The Odisha government has decided to throw ajar the doors of its skill development centres (SDCs) and industrial training institutes (ITIs) to the Naxals who have surrendered to the state police.
In order to facilitate the entry of youths who have deserted the Naxal camp, the state government is mulling to relax the eligibility norms for admission to SDCs and ITIs.
“Instead of the mandatory 10th standard academic qualification for entry to SDCs and ITIs, we have proposed to ease it to eighth standard for the Naxalites who have abandoned insurgency and joined the mainstream. The same academic eligibility will also be valid for youths of the tribal infested regions. We have submitted our proposal to the Centre and once the approval comes through, the proposal will be implemented”, an official said.
The state government has been setting up SDCs in remote districts affected by Left Wing Extremists (LWE). Ten ITIs and five SDCs have come up in such districts. Skill training for the surrendered Red Rebels is an initiative to connect them with the mainstream.
The 'Surrender & Rehabilitation' scheme of the state government has seen more insurgents joining the mainstream. Over the last four years, more than 200 surrendered Maoists have been brought to the mainstream.
Skill development is identified as one of the focus areas of the state. With a commitment to impart skill training to the youths, the state government has formed the Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA), an apex body with a primary objective of providing employable skills to 0.63 million youth by 2018-19. The agency, which is headed by Subroto Bagchi, co-founder of IT firm MindTree guides, implements, coordinates and oversees all skill development programmes in the state to ensure quality skill training standards and sustained employability of trained youths to provide outstanding skilled workforce comparable to the best in the world.
The state government through OSDA is taking up various interventions to boost skill development in the state. OSDA has initiated and taken a number of steps to meet skilling targets as envisaged in the Chief Minister Employment Guarantee Programme and broader policy of the state from time to time. The state government has set a target to train 1.1 million youths by 2019-20.