Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar
Minister of Labour and Employment, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
Maharashtra is pushing agro-skill initiative of the current government as the state still remains on the forefront of agricultural advancements, says Nilangekar.
The western Indian state of Maharashtra has always been a pathfinder in various development initiatives. While skilling is one of the prime agendas of the present government, the state is striving hard to make enterprising overseas connections that will help turn Maharashtra into a hub of knowledge and innovation. In an interview with Biz@India, Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, the minister of labour and employment, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of the Maharashtra state government reveals his plans and future programmes to position Maharashtra with an improved framework and infrastructure of skill development in the country.
What are the major focus areas for skill development in your state? Which sectors are best suited for your state and the youth there?
The government of Maharashtra has envisaged to equip 45 million people with employable skills by 2022 as part of the overall plan of Government of India (GoI). Major focus areas for skill development in the state of Maharashtra are as follows.
Outcome based approach: Maharashtra has focused on outcome based approach in providing wage or self-employment opportunities to the youth across all the skill development programmes and initiatives implemented in the state.
Women empowerment: The vocational training programmes for women and the institutional network providing training facilities exclusively for women has been expanded, so that they can obtain skills with high wage and self-employment potential. In order to promote skills and employability of women, the sector that employs a large number of women has been identified. These include home-based traditional crafts, garment making, beauty culture, gems and jewellery, etc.
Industry demand driven training: In Maharashtra, the Industry Linked Skill Development Programmes (ILSDP) aims to provide industry demand driven training to enable the marginalised demographic to explore employment opportunities and sustainable livelihood options. With support from corporates in India and abroad, ILSDP aims to train and provide employable opportunities for the youth. Till date, there are a total of 50+ ILSDP partners across Maharashtra. Several Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) have been adopted under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has adopted the ITI located at Igatpuri District in Nashik, Maharashtra, in order to equip the local youth with necessary technical skills for them to seek well-paying and respectable jobs in the state’s burgeoning manufacturing industry.
Bharat Forge Ltd. adopted ITI Khed (Rajguruanagar), Pune to start five trades (seven units). This led to increased number of industries collaborating under apprenticeship scheme, results improved and intake capacity also increased. In 2011-12, 44 ITIs were proposed for upgradation through PPP model with industry partners such as CEAT Tyres, Bajaj Auto Ltd. Pune, TATA Motors Ltd., Lupin Foundation, and Ashok Leyland Ltd. Nagpur to mention few.
High demand sectors for the state of Maharashtra include construction, production and manufacturing, textile, automobile, tourism and hospitality, healthcare, banking, finance and insurance, retail, transportation and logistics, IT an ITES, agro processing, apparel, media and entertainment, and pharmaceutical and chemical.
There is special stress on ‘Agro skill initiative of current government’. Maharashtra still remains on the forefront of agricultural advancements and with an impressive number of progressive farmers and professionals it has grown to newer areas. The state has also witnessed entry of non-farming community showing interest in agriculture especially in the areas of dairy and food technology and management.
What scope do you see for collaboration with European countries in this? What kind of activities have already been undertaken in this regard?
Set up Centre of Excellence: Europe India Foundation for Excellence (EIFE) in collaboration with the government of Maharashtra and along with renowned industry players shall open Centre of Excellence in the state to provide world-class infrastructure and training to the youth. Linkages with industry will also help in providing direct employment opportunities for the youth of the state.
Overseas placement and skill training centre: We are planning to set up an overseas placement and skill training centre. The most important aspect of this placement centre is that it will provide end-to-end emigration support, orientation sessions (skills, languages, etc.), interview sessions and post placement support. The state is envisaging G2G contract. A collaboration with European countries will foster the growth of the aspirants not only in terms of placements outside the country but also help them in self-grooming and support. Set up incubators: To promote startups, Maharashtra in collaboration with European countries can set up incubators in the state to leverage the expertise and experience of various stakeholders at EIFE. Renowned industry players, funding agencies, domain experts, trainers, backward and forward linkages stakeholders, etc., will motivate the start-ups and act as a catalyst tool for start-up in Maharashtra.
