Corporate Job Plan For J&K A Flop Show

Corporate Job Plan For J&K A Flop Show

14 October 2012
Times of India
Bharti Jain

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi may have grabbed eyeballs by leading industry captains to Jammu and Kashmir to test investment opportunities but the Centre is struggling to keep afloat another partnership with the private sector for training and placement of 8,000 J&K youth every year. Corporates like TCS, HCL, Wipro and Future Group, which had signed up to train software engineers and other J&K professionals under Udaan - a scheme piloted by the home ministry as part of the Centre's skill development initiative for J&K - have been slow in delivering on the committed volumes, blaming procedural impediments and the ongoing recession. The Centre, disappointed that just 139 J&K youth were trained under Udaan since its launch in March this year, that too with a nil placement record, has been forced to redraw the scheme to suit the corporates better. The altered terms of the Udaan policy propose to cut down the period of training at facilities of the corporate partners from the existing nine months to a year to a 'more realistic' six months, besides making the expenditure heads under the overall Rs 1,000 crore budget for the scheme, flexible. So, a trainee who was extended a fixed Rs 4,000 as travel expenses to his place of training will now get a reimbursement up to Rs 10,000. Similarly, the Rs 300 daily reimbursement for boarding and lodging of the trainee is proposed to be raised to Rs 500 per day. A separate liaisoning agency will be engaged to help the private sector scout for and shortlist qualified youth that suit the job profile sought by the corporates registered with Udaan. A budget of Rs 20 crore will be earmarked for advertisement and publicity to ensure that the private entities can reach out to as many Kashmiri youth as possible, through the proposed liaisoning agency. The idea is to go beyond just colleges and universities and also target unemployed professionals. Concerned at the abysmal placement record under Udaan, the Centre has offered to extend the Rs 10,000 placement incentive to the training firm even if fails to absorb the trainee but finds him employment with another firm. According to sources, many engineers in J&K have refused to relocate outside the state as they find the Rs 15,000 monthly salary being offered by the corporates, too little. The Cabinet note on the redrafted Udaan scheme will be moved for approval soon. Though private companies have so far committed to train around 16,000 youth under Udaan, they have cited difficulties in tracking and picking prospective candidates in view of their limited knowledge of the J&K market. The state government's reluctance to cooperate in organizing roadshows and reaching out to the youth has prevented the scheme from really taking off. The MHA now seeks to correct this anomaly by engaging a private liaisoning agency for putting out advertisements, helping the corporates organize roadshows and matching job applicants with the skills sought. 'We expect the response to the scheme to get a boost after the changes we seek to make in Udaan... hopefully, around 5,000-6,000 trainees may get picked in the coming months,' an official said.