By Raymond Kharmujai, Shillong, Nov 22 IANS | 1 year ago

Meghalaya, a state of just 3 million people and a 75 percent literacy rate, is embarking on a skill development programme covering 196,000 youths to stem burgeoning unemployment and unemployability in this mountainous northeastern state.


"We are attempting to train at least 196,000 youths during the 12th Plan period (till 2017). We have identified the major thrust areas where our youth can be employed within and outside the state in agriculture, horticulture, livestock farming, masonry, plumbing, food processing, sericulture and weaving, and soft skills," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told IANS of the programme, which is supported by the central government's National Skill Development Agency (NSDA).

That apart, the Congress-led government has also plans to run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode to guarantee employment within and outside the state.

"The training programmes won't be city centric. We are aiming to go beyond the district headquarters and the community blocks so that more youths can be trained," he added.

National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) chairman S. Ramadorai who promised his support to Sangma last week, said what really matters for achieving the desired target is proper implementation at the ground level.

"One of the major concerns is the implementation on the ground. You may have a great strategy, but unless people deliver within a time frame, the impact will not be there. We have to take implementation very seriously," said Ramadorai, who also serves in the National Council on Skill Development headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Labour Minister Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh said the Meghalaya government has decided to sign memoranda of understanding with 10 companies to initially train around 28,000 youths.

"The government will pay the course fee, ranging from Rs.21,000 to Rs.25,000 for each of the trainees. The courses, which carry certificates or diplomas, vary from three to six months," Lyngdoh added.

She said the courses are in areas like front desk management, customer relationship management, hospitality management, international business process outsourcing, tussle crafting, call centres, data entry, healthcare (housekeeping staff in hospitals), aviation (flight attendants and ground staff) and beauty care.

"This programme is crucial as youth constitute 60 percent of the population while Meghalaya's dropout rate is one of the highest. I hope our young people will realise the importance of the programme and take part in it," Lyngdoh said.

(Raymond Kharmujai can be contacted at rrkharmujai@ians.in)

(Posted on 22-11-2013)