Updated: September 5, 2020 8:16:15 pm
As the latest unlock guidelines come into effect, Telangana has decided to go ahead with the rehabilitation of the Gulf migrants who have recently returned to the state owing to Covid-19 pandemic and other reasons.
While the pandemic has expedited the process of their return, it was in October last year that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had urged people from the state in the Gulf, especially those working as labourers in the construction sector, to return. He had promised to train them at the National Academy of Construction (NAC) and assured them employment in the local construction sector in consultation with realtors and builders.
As of date, over 19,000 migrants have registered with the NAC — via ‘https://tsnac.cgg.gov.in — after returning from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries amids the pandemic. An ongoing short-term amnesty offered by the United Arab Emirates facilitated the return of many overstaying migrants without a penalty or prosecution.
Though the plan to train Gulf returnees was derailed by the spread of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar convened a meeting with different officials and NAC has now geared up to start the training programme from September 21.
The director of Training and Placements at the NAC, I Shanti Sree, told indianexpress.com that the state government has given a green signal and the labour department is coordinating the efforts while following the COVID-19 protocol.
“The details of over 19,000 registered persons have been shared with different realtors and builders associations. Already 4,500 persons have been absorbed by the local construction sector. The process is underway,” she said. The NAC has set a target of training 15,000 persons in the next six months.
According to her, the NSQF (national skill qualification framework) curriculum for different job roles developed by the NSDC (national skill development corporation) is being taken into consideration for training, with certain industry intervention for acknowledging the latest demands and technology adaptation.
The training will be imparted to all those involved in different trades of construction, ranging from a mason, carpenter, electrician, welder, painter, etc to plumber, driver, and false ceiling installer, etc
“It is going to be a 15-day training for skill upgradation. We are taking 20 persons per batch keeping COVID-19 SOPs in mind. Multiple batches will be given training simultaneously to achieve a target of training 15,000 persons in six months,” she added.
The returnees have to also register themselves with the Government of India’s SWADES portal, which will connect them to employers across the country, said Mandha Bheem Reddy, a senior migrant rights activist and the president of Emigrants Welfare Forum, according to whom, there is a shortage of skilled workers across India. “The Gulf returnees are trained on international benchmarks and have exposure to big projects. The state and the Centre should properly use their skills. This will also ensure lesser wastage of resources.”
‘Overseas recruitment will pick-up once again post-pandemic’
Meanwhile, the demand across the world for skilled professionals is expected to rise, said officials at the Telangana Overseas Management Company (TOMCOM), a state-government initiative for skill development, training, and overseas recruitment.
“There are challenges and post-pandemic, we are hoping for a surge in demand for healthcare and nursing professionals in the UK, Japan, etc. There are a lot of employment opportunities coming up in European countries. We have MoUs signed with the UK and authorities have expressed willingness to recruit any number of our nurses, provided they secure a band score of seven in IELTS,” said Naga Bharati, general manager, TOMCOM.
Bharati said the pandemic has resulted in job loss, mostly for unskilled workers, while employers are ready to retain skilled employees in different ways. “The problem is that those who return home would want to go back soon. That’s the cycle. So, they should at least upskill themselves with, for example, an ITI (Industrial Training Institutes) certification to be in a better bargaining position.” They should either register themselves with TOMCOM via online or approach any of the registered overseas recruitment agencies in Telangana for better accountability and services, she said.
For the record, the TOMCOM, which started operations in 2016, has been able to provide overseas employment to only 135 candidates between 2016 and 2019. In the current year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities have hit a roadblock.
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