May 09, 2012 at 11:53am IST

Skill development training has few takers

BHUBANESWAR: The Central Government’s skill development training programme for marginalised tribal youths is finding few takers in the State.
 Aiming to tap potential of the tribal youth and channelise their energies for nation-building, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs had last year drawn up mega plans for the development of skills and providing employment to youth in the tribal belts and Maoist-hit areas of the country. The project was aimed at people of the age of 15 to 35 years, mostly Class 10 dropouts.
 In the State, the project was implemented through the ST & SC Development Department and it was decided that the Odisha Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe Development Finance Corporation Limited (OSFDC) would start skill development programmes for ST and SC youths.
  As many as 8,000 such youths were targeted to be trained under various skill development programmes in 2011-12. However, only 2,500 of them could be trained.
 As a result, a major chunk of the Special Central Grant of ` 8 crore that was provided to the State Government for the purpose in the last financial year, remains unspent.
Officials said lack of awareness among the tribal youths about the project is the primary reason behind the low enrolment. “Many of them are unable to know about the programme advertisements through print and electronic media. Still worse, even if they know, they are unwilling to come out of their villages to cities to undergo training,” said General Manager of OSFDC, Debaprasad Das.
 He said under the project, ` 30,000 is being spend on each student. The training programmes encompaass courses like hotel management, accounting, machine operation, retail skill, nursing, organic and mushroom farming, weaving, welding fabrication and mobile repairing. The OSFDC last year tied up with 55 organisations like NIIT, CIPET, ASSOCHAM, CTTC, ATDC, India Skills, Data Pro to train the tribal youths. Under the project, while all the expenses for residential youths are being borne by the OSFDC, ` 700 is being provided to day scholars. “Many of these institutes have their training centres in urban areas like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Roukela and the youths, primarily those belonging to ST community, are based in rural areas. Although there is assured placement assistance, they are unwilling to shift to the urban areas for training,” Das said.
 While this year, a proposal of Rs 9 crore has reportedly been sent to the Centre for approval, the OSFDC has decided to create more awareness about the benefits of the programme in tribal-dominated areas. This apart, the Department this year started online application for the programmes on an experimental basis. “It has also come to our notice that candidates are unable to apply manually due to various factors. This online process would be of immense help to them. A link on skill development has been created in the department website where youths can fill up the forms online and can keep track of the recruitment process,” Das added.