Empowering Rural Youth

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Gayathri B Kalia Chief Operating Officer (Skills), DDU-GKY, Ministry of Rural Development

Gayathri B Kalia Chief Operating Officer (Skills), DDU-GKY, Ministry of Rural Development

The aim of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya-Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) is to make rural poor youth economically independent. Gayathri B Kalia, Chief Operating Officer (Skills), DDU-GKY, Ministry of Rural Development, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN) shares about the roadmap to empower the rural youth and placing them in jobs

What is Deen Dayal Upadhyaya – Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)?

DDU-GKY (previously known as Ajeevika Skills) is the Placement-linked skill training division of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) announced on Antyodaya Diwas, 25th September, 2014. It has recently adopted the vision to ‘transform rural poor youth into economically independent and globally relevant workforce.’

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What does DDU-GKY do?

About 69 per cent of the country lives in villages. Agriculture is the largest employer (about 48% of its 490 million strong workforces), but resulting in only 13 per cent share of the GDP of the country. Rural poverty is a reality and the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Skill India’ is a strategic initiative. In line with the PM’s vision and the objectives of MoRD (poverty alleviation as well as economic empowerment) DDU-GKY, in partnership with private industry, is empowering this fraternity with skills and placing them in jobs.

DDU-GKY has pioneered the concept of placement linkage, job retention and career progression as part of its action and mandate, with clear goals as well as incentives associated with each, prescribing 75 per cent placements and a minimum wage of `6,000 per month.

Of the 21 and more skill training programme employed by the Government of India, DDU-GKY is unique in its tight focus on rural poor youth, and its ownership of the entire Skilling Life-Cycle, from mobilisation to migration and career progression. This often involves appreciation of the inherent rural challenges like supporting the individual through his or her journey from an ‘anganwadi’ of just 10-12 households to a large city like New Delhi, with a population of over 15 million, a culture of consumption and literally, an out-of-this-world glitzy lifestyle.

What is the success rate of DDU-GKY?

From April, 2012 till 31st March, 2015, DDU-GKY has trained over 5.08 lakh and placed over 3.65 lakh candidates. Currently, it has over 240 on-going projects, with over 350 training centers, developing skills among candidates in over 40 trades across the country which will impact over 7.9 lakh candidates in the next two years at an investment of over `2,660 crores.

But the real success of the programme lies in what has made these numbers possible. Some of them are:

DDU-GKY works in the Public-Private partnership mode, with over 1,200 registered training partners across the country and another 1,200 partners wanting affiliation and investments. This has allowed the division to access the best of the resources and deliver programmes of quality.

DDU-GKY works with a business-like ‘Outcome Oriented Process’, which is division agnostic and can be employed as a ‘best practice’ across many skilling programmes, through its guidelines, Standard Operating Processes (SOPs) and a self-learning system that can adapt to the real-world situation. What this has achieved is standardisation in process and delivery, development of world-class training infrastructure and an ability to build scale and capacity.

DDU-GKY is accessible across the length and breadth of the country. It has pioneered regional inclusion of disadvantaged areas like the NorthEast (a different share of investment to facilitate larger numbers), Himayat (J&K, a special programme) and Roshni (programme for those in LWE affected districts). And social inclusion through provisions like reservation of near 50% for SC/ST population, 33% for women (thereby tapping into a large potential workforce), 15% for minorities and 3% for persons with disabilities. In fact, with respect to disadvantaged groups like PwDs or victims of human trafficking, DDU-GKY is putting in place dedicated infrastructure and resources.

Another key factor is the ability of DDU-GKY to innovate. Innovation in using technology in very interesting ways. Like, a possibility of remote site management through CCTV image capture of its training infrastructure. Like, for instance, in introducing training modules in Life Skills, basic IT skills and Communication (English) in every skill programme. This makes candidates employable in a wide range of organisations, from MSMEs to MNCs.

Like, for instance in introducing GeoTagged Bio-metric Attendance recording system, details of which can be accessed over the web. Also, in case of blended learning content (audio, video and online in addition to books and lectures) delivered through video infrastructure and a Tablet PC, dedicated for the use of each individual in training.

And innovations beyond technology include the facilitation of ‘Migration Support Centers’. It’s the place in a big city the candidate can call home and go to as frequently as needed. Counseling in Migration Support Centers is to help candidates adapt from village life to work life full of targets and demands. Like, for instance, its champion employer policy or Industry Internship Programme. Champion Employer is an engagement with employers who commit to training and employ 10,000 or more in 2 years. An industry internship is where the candidates get the opportunity to not only learn on the job but also a step into a permanent role after one year. Both have introduced newer training techniques, pedagogy and benchmarked infrastructure from world-class employers.

Last but not the least, is DDU-GKY’s ability to soak in, learn from and develop ‘best practices’, and share the same in a constructive ‘to-do’ manner with its Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). This has, in particular, aligned DDU-GKY as the implementing arm, for several of the initiatives of the Government, like Smart Cities, Digital India and Make in India. Smart cities can be smart only when its residents are e-savvy and can put the digital and active interfaces of government to good use. Digital India is not only about seeping in infrastructure, the hardware and the software, but the people ware. It is the smart ‘digitally skilled’ users who eventually will help realise the dream of a 100 smart cities. Likewise, DDU-GKY is one of the primary assets in the ‘Make in India’ programme, wherein investors can be assured of large numbers of ‘ready-to work’ manpower from day one.

What is the focus of DDU-GKY this year?

As it builds scale and capacity, DDUGKY is focusing and investing in quality, which has many definitions and action areas. Some of them are addressed in the SOPs, but most mean pushing the bar upwards continuously. DDU-GKY has a multi-pronged approach and view of quality. It has instituted man-toman initiatives like training of trainers, bringing together subject matter and domain experts to the benefit of the frontline trainers in PIAs. At the same time, it is also taking global initiatives bringing to access the best in very specific skill areas or trades to ensure that candidates can benefit from a better understanding of automation in blue-collar work profiles.

Another key focus area is alignment with strategic HR goals and newer management models in managing the human resource. This is a mutually beneficial partnership that will allow industry to gain access to adequate men and women, better leverage through cost sharing (8-12% savings) and DDUGKY in gaining better systems, future alignment and most importantly, a better grip on skill demand. It is an ideal tomorrow if DDU-GKY can cater to the skill demand of the world, scalable from the micro (each individual) to macro (country-wide demand). It is with this thinking that DDU-GKY is keenly seeking opportunities to partner with HR leaders and seed strategic thinking in the skilling Eco-system, including employers ranging from MSME to large MNC organisations.

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