Thursday, July 14, 2016

Skill India Mission and Problems in Northeast India

I am writing this piece to share my experiences and thoughts regarding the central government of India's initiative called Skill India Mission. I was really amazed by such initiatives started by the government.

I thought the mission to skill our youth population would give a much needed employment space  especially for rural youths. When I went to Delhi in February 2016, I saw Skill India mission advertisements in many city bus stoppages which I felt this must be a grand and serious initiatives for reaping the demographic dividends.

Image courtesy: businesstoday.in
Back home, months ago I encouraged some of our youths that a free three months course for tribal unemployed youth are imparted in CIPET, Changsari, located in the outskirts of Guwahati in north bank of Brahmaputra river.

A neighbour boy who was educated up to BA in the local college of Dhemaji district showed interest in                                                                                                                                                          
joining the course. Out of their hard earned money, he rushed to Dhemaji's industries and commerce office and submitted the necessary documents. One day while his illiterate father was working in crop field, he got a call from Guwahati and listened the term 'Plastic". His son was informed and he comprehended later that it was a official call for the much waited course.

I took the boy in following days to join the course in the institute. The course was machine operator course relating to manufacturing of plastic materials. When some more villagers heard of the course, I was contacted by some boys including their parents expressing interest to join such skill development course provided if a work is guaranteed thereafter completion. There was some boys who even wanted to discontinue their college studies to join the course because their parents had problems in arranging their resources for higher education. Since the required qualification to do such course was matriculation only, many in fact match up to the eligibility. The boy informed that there were number of boys coming from Arunachal Pradesh and some even from Tripura.

 Two more boys later joined such course in the institute.

The interested first boy joined and completed the course successfully. He got a work in Dimapur, a town which is regarded as Nagaland's commercial hub. He worked for an individual owned plastic factory that produces items like mugs, buckets, bottles etc.

He worked for three months. He came home but told me he won't return to his workplace again. Why? I asked.

He said the working hours is terrible. If you starts from nine in the morning you have to work up to nine in the evening. Or if some starts his duty from 12 pm he have to work until 12 am. Six days a week.
The salary is fixed at 6000 INR initially. If there is consistency for three months or more it would be increased up to 8000 INR, they were told.

I am talking about the working conditions for skilled youths in northeastern region of India. Even the amount of remuneration needs to be seriously discussed.
Image courtesy: nsdcindia.org

When an individual left his home to earn his livelihood, don't we need to consider the liabilities back home? Now, he is skilled, overworked and underpaid.

Can't we make policies which is decent with working hours and perfect with perks? Or should we still work 12 hours to earn 6000 INR a month? Is this what meant Skill India Mission for the youths intertwined with uncertain glory? Where is the pragmatism to show the hopes? Can there be something call regulations? I hope our policymakers ponder over these issues.

What will the particular boy do now? He would go either to tap rubber again for estate owners in Arunachal Pradesh, the skill he learned already while in village or work in the field to help his father. Skill was cultivated in the hope of better tomorrow. But it did not happen.

Hello India! 





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