deloitte. This helped in identifying and prioritizing sectors with skill shortage.
Support for native industries and traditional trades
We haven’t limited ourselves to typical industrial skills; we also focus on native crafts and natural resources like rubber, tea, bamboo. Along with entry-level skilling we target upskilling and reskilling of employees to enhance quality, productivity and profits. This includes schemes to train people in handlooms, handicrafts and sericulture. We have formed the Tripura Bamboo Mission – one of its kind in the country, where, bamboo production and use of bamboo for different furnishings, handicrafts, and industrial use are taken care of. Under this mission, we’ve trained almost about 45000 people in furniture and other skills.
In sericulture, we trained about 4000 and in handlooms, the women weavers are formed into clusters. We train them and provide common facilities, from which the women can converge and work, produce and sell the products in the markets and share the profits. We have 11 handloom clusters in the state with an average of 150 women. Since Tripura is blessed with fertile soil, our skill development programs are also into agriculture and horticulture. We have devised innovative ways of helping uneducated unemployed to increase productivity and ensure reasonable wages for small farmers.
Minimizing distressed migration and challenges of mobilizing youth
From Tripura, very few people migrate for work, unlike what you see in other states. This is because agriculture is doing reasonably well; this reduces distressed migration. Also, MNREGA is implemented well in Tripura. We are in fact the best performing state in MNREGA. And therefore migration of population from rural areas to urban areas or to other parts of the country is not a common phenomenon here. For the educated unemployed, we are focusing on IT and food processing skills. We also see a huge demand for skilled workforce in construction and power sector along with services like security guards, data entry operators. The training is offered through PPP mode; we have empanelled training providers, we agree on outcomes, they are monitored and payments are made only after successful training delivery. We have an MoU with them for providing job placements.
Of course, mobilizing people for training is quite a challenge. But we take our job seriously, we utilize our administrative system well – the block development officer, the Gram Panchayat and many others help us in publicizing the training programs directly.
Plan for improving ITIs
ITIs are going to be very important drivers in economic development of the state. We are equipping the ITIs to play a very important role in skill development. At present we have 13 ITIs and in the next three months this will go up to 20. Our aim is to have one ITI in each sub division in the state. We anticipate 9000 students to pass out of these institutions by the year-end. All our courses are approved by the NCVT. And we keep reviewing the relevance of courses, identify potential for their employment, we appoint qualified skilled trainers to deliver the programs.
Recently, in association with Tata Trust, we launched world class ITIs in Agartala and Ambassa. They will evolve as Center of Excellence in automobile engineering, hospitality and food processing. With several goals in enabling gainful livelihoods and improving the economic growth in the state, we are also committed to setting up a smooth execution mechanism. Our partnerships will various agencies are sure to drive sustainable results.
Picture credits:Google and one of the pictures is from: http://ecogreenunits.blogspot.in/2011_05_01_archive.html