Sikkim is the first fully organic state of India and wants to utilise this USP to its advantage, using the ‘organic state’ tag for its skill mission, says Mrinalini Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Skills cum Chief Administrator, State Institute of Capacity Building, in a candid conversation with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN)
What initiatives have you taken for the development of Sikkim’s skill sector?
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim has started Skill Vision in 2003 and that’s when the idea of State Institute of capacity building came into being. But given the geographical and topographical location of Sikkim, it took some time to develop the infrastructure.
In 2008- 2009, the infrastructure got ready. And State Institute of Capacity Building, following a cabinet nod, started in 2009. Till date, we have trained over 11,000 students in our state. We have also received good response in traditional sector like agriculture.
What are your key focus areas?
Largely our focus areas are agriculture and traditional arts. When the Government of India launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Yojana scheme, the State was also looking at the placement opportunities. In August 2015, we started a combination strategy taking both placement linked initiatives and self employment linked initiatives.
We also started job fairs. First such job mela was held in November 2015. We also started doing aspirations study, which was supported by North Eastern Development Finance Institution (NEDFI). At the same time, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has also been doing an aspirations study. As a result, we got a big data of youth workforce population (around 1 lakh) projected until 2022.
Subsequently, we approached Ministry Of Development Of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Ministry of Skill and NEC besides opening corporate social responsibility funding .
In December 2015, under the mandatory skill mission, we had started the skill department. We are fairly new in terms of skill department, but we have a significant experience in terms of skilling. In the last one year, we had trained 3,900 people and placed 3,500 youths in different organisations.
Tell us about hospitality and tourism sector?
Hospitality and Tourism are the key aspirations of our youths.
After we were declared as an organic state this year, we started focusing on revamping our entire outlook on farming. Earlier, it was just training on agriculture, but now it is end to end linkage (from procurement to selling and branding of the product) on farming. We have created certain clusters, and we have taken the key crops by focusing on spices, keeping all the four districts of the state in loop.
Tell us about regional resource centre?
The regional resource centre concept has also worked very well. We have already worked with several skill societies including Nagaland skill initiative society, Manipur and Mizoram skill initiative society. The responses have been encouraging and we hope to mobilize the other adjoining states as well. We have a special web portal for the promotion of skill. It’s www.skillyoungindia.com and under this portal we have tied up with the NSDC. We are also coming with enewsletter called ‘enabled’, which literally helped our mission. Skill Young India provide base for trainees looking for opportunities and industry looking for skilled labour.
How do you find skill resources in Sikkim and other north eastern states in comparison to the rest of country?
For that I would like to give credit to the leadership of our Chief Minister. We are reaping the benefits from the projects we had started a decade back. He initiated the projects of ‘livelihood schools’ which was essentially focused on local resources and local requirements. And now with the skill India mission and skilled linked jobs coming up, the game has become bigger.
In that way, the concept of livelihood school has helped us a lot. It also helped our partners with the ready to use infrastructure.
What about the logistics for skill mission?
If you look at the logistical part, which are required for mobilisation, I think the entire northeast is suffering from lack of funds. I would strongly recommend that the Government of India must pool funds for the mobilisation to enter in some of the remote areas of the region.
Certain strategy which worked in rest of the country for example media, it may not work in a state like Arunachal Pradesh. So, there should be sufficient funds for the on ground mobilisation through local self governance.
We are doing this by building an end-to-end curriculum of educational games, which offer a deep gaming plus educational experience.
Sikkim has been announced as the organic state of India. What is its relation with the Skill Sector?
When we talk of skilling, it should be for employability. With skill initiatives, everybody should be able to earn their livelihood. Announcement of Sikkim as the organic state is our USP. And we want to use that unique selling proposition for our advantage. Organic as such is a technical phenomena, and under that we should be able to get better advantage of our skill mission. n