While the government has approved creation of the mission society authorities should set up parallel practical training centers for polishing & enhancing the traditional skills of budding entrepreneurs

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|| DR. RAJA MUZAFFAR

             In order to bring all the Government departments that undertake skill development activities under one umbrella, J&K cabinet recently gave a nod to creation of a separate Skill Development Mission Society (SDMS). This society, set up under the name and style of Jammu & Kashmir Skill Development Mission Society’ (JKSDMS), according to J&K government will be an inclusive and dedicated structure for implementation of all skill development initiatives in the state. It will work to integrate the skill development programs of centre and the state government in consultation and collaboration with all the concerned departments. The decision taken by the government is indeed a welcome step, but in addition to this, the government needs to create several practical training centers (PTC) across the state under the auspices of this proposed society and the thrust should be on enhancing traditional skills. The PTCs would be very helpful for the budding entrepreneurs who can be imparted practical training under one roof in different trades especially our traditional trades like handicrafts, dairy, sheep farming, tourism etc. It is impossible to impart skills and to create potential entrepreneurs by making them to go through lectures in class rooms, conference halls or auditoriums and not make them practically familiar with the trade which they opt. The sole government institute which imparts skills training in J&K along with necessary funding is Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI).

           The EDI would definitely be taking its trainees for field visits to poultry farms, handloom centers, dairy farms, sheep farms, motor workshops and other similar places. But without staying in these centers and living in such an atmosphere I believe that Government won’t be able to create dedicated and skilled entrepreneurs in the state. As of now the training module has been created in such a way that all the focus and thrust during entrepreneurship training is given on theory rather than practical. The power point presentations (PPT), distribution of attractive pamphlets and few field visits cannot help these budding entrepreneurs to shape their future as professionals. The proposed Skill Development Mission Society (SDMS), Entrepreneurship Development Institute’s (EDI) , ITIs, Polytechnic Colleges and other training centers imparting skill development training in hospitality, retail, agriculture, carpentry, dairy, sheep, trout farming, floriculture etc should h ave their own farms, workshops where these kind of activities could be undertaken so that budding entrepreneurs get better skills and training. In addition to it these institutions must help the entrepreneurs with market linkages as well after they establish their own enterprises.

           The EDI lays special emphasis on Dairy & Sheep farming, but they don’t own even a single dairy or sheep farm. At least one model dairy farm or sheep farm should have been established by this institute as they get sufficient funding from the government to carry forwarding their activities. The EDI lays emphasis on youth for taking up sheep farming, but it does not own even a single sheep farm in any part of state. Youth are being trained in cut flower business by the EDI team in Srinagar and Jammu but the institute hasn’t developed its own floriculture farm. Youth are being trained in hospitality and tourism related skills, but the Institute has not established even a small tourist guest house. This should not be the case with newly created Skill Development Society. Ideally the EDI located in the outskirts of Srinagar at Sempora Pampore should have been located in some far-flung village with vast farms and agricultural land because these are our traditional skill sectors. There is great demand for sheep farming, animal husbandry, poultry, floriculture, horticulture and trout farming across India. It is unfortunate that our planers only focus on construction of multistoried buildings which have nothing to do with agri-based activities or related entrepreneurship. Few months back I visited few skill development centers in Bangalore run by Nudge Foundation. Few young men with corporate background are running this foundation.

It is impossible to impart skills and to create potential entrepreneurs by making them to go through lectures in class rooms, conference halls or auditoriums and not make them practically familiar with the trade which they opt.

            The Nudge Foundation offers residential courses in driving & computers. In addition to it a batch of girls hailing from remote districts of Karnataka are trained as beauticians at the centre run by this foundation. The trainees are made to undergo a residential course for six months and after passing out they are placed in some reputed institutions who offer them handsome salaries. The residential courses make them fully trained and articulated in the respective sectors.

Conclusion   

            The EDI management and the government instead of spending crores on reconstructing of a new building need to create a single practical training centre for young entrepreneurs. We need a place where youth would be trained in different trades under one single roof. We need to have a force of electricians, masons, carpenters, dairy experts, sheep farmers and florists under one roof. A separate Ministry for Skill Development has been created at national level last year. It is the duty of our government to stress upon this ministry to provide funding for the traditional green and agri based skills in J&K which have a better future and market across the state. Why cannot the EDI have its own brand of milk and milk products which could be supplied to towns and cities from its practical training centers. As of now we are importing 85 percent of our milk and milk products from Punjab. We need to create organic dairy farms in our state.

           These organic dairy units are being run in several states of south India and have a tremendous potential in our hilly areas which are still not inflicted with chemical fertilizers .If the government is not in a position to make all this happen, why cannot they encourage development organizations, social enterprise groups, NGO’s, cooperatives, self help groups (SHG’s) to create such models across Jammu & Kashmir? Before the newly created Skill Development Society starts functioning in J&K, the government must allot enough land to this society both in Jammu and Kashmir divisions so that this proposed society is able to establish these practical training centers. We need lot of brainstorming sessions in this regard and the government should not take any step in haste in launching this Skill Development Society It is impossible to impart skills and to create potential entrepreneurs by making them to go through lectures in class rooms, conference halls or auditoriums and not make them practically familiar with the trade which they opt.

 The power point presentations (PPT), distribution of attractive pamphlets and few field visits cannot help these budding entrepreneurs to shape their future as professionals.