There are simple reminders that life often throws at us which tell us about the genuineness and beauty of people that live around us. One of the many things that I find fascinating when I travel to remote parts of India is to see our people having genuine intention to do well and to accomplish something in their life. I believe people are innately good and want to do things in life by seeking opportunities.
Their attitude is a far cry and a relief from the general negative mentality where people often convey that ‘I don’t want to, I am not interested in’. The aspirations even at the village level are big where the youth wants to make money, find good jobs and look after their parents. There is a positivity in the environment, which I have witnessed firsthand, that cuts across most of the set stereotypes we possess.
With aspirations come challenges and these youth who get enrolled at our rural centers face a very different type of challenge that we need to acknowledge in order to realize PM Modi’s Skilled India dream.
When a candidate is enrolled, we follow a stringent process that begins by checking whether candidates meet required criteria set by SSC, followed by his willingness to relocate or not. We also check if he is already employed or not, basis which verification and registration is done that ultimately leads to batch formation for training.
As the training commences, a journey of social transformation begins by taking a leap of faith, essentially required to break the existing socio-economic barriers that are prevalent in our villages. With agriculture and allied activities being the primary sources of work, these young candidates are time and again required by their families to lend their hand in various activities – from sowing to harvest etc. They have to cycle every day to our centers and if on some occasion, the cycle tyre gets punctured, they often don’t have the money to repair it. Such eventualities often delays their arrival or makes them miss the training completely. They also, at times, lose interest and drop out midway during the course.
But there are some exceptions too who, with their underlying positive attitude, are able to complete the course and get certified, get to interview and receive job confirmations. Their joining formalities, travel and accommodation are completely taken care of by our dedicated team.
But here again, the jobs – be it service or manufacturing sector, are never in the villages. They are in semi-urban or urban areas, which require them to move from where they live. This means living outside homes, having a discipline of work, getting up every day and going to work for 8 to 10 hours and doing all this at a minimum wage. They leave their village and reach Patna, where costs of survival include lodging, clothing, food and commuting.
The current job scenario is skewed towards the manufacturing sector. These jobs are generally above minimum reach and are also better quality jobs for the facilities that come along. For instance, let’s say we place candidates in Bhilwara where they live in hostels; they have food, sporting facilities, almost like an army camp. On the other hand, the service sector has no such facilities and the quality of employment is very different with the manufacturing sector, with the latter even being better-paid ones with low attrition rate and a sense of ownership to them. The service sector is tough because a worker gets minimum wages on which he has to survive. But we cater to both sectors and for us it’s not just training. We take complete charge and see ourselves as settlement executives because we see some of these candidates going from their villages and towns to a completely new environment.
For instance, we’ve had an experience of people who could not stay at their job because of unavailability of their staple food. The said set of workers eats a kind of wheat called Michli in Madhya Pradesh, which they were not getting at the work site. So we had to go and counsel the employer to provide the workers the food they are habitual of eating or ensure people from the same community stayed together to cook their own food.
The success of the country rests largely on the shoulders of our youth. India can become a manufacturing hub only if the youth, which make up 65 per cent of the population, go from being ‘cubs’ to ‘lions’ through appropriate skilling, bringing to life the lion in the Make in India logo truly come alive. Make in India is our collective responsibility, and the first step in that direction is to develop the youth. The government has made visible efforts to promote education and skill development, and thus empower citizens.