More than five years after it was started by the previous UPA government, the Centre has decided to withdraw Udaan, a Special Industry Initiative (SII) scheme in Jammu and Kashmir meant to give skill training to the local youth in partnership with corporate entities and make them employable, due to lack of enthusiasm to work outside the state, among others, according to officials.
The decision to withdraw the SII, it is learnt, was based on multiple factors, including the fact that not many youths showed interest in taking up employment outside the Valley, and MNCs were unable to provide all opportunities in Kashmir.
“There was a large talent pool but the prominent issue flagged by many who did not want to take up employment outside the state was safety and security. Several of those trained (as part of the Udaan project) also returned to J&K to set up entrepreneurial ventures,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
Officials at North Block also said that another reason to discontinue Udaan was the fact that two other such employment schemes – Skill Development and Employment Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana – are being run in J&K to train and provide employment to the youths.
The Centre released Rs 22.94 crore to the state government in 2017-18 for implementation of Centrally Sponsored State Managed (CSSM) component of the scheme covering all districts, officials said.
While the target of Udaan, when it was launched in 2013, was to reach out to 57,000 youths in J&K over a period of five years, officials said they were able to train more than 30,000 youths, of whom more than 15,000 people were placed with domestic and multinational companies (MNCs).
Udaan was meant to train graduates, postgraduates, and three-year diploma holders in engineering from J&K for a period of five years.
Formed on the basis of the Rangarajan Committee’s recommendations, Udaan was an initiative towards capacity-building by making the youth employable.
The National Skill Development Corporation ran the scheme, which was funded by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Under the Narendra Modi government, Udaan was being implemented by the Skill Development Ministry, set up in 2014 by carving it out from the Labour Ministry.
As part of the project, 37 firms partnered with NSDC to train the youths.