Monday, September 14, 2009

The draft policy on Sikkim CM Youth Empowerment Scheme released

Sikkim Youth need to change viewpoint on Sarkari Jagira: YED Draft report
GANGTOK, September 13: Pegging a figure of 21,000 unemployed youth in Sikkim, the Directorate of Capacity Building has stressed the need to set up an autonomous body Youth Empowerment Directorate (YED) to directly intervene in the building of capacity and capability of young people and place them in the opportunities that are ‘otherwise going to the people from outside the State’.
“This will be one of the arms of the government in its overall Livelihood Mission’, states a draft policy document on Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment Scheme released on Saturday by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
Targeting to solve the 21,000 unemployed youth problem by 2015, the YED is proposed to be an integral part of the State government’s policy of zero tolerance toward youth unemployment which it has identified as a scourge of the society.
Apart from setting up YED, the policy proposed is to constantly monitor the laws and legal requirements to regulate the employment scenario in the State and interact with private, Centre and other players to see that opportunities are made available to local youth who are well positioned to do it as well as facilitate such proactive action.
The policy is also to constantly monitor the remuneration and other facilities that the private and public sector units offer to the youth of the State and see to it that there is no discrimination in this with respect to that on offer to other States in the country.
“Make available every year a state of Employment Status Report and table it in the Legislative Assembly”, the draft policy says recommending adequate financial resources for the first five years to the proposed YED.
The YED is expected to fully functionally by July 2010 with the proposed budget of Rs. 5130 lakhs. It is proposed to be an autonomous body governed by select body of eminent people from both government and civil society with independent financial powers. It will also select trainees in collaboration with decentralized grass root organizations and civil society.
The need to restructure Directorate of Capacity Building (DCB) set up in 2007 was justified with the rising unemployment in the State.
“In view of the new policy initiative and the Socio Economic Census 2006 conducted by DESME which shows that the total number of unemployed youth as 17620, now estimated to be around 21000, there is a need to restructure the DCB”, says the report.
The majority of the 21,000 unemployed youth is from rural areas and is school dropouts from Class V to Class VIII with modest sources of household income and a change in perspective is required to make significant inroads in tackling and eliminating the high rates of unemployment, the draft report outlines. It is necessary to categorize the youth broadly as per their qualification and adequate opportunities have to be provided for youth with disabilities and as well as gender sensitivity, the report observes.
Regarding the reasons for high rate of unemployment, the draft report states that though formal education system has reached the villages, it is widely accepted that the education system of the country is not related to the skills required in the labour market. Also, the youth of the State view ‘Sarkari Jagira’ as prestigious and secure and that there lies a perception that private sector jobs for people with lower skill levels do not offer adequate security and payment, the report says.
“An intensive campaign is required to educate the public that there is a limit to the number of jobs the government can create and that the youth must prepare themselves for private sector employment and or establish business enterprises”, the report states. It also underlined the need to develop the agriculture sector which will employ most of the rural young people.
The draft policy offers the strategy for mitigation of youth unemployment where by 2014, the State government shall utilize the services of YED and allied agencies to substantially reduce the number of unemployed youth from ages 15-35 by providing a range of free and paid for services to create a highly skilled workforce. The services proposed were counseling, education, skill development and training, business incubation, entrepreneurship, mentoring, market linkage and other livelihood options.
The YED also proposed to provide placement assistance by creating an IT enabled employed portal, apprenticeship opportunities in partnership with business houses, seed capital for small business enterprises through SIDICO, SABCCO and other financial institutions and entrepreneurship training to teach business survival skills.