Organise international exposure visits: To understand best practices and replicate the same in the state, exposure visits and interaction between organisations is of crucial importance. Maharashtra is keen for such collaborations and learn from best practices across the globe in the field of skill development.
Activities that have been taken:
• Government of Maharashtra has signed agreement with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who are currently supporting more than 15 projects across the state on poverty reduction, skill development, energy and environment and governance.
• University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have issued regulations/guidelines on collaboration between Indian and foreign universities with a view to increase synergy between Indian and foreign academic institutions; to offer students additional choices and; to improve curriculum and the delivery of knowledge and educational content.
• Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) and European Union from June 2014 to June 2016 on the India-EU Skill Development Project for enhanced capacity of beneficiary institutions, referencing the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) to the European Qualifications Framework and enhancement of labour market information systems and analysis practices at the national and state levels on a pilot basis.
• MoU between MSDE and UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills through UKIERI Phase II.
• MoU between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Tamkeen, Bahrain in February 2014 for sharing best practices and methodologies for training youth.
• India and Germany signed an agreement that aims to foster conditions that will help create and improve workplace-based vocational training in India’s industrial clusters.
• Maharashtra government with Sakal International Learning Centre (SILC) has been working towards up-skilling such professionals and progressive farmers through various short and long term courses. SILC has developed courses and programmes for agriculture sector with the help of Palladium and Hebrew University, Israel meeting the various needs of the industry and individuals based on gaps identified.
• The Maharashtra government has signed MoU with Blackstone and Panchshil SPV for three projects for generation of some 50,000 jobs.
What are the main challenges that the state faces today and how can international/European experts and training companies help in this regard?
Quality of training, infrastructure facilities, linking skilling with placements, industry collaborations, retention, counselling, etc., are some of the main challenges being faced by the state today.
International training companies and experts would help us in streamlining and strengthening our skill development initiatives. Dissemination of information, sharing of best practices, which will then be modified and replicated in the state to address the challenges.
India has the largest workforce, which can be skilled with innovation and knowledge available locally and globally. Fostering such partnership, which would benefit both India and firms in Europe is the key need of the hour.
What are your objectives in the Global Skill Development Meet 2017 and what kind of takeaways are you looking for?
Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, government of Maharashtra is organising Global Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Conference 2017 in November in Mumbai, which will position India as the leader in skill development and entrepreneurship. The conference is aimed to be one of the largest platforms across the world to share best practices. The conference would also help the government to promote apprenticeship and entrepreneurship. The theme based conference will be held annually in Maharashtra with a unique element every year. This year the theme of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Conference will be – ‘Global Skill Conference 2017-Women Apprenticeship & Entrepreneurship’. The conference is aimed at highlighting the opportunities thrown open for stimulating entrepreneurial activities among women in today’s globalised world. It would highlight specific schemes and programmes devised by governments to create an enabling environment for women to take active participation in economic activities and focus on how women could utilise the opportunities to their competitive advantage.
This event is particularly essential for achieving the goals of sustainable development and inclusive growth. It will identify the bottlenecks hindering their growth to entitle full participation in the business. It will provide a platform for entrepreneurial development thus promoting entrepreneurship among women, which will in turn contribute to the rapid economic growth and development. The event will provide room for sharing experiences putting a thrust on reviving the global co-operation on women entrepreneurship development.
The underlying objectives of this conference will be: • Strengthening the aim of job creation, start-ups and promoting entrepreneurship in the state and creating opportunities for Indian youth and women in particular • Establishing India and especially Maharashtra as a powerhouse and thought leader in skill development with priority focus on women • Identify existing success stories and role model for budding women entrepreneurs cutting across sectors in the rural and urban landscape of the state and country • Avail comprehensive toolkits to facilitate joint venture opportunities for economic empowerment, increased production, job creation and poverty alleviation • Collaborating with global powers in skill development, entrepreneurship and training • Partnering with various countries with shortage of skilled manpower to cater to their needs • Getting participation and commitment of the corporate sector in partnering with the government in its aim of skilling 400 million Indians by 2022 and covering at least 40 pc to 50 pc women.