From the desk of Editor-in-Chief

Skill Development to have Sustainable Livelihood for a better tomorrow

Livelihood refers to the means of making a living, or simply a way of life, which includes all aspects of a person’s life. It consists of economic activities embedded in a society that is governed by social, political as well as cultural processes. If you do not address all of them and, instead, focus only on the economics of living, change will not happen.

Article 21 includes Right to Livelihood which is borne out of right to life as no person can live without the means of living, that is livelihood.

Various estimates suggest that by 2025, one-fourth of the world’s total workforce will be in India. A lot needs to be done to stop India from dwelling on its past and prepare its citizens for a vastly different future- Industry Revolution 4.0 which is going to Fuse various technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, 5G telephony, nanotechnology, biotech, robotics, quantum computing etc.

It has been forecasted that the average age of India’s population would be 29 in 2021 vis a vis China’s average age of 37. It will offer India a unique advantage of having one of the world’s youngest populations. But the country needs to ensure that it’s young workforce is equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to participate and contribute to the upcoming revolution .

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To alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable development for the youth, Governments in the past have introduced comprehensive schemes like Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, or Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana. Make in India campaign, PradhanMantriKaushalVikasYojana etc. to provide an integrated package of financial and technical assistance to the rural poor to improve their income levels and living standard, these schemes are yet to create the impact intended.

The current government’s push through the “Skill India”, “Make in India” and “Digital India” campaign has contributed to a high level of interest among companies in this direction which will lead to livelihood and economic development of the country.

This issue covers how skill development leads to livelihood and the efforts made by NGOs in this direction and the role played by corporates. The issue also covers interview of Dr. Jatinