Cultivating Skills

Focused at modernising itself in terms of providing contemporary employable skills to the youth, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) is working hard towards meeting its goal in attracting rural youths. The sangathan is empowering youngsters by instilling aptitude in them to do specialised jobs and excel in their life.
Cultivating Skills

Magbul Hussain, 24-year-old youth from village Goliapara near Guwahati, used to contribute to the family income through odd jobs, alike some other youths in the area. Getting a job for Magbul was difficult due to his limited education. He tried his luck many a time but was turned down because he didn’t posses any ‘professional skills’. Fed up with rejections, he went to Kolkata and joined a domestic call centre but living hundreds of kilometers away from his home and working on a salary of Rs 5,000 a month meant no savings at the end. Even the odd working hours were taking a toll on his health. There was no routine, no fix time for shifts. So he left the job and came back to his village to help his family of five.

“It was usually frustrating for me when I used to see some of my friends doing well in business and I couldn’t do anything because my family couldn’t afford any additional financial burden on them” he recalls, “One day one of my friends, who was active member of the village Youth Club, told me about Nehru Yuva Kendra, Rupnagar, offering different vocational courses of short term duration. I was waiting for any such opportunity and joined at once.”  During the course, he was trained in organised retail and house keeping and some hands on IT training was also provided at the centre. After completion of the course, as promised, he got a job in a famous retail chain. “I am happy that I got a job in Guwahati. Now I can visit my parents every weekend” says an elated Magbul.

NYKS has empowered several rural men and women like Magbul to find a suitable livelihood. Recently, the sangathan has signed an MoU with National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) to impart professional skills to the youth club members, National Youth Corps (NYC) volunteers and general youth residing in the villages with assurance of jobs after completion of the designated training courses conducted by NSDC Training Partners.

The newly appointed Director General (DG) of NYKS, Saleem Ahmed is enthusiastically pushing this world’s largest apolitical youth organisation to ‘modernise’ itself in terms of providing contemporary employable skills to the youth.

Sharing his views on the emerging needs of providing different skill related courses, he said, “First of all, I would like to emphasise on the point that NYKS since its inception, has been catering to the vocational needs of the rural youth. However, gradually in past few years, the focus has been shifted to vocational courses suitable to employment.”

The sangathan has a pan India presence, with 623 kendras and 28 zonal offices in the country. In the recent past the organisation, to provide ‘contemporary vocational courses’ has signed an MoU with National Skill Development Council (NSDC), a body under the Ministry of HRD.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs, under which the sangathan operates, in this MoU, has focused on ‘minimum 70 per cent post training employment guarantee’. The project has been named YES (Youth Employability Skill) and has so far imparted training to 1000 youths in the North-Eastern states and 269 in Jammu & Kashmir.

To increase and encourage female participation, the organisation has been introducing different programmes at various points of time, especially designed for women. As per the official sources, the participation of women in NYKS programmes is more than 40 per cent. Under the new scheme, where NSDC and Apparel Training and Design Centre (ATDC) train these women in different vocations ranging from tailoring, zardozi work, tractor repairing, bee keeping, etc. The entire course fee is being borne by the sangathan. “This is the 25th year of NYKS and the theme for the year is skill development. So we are focusing largely on imparting skill training to the rural youth in collaboration with different government agencies. We have earmarked a budget of Rs 8.26 crore to train more than 94,000 young rural men and women” says Saleem Ahmed. The sangathan has written letters to 92 public sector units under the central government to get financial assistance to run the programmes smoothly. “Many of these PSUs have shown interest in our proposal and we are hopeful to see some positive development,” says an official.

Open to all
The organisation, in the recent years, has changed its strategy. Now it is open to participate in any dialogue process wherein the objective of providing suitable employment to youth is served. Many of the vocational training programs are run by corporate houses.  “We are the premier agency in the country, particularly in the government sector to promote and protect the interests of the youth. As long as the interests of the youths are served, we are ready to collaborate in whatever possible ways we can,” says the director general. “But at the same time, we are cautious that our youths are not exploited. We are creating a model where these youth be getting a handholding support through NYKS,” he further adds. The organisation is ready to share its large youth base with the corporate world but with certain assurances beforehand. The organisation wants a long-term ‘relationship with the corporate world’ and ‘looks forward to get the youth being trained by the business fraternity as per their needs’.

More in the kitty
In the National Youth Policy draft 2012, the larger emphasis is given to the welfare of the rural youth. The focus age group is now 16-30 years, which used to be 13-35 years in the 2003 Youth Policy. Under the Panchayat krida aur khel abhiyan, an initiative of ministry of youth affairs, the major focus is to develop sports centres in the rural areas.  Apart from that, women empowerment is another area, which has been given a larger focus. Addressing issues like female infanticides, sexual and physical abuse and education is being included in the draft. Welfare of the tribal youth is also taken into consideration.  With such positive announcements, the youth of rural India is hopeful to get more facilities in terms of employment, education, sports etc.

The pan India presence of NYKS is a humongous task to manage. The scarcity of human resource is a problem that this organisation is facing. Apart from this, budget remains another challenge. The annual budget allocation has been increased for the 12th five year plan to NYKS for the 2012-13 is Rs 419 crore. The staff is over burdened with work and expansion of several projects like YES is delayed due to unavailability of funds. However, now new man at the helm of the affairs at NYKS, officials are hopeful that things will change for good.  The recent approach to collaborate with different corporate houses is a way forward in the empowerment process of the youth. This year’s skill development theme will also benefit hundreds of rural youth.

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