Listen or read about multiple dimensions of Leadership,
Skill Development, Corporate Training Solutions and Vocational Education

Mobilization in Digital India

Mobilization_campaignBihar is historically one of India’s poorest regions and continues to remain so. The acute poverty in the state can be traced back to the economic decline of both its agricultural and industrial sectors. Both structural and institutional factors have played a powerful deterrent to the agrarian transformation. Even technological factors such as poor infrastructure development of resources including power and irrigation, non-availability of modern inputs, low quantum and high cost of credit and poor extension services have also contributed to the dismal performance of Bihar’s agricultural sector in the post-independence period. Not surprisingly, there is limited occupational opportunity outside the agriculture sector in Bihar.

On the other hand, Bihar enjoys a greater demographic dividend compared with other Indian states largely due to a higher percentage of youth population. While the state incidentally holds the record for the highest number of IAS enrollments on an average, the youth still require immediate attention in order to fulfill of their aspirations for good quality life, better paid jobs and self-employment opportunities.

With a large pool of young workforce, India has an opportunity to become a skill provider for the world, particularly the ageing developed world. To harness this, Prime Minister’s vision of building a skilled & employable India is one such clarion call to the youth of the country to get skilled, become employable and take charge of their own lives and add to nation’s productivity. Reaching out to the youth and motivating them to get skilled in a sector of their choice is the only way to ensure that our demographic dividend does not turn into a demographic disaster.

The Pradhan Mantri Kushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) aims to leverage the potential of India’s demographic dividend by providing skill-training and making every skilled youth employable. Training will be provided based on industry aligned National Occupational Standards through training providers and Sector Skill Councils.

Under PMKVY, candidates will be eligible for a monetary reward, upon successful completion of their training and also clearing the assessment by an independent assessment agency appointed by Sector Skill Council. Moreover the candidates will also receive a government recognized certificate which helps them become gainfully employed As the largest partner of NSDC, Centum Learning is playing a pivotal role in enabling and mobilizing a large number of Indian youth to take up outcome-based skill training, gain employable skills and earn their livelihood.

Recognizing this, we launched ‘Skills Melas’ across Bihar to sensitize and mobilize youth to enroll in various courses offered under PMKVY scheme at Centum Skill centres. At these Melas, youngsters were provided with details of various courses, available opportunities and counselled on how to become employable and earn livelihood. But again we faced a similar problem which we had dealt in past, the challenge of reaching out to millions of youth in a media dark state. While Skilling in India is a kin to evangelizing it needs disruption in the existing ecosystem to reach ‘media dark’ states in the country, where TV and print reach only 20 per cent of the population. The solution was to come out with a disruption in the way we have done mobilization.

To counter this problem, Centum launched India’s largest PPP initiative in the skilling sector when it joined hands with Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to launch a massive outreach programme through mobiles to address this ‘awareness gap’. Centum’s brainchild for mass mobilization elicited such enthusiastic response from Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal who in turn helped muster active and spontaneous support from all COAI members. Initially, the pilot launch of the massive Outreach Programme to mobilize under-privileged youth for skills training

A pilot would be rolled out in Bihar, where text and voice based awareness messages shall be sent out to a subscriber base of 1.5 crore youth. Following the pilot, the programme will be implemented nationally by core COAI members to cover nearly 400 million subscribers after the formal launch of the PMKVY scheme in July.

The mass outreach programme launched on June 18, 2015 by Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy Minister of State, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship & Parliamentary Affairs and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications.

From Left to Right, Sanjeev Duggal, CEO & Director, Centum Learning Limited; Shri Dilip Chenoy, MD & CEO, NSDC; Shri Sunil Arora, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship ; Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad- Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology; Shri Rakesh Garg, DoT Secretary and Chairman –Telecom Commission; Shri Himanshu Kapania, MD, Idea Cellular and Chairperson, COAI; Shri Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI

The approach towards skill building consists of five steps being; Employment Generation, Mobilization, Skill Training, Certification & Assessment, Placement. Centum Learning aggressively took up the cause of mobilizing under-privileged youth in skills training following the launch of a unique mobile mass-outreach programme.

The pilot for the outreach campaign was executed in Bihar, with a 2.24 million Bharti Airtel subscriber base who were targeted as part of this campaign. Interested candidates were mapped to one of the 136 counselling centres set up by Centum Learning in 38 districts of Bihar.

To begin with, telecom operators sent out SMSs & Outbound Dialing (OBDs) to the targeted subscriber base, promoting a specific number for giving missed calls. Interested candidates ca then give a missed call on the number. Once a missed call is received, an SMS was sent out in regional languages, informing candidates that he or she would be receiving a call shortly. An IVR asked for Location, Employment Status, Age and Gender was pushed to the candidate to enable profiling. Incomplete profiles would be re-targeted after 24 hours.

