While the Maharashtra government has ambitious plans to expand the scope of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), that provides skill training and generates employment for socio-economically backward youth, only a handful of institutes have shown interest this year to join the programme. The government has extended its deadline from February 28 to March 15 after only nine institutes applied to join the programme when invitations were sent out in February this year.
Initially named Swarna Jayanti Gramin Swarozgar Yojana, the DDU-GKY was repackaged and launched in 2014 by the BJP-led government. It aims to provide employment to rural youth aged between 18 and 35 years by training them for three months in residential hostels and providing employment opportunity in hospitality, retail, e-commerce and healthcare.
Data from Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission shows the government has linked 110 institutes since 2016 which have trained 26,521 youth and provided employment to 20,554. In all, 36,500 youth have been enrolled for skill training. The state government has, however, fallen short of reaching the target of training 58,000 rural youth between 2016 and 2019. Officials claim several rural candidates are unwilling to migrate from the deep interiors for skill training.
This year, with a target of training 1.25 lakh people in the next three years, the government is keen to enroll more institutes. “This scheme is seeing 70 per cent job placements. But we need more institutes and organisations to expand the reach,” said R Vimala, CEO of Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission. Each institute is paid Rs 90,000 for skill-training one rural youth for three months. The scheme mandates they have to target minimum 33 per cent women, enroll 31 per cent from Scheduled Tribe and 20 per cent from minority communities to ensure overall growth.
With only nine new institutes interested this time, officials suspect several may have refrained from enrolling due to the end of the financial year. The rural department has started holding workshops with industry to encourage them to apply. “We held one workshop last month for institutes. This month too we will be meeting industry partners to encourage them to apply,” an official said.
Mayur Pillewar, from Quess Corporation Ltd, one of the project implementation institutes that has trained 900 people in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Washim, Parbhani, Wardha, Beed and Gadchiroli, said, “In Beed, parents are unwilling to send their daughters to residential hostels for training. The challenge is to change the mindset.” He added that while rural youth complete their training, they drop out during job placements due to unease with corporate culture.
Data from the central government shows 6.95 lakh youth have been trained in India, of which 3.48 lakh were placed until January end since the scheme was launched.According to the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, in India only an estimated 4.69 per cent of the total workforce has undergone formal skill training as compared to 68 per cent in the UK, 80 per cent in Japan and 52 per cent in the US.