Gearing for an Economic Boom in the North East

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Gearing for an Economic Boom in the North East

The North-East India, of late, is being seen as a fertile recruitment ground for IT and BPO service providers. The government and private players are using this opportunity to provide relevant skills training to the population. Public – Private Partnerships are crucial to these developments,
with companies willing to invest in training requirements..

The Government of Megahalya signed a MoU with Symantec, a foreign franchise, to develop and implement IT skills development
and IT educational programmes in the state. The MoU is aimed at enhancing the skill requirements of IT graduates, besides maintaining a database of certifi ed participants, that can feed into employment initiatives. The focus is to take a holistic skill development approach, understand industry requirements and create specifi c development initiatives. The training programme is being offered by the state government free of cost. The state government has been encouraging and attempting to approach IT and ITES companies to invest in the state, with the objectives of creating IT employment, improving IT infrastructure and using IT as a catalyst to fuel economy in other industries. The state government has also asked the company to conduct job fairs in Shillong so that students can be provided placements in top fi rms after the completion of the programme. Around 2000 students will be benefi ted in the fi rst phase of the programme. According to the agreement Symantec is responsible for implementing education services in the State thereby running a training program to train about 2000 candidates in  its fi rst phase. This will help in creating employment opportunities for candidates both inside
and outside the state. Symantec has partnered with ETPL (India) to compile sample profi les of graduates from different disciplines and establish skill requirement to develop IT orientation.
Dale Smith, Senior Director of Education Services, APJ, Symantec elaborates on the details of the program. According to her, Symantec’s program imbibes good quality orientation, superior process delivery and a keen emphasis on information availability and security on every trained student forhigher job achievement. Also, by providing trained professionals to the industry the state will be able to give signifi cant and sustained cost advantage, attributed to the wide differential in wage-costs and productivity gains achieved by fi rms in sourcing from Meghalaya. Another fi rm to have taken this attempt forward is Genpact, one of the country’s top BPO employers. Tata Consultancy Services and 24/7 Cus-

Meghalaya recently signed a MoU
with Symantec for skills development in the state. Could you give us details about the programme?
It is a fact that the Government of Meghalaya had signed an MoU with Symantec, for IT skill development programmes in the state. As a matter of fact, the tie up also includes advisory services and residency programme for the fi rst year. So far, Symantec has conducted the training programme and provided training for 1941 students. Besides, 531 students have been certifi ed so far.
Could you elaborate on the present
situation of skill development initiatives in Meghalaya?
Symantec and NIIT have been responsible for the skill development of the students in Meghalaya. Symantec has trained around 1941 student in various IT security related courses whereas NIIT was instrumental in training students in various courses like IT Fundamentals and Tally, Diploma in Financial Accounting, Diploma in Information Technology, and Networking. The courses offered by Symantec are almost in the fi nal stages whereas the courses offered by NIIT are still going on. In addition, IT Department, GoM also supported DOEACC Society for conducting IT skill development
What have been the challenges in the process of implementing the skill development initiatives in the state?
The challenges in implementing the skill development initiative in the state have included hurdles like the mismatch between the course content and student expectations. Also, since the courses offered are free of cost, the youth often do not take it seriously. Post training placement avenues have been a challenge too.
What are the emerging areas in IT that you foresee for the state?
Emerging areas in IT that have the potential to fl ourish include BPOs and Software Services. BPOs can very well utilise the availability of manpower which is fl uent in English, while the software services can make use of the eligible resources.
What is the importance accorded to
PPP models?
Public Private Partnerships are of crucial importance in skills development initiatives. NIIT and Symantec are important collaborations for skill development. BASIX has been appointed on a PPP mode to run CSCs in Meghalaya. Other projects, apart from IT related projects, have also been initiated on a PPP / BOOT (Build Own Operate Transfer) model in the state. Recently, several companies have evinced interest in setting up their businesses in Meghalaya. Your comments. With several e-Governance project initiatives on the forefront, companies are looking at investing in Meghalaya. There are several reasons for this trend. The state government has been encouraging and supporting numerous developmental projects. Also, peaceful environment has prevailed in the state during the last 10 years. Low-cost production inputs for the companies due to easily available workforce has also been a reason for the trend. Besides, these companies can easily tap the knowledge, technological aptitude, and ingenuity of this available workforce. Additionally, the state has a strategic location and easy access to other neighboring states.

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tomer have also joined the bandwagon. Low attrition rate, good knowledge of the English language and a sense of loyalty are the qualities that are being touted as the key factors in promoting this trend. The north-east India is being seen as a fertile recruitment ground for IT and BPO service providers. The hiring trend among BPO’s are refl ective of this development. Firms like 24/7 Customer has hired about 150 people from north-east and east India in the last few years, while Maveric Systems, an independent testing organisation, has hired 24 students from four engineering colleges and one university there. In order to improve the technical skills the employees, companies are also willing to invest in training requirements of the new recruits. ‘24/7 Varsity’ programme was launched in Guwahati by 24/7 Customer to educate lecturers in universities in skills required for the BPO industry. Signifi cant investments are expected with the entry of IT and BPO fi rms, which will automatically result  n the overall development of the region. The latest phenomenon is of crucial importance even for the IT and the BPO industry in the context of the industry facing a severe shortage of manpower. Currently, the industry employs 1.6 million people. Despite this, supply of quality manpower has for long been a nemesis for the industry

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