The data captured and reports shared in a pre-defined format for further targeting by training partners of NSDC, so that each interested candidate can be mapped to a specific training centre. Following this, an invitation message with date, time and address of the nearest centre was shared with candidates, followed by a reminder call and text message, asking them to enroll in the programme. All through, those candidates who have not been enrolled will be re-targeted through the SMS and IVR campaigns.

Finally, interested candidates were mapped to their nearest enrolment centres. Of these, three centers were built in Aarah, Ekma and Chappra to accommodate large scale skilling under various trades. Post the mass outreach, the youth of Bihar were asked to reach the nearest multi skill center. These Multi-Skill Centres offered courses for Sales Associates, Computer Operators, Beauticians, Hair Stylists, Medical Sales representatives, Mobile Repair Engineers, Helper-Plumber, Helper-Electricians, Sewing Machine Operators, Helper-Mason/Barbender, Painter-Decorator.

I am happy to share that in less than a week of launch, 3,87,408 candidates were profiled and over 40,000 candidates  across 38 districts in Bihar were enrolled under various skilling programmes. Here I would like to reiterate that our overall mission is to build and sustain a movement around India’s social transformation through skilling and such efforts clearly showcase our steps towards achieving this goal.

Read More on Mobilization in Digital India

Winning through mobilization

Aside

Winning through mobilization

When I learn about the remarkable transformation of candidates skilled by Centum Skill Development Centers, I am often overwhelmed by the magnitude of value addition in individuals’ lives. This impact cannot be truly captured through a power point presentation or a corporate film or any other marketing material.

Such individuals themselves are the protagonists of their respective stories and are ambassadors of change who have experienced success. They are role models of change for millions of others who are somewhat skeptical about the skill development programmes and therefore are not yet ready to get skilled.

And these disillusioned skeptics form our key audience for all mobilization initiatives! Mobilization is the first crucial step in reaching out to millions of rural youth sensitizing them, convincing them, answering their queries and successfully enrolling them into the training programmes. And yes, it is a herculean task.

In India, it’s easy to sell cricket or Bollywood but try talking to people about skills – you would know you are taking on an uphill task! People here do not want to move out of the comforts of their homes since that would entail not biting into the specific grain of rice that they have grown up with, for lunch or dinner. We know of instances where people have been skilled and hired by companies located a little away from the place of their residence and they left salaried jobs because the food did not suit their palate.

India stands at a crucial stage today… its strong economic growth potential coupled with its youthful population offers a galaxy of opportunities. Mobilizing these trillions of young talent will transform India into a developed country from its status of a developing economy, a tag which has stayed on for nearly seven decades.

By 2020, out of 60 per cent of the total population in the working age group, only 25 per cent would be capable of being hired by the job market. Research shows that economy of small towns is beginning to grow rapidly which in turn requires skilled manpower. However, unlike corporate in towns and cities, organizations in Tier III cities or rural India are often not big enough to hire domain experts like staffing firms, advertising agencies, etc., and do not have deep pockets to hire such services either. Hence, most of these organizations remain understaffed or staffed with not-the-right-skilled people. At times the requirement of manpower may not exist in the main industry but in the ancillary industries but neighbourhood’s youth population are mostly either not aware of it or are ill-equipped to derive benefit from such opportunities.

To meet the rising demand for skilled manpower spanning across sectors, India’s current skills landscape requires a dramatic facelift. We should create a nationwide mobilization movement closely tailored to suit the requirement of the local job market. We need to create job opportunities in places where people live in order to stop unsustainable migrations to the big cities.

Mobilization is a big word. Do we know the kind of effort and mindshare it requires? Despite mobilization being a challenging, arduous and even a life threatening task at times, our teams on the ground work round the clock in difficult conditions to connect with people at the grass roots level. They garner support and organize counseling sessions for the benefit of unemployed youth in the region. The candidates are then screened, batches are formed and training is conducted.

However, mobilization effort doesn’t end with training. Post training, our mobilization teams also work with candidates during placement to assist in relocation and hand hold them during the settling-in period so that candidates are able to settle down comfortably in their new jobs!

However, there is no denying a lot remains to be done in an era of economic growth and technological innovations, when India still lags far behind in terms of skilled workforce vis-à-vis the employment opportunities available.

Having said that, I still feel we have started taking steps in the right direction. Kudos to our mobilization warriors who are the frontrunners of this much needed army of dedicated warriors.

There are a lot of expectations from the new Government. While companies like us will continue to mobilize rural youth from different corners of the country, source and create employment opportunities and skill them, we will look up to the Government to provide the right economic environment for our initiatives to yield dividend.

Categories

Related Links

Tag Cloud