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Jobs too few at home,Manipur looks beyond

The focus is on jobs in the metros and abroad.

Written by Esha Roy | Imphal | Published: November 3, 2011 3:54:42 am

Grappling with ever rising unemployment,the Manipur government has roped in 10 placement agencies across the country to get its youths jobs outside the state. The focus is on jobs in the metros and abroad.

The government has tied up with the Indian Council of Overseas Employment and the International Organisation for Migration,which earlier this year launched an initiative on skill development for overseas employment with a focus on the Northeast. The plan is to send 10,000 youths from the Northeast to jobs abroad over the next two years.

“One of the main focuses is to get the youth here employment overseas,as they receive very few opportunities to go abroad and work. The main centres where recruitment is carried out for jobs overseas are Mumbai,Chennai and Kochi. These are where the recruiting agents are based. Our plan is to bring them to this state which has a high level of education but little employment,” says Chief Secretary D S Poonia.

The 10 companies it has tied up with include Ananda Spa,Suryavinayak,Sri Sanskara and Sunderdeep that trains in the hospitality and retail sectors. The government is also in the process of signing an MoU with C Trance that works in the aviation sector and supplies cabin crew.

Project coordinator for the International Organisation for Migration (under the Ministry of Overseas Employment) Nitin Kumar says the project was announced earlier this year to tap the human resources in all northeastern states. “The idea is to create standardised skills which will involve providing the trainees with internationally accepted qualifications. Indian qualifications aren’t always accepted abroad.”

The Northeast project is a pilot for the Ministry. “If the project is a success then in a couple of years it will be extended pan-India. According to the approximate projections which we have,there will be around 37 million unemployed by 2026 — that is about 68 per cent of the working population. Whereas there is a gap emerging with other countries — especially the European Union,which have a decreasing workforce — India can meet that gap,” he says.

Among the organisations roped in by the Centre to implement the project is Aspire,a consortium of CEOs of companies which has taken it upon itself to train a workforce. Founder and CEO Amit Bhatia says Aspire has so far been dealing in management and engineering training. “We have been working with Harvard,Cambridge,Carnegie,etc,but our main aim is to shift from the Tier I cities to the population which lives in the Tier II,III and IV cities in the country. So we are not looking at the IITs and IIMs but are trying to create a workforce outside of these elite institutions,” says Bhatia.

Bhatia says the organisation is now focusing on automotive,construction,hospitality and healthcare for its tailor-made project for the Northeast. “Indians’ employment abroad is concentrated primarily in the Gulf and some Southeast Asian countries. We have identified Korea,Denmark,Hungary and the Czech Republic as the first markets where we will export a workforce to. Within the next two years we will be sending 10,000 trained workers from the Northeast to these countries,” says Bhatia.

Prof Bijoy Kumar,Manipur University’s economics head,says the problem is not just of unemployment but of low salaries. “Only 75,000 across the state have secure government jobs with decent salaries. The rest have so negligible salaries that they can be considered unemployed,” says Kumar. Prof Amar Yumnam,also of the economics department,says that in a three million population,nearly a million are currently unemployed.

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