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We train a hundred thousand Indian youth every year: Founder, Yuva Parivartan

Apr 22, 2013

Yuva Parivartan, an NGO working in the area of building skills of unemployed young people in India recently organised the ‘Third International Summit on Skill Development’ in New Delhi. The occasion provided for an exchange of thought on the subject of providing vocational training to millions of young people in India. Speaking to OneWorld South Asia, Kishor Kher, founder of Yuva Parivartan and President-Trustee of Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, spoke of the social and economic problems the country could face in the absence of any credible training to its youth population. Excerpts from the interview:

Kishor Kher

OneWorld South Asia: How does Yuva Parivartan work for the welfare of the unemployed youth?

Kishor Kher: Yuva Parivartan is a 15- year-old project which provides livelihoods training to the less educated and deprived youth. We work all over India in about 20 states and train about one lakh (one hundred thousand) youth every year. We have many formats, including our own centres and the partnership centres.

We also have mobile rural camps, extension centres and community centres and all of these are used for the purpose of training.

OWSA: How crucial is it for the Indian government to train young people?

Kher:  Skill training has to be provided to 550 million youth in India by 2020–if youth are not trained properly they will pose both a social and an economic problem. Instead of running after industry, the Indian government should use the social development sector more actively than it has have been doing so far.

OWSA: How can the millions of unskilled and unemployed youth in India offer an opportunity to the government?

Kher: In the recent past, that is last five to seven years, population, particularly the youth, have been considered to be an asset and not a liability. Fifty per cent of the population in our country is below the age of 25 and it contributes to the economic growth. Therefore, human resource in India is a great asset but for it to be useful, this manpower has to be skilled.

OWSA: What is the biggest disconnect between the youth and the opportunities available for them?

Kher:  The existing disconnect is due to the absence of skilled young people. While on the one hand there are a number of vacancies, yet they cannot be filled due to lack of skilled hands.

Once the people are trained with skills, there is also a question of connecting these people with suitable jobs. This also poses a big challenge. It is unfortunate that the government thinks only about the urban and the educated youth.

The government has failed to think about 80 per cent of people who do not complete their schooling.  Secondly, 90 per cent of the jobs are in the unorganised sector, while the policy makers think only about the 10 per cent of the jobs in the organised sector.

OWSAWhat kind of role can financial literacy play for inclusive development?

Kher:   Financial inclusion is of great significance if we want to bring the deprived people from the barter economy to a monetised economy.

If the marginalised people don’t have the bank account, where will they keep their money?  The concept of saving is missing if they keep the money in their homes. Therefore, financial inclusion is essential and bank accounts for these people need to be opened without much hassle, so that the people who are out of the monetised economy are brought into it.

Once you have a bank account you learn about many financial instruments. Financial inclusion and literacy are very crucial if the country wants to surge ahead in the direction of training its workforce.

OWSA:  How do you think the Aadhaar-based direct cash transfer system for people availing the schemes sponsored by the government can accelerate the pace of financial inclusion?

Kher:  If implemented properly, such a step will prove to be a great boon to the people. It shall be also helpful in further pushing up the savings base.

OWSA: How do you think the government has failed in providing skills to its young population?

Kher:  The Indian government has not failed in policy making but it has failed at the level of implementation. While the government does have good intentions for providing skills to its people, there is no one to execute these.

The desired results will not be seen unless the good policies are implemented in a right way. There is a total disconnect between policy making and implementation.

It is paradoxical that the policy makers are running after the 20 per cent of the educated youth or the eight per cent jobs in the organised sector because they belong to the upper class and relate to its needs and thus do not cater to the marginalised or the deprived youth.

OWSA: Should the government involve the private sector in scaling up the skill-building of young Indians?

Kher: More than industry, social development sector which has been largely ignored, is actually interested in working in this domain and that too at a very low cost.

Instead of encouraging the social development sector, the government is doing the same for the private sector which does not seem to take us anywhere.  Private sector will engage in the process of skill training only if they can make a lot of money out of it whereas social development sector will do the same if they can cover the cost of training.

There are over 3 million registered NGOs in India. Even if only one per cent (30,000 approx), work for training the youth, they can make a big difference.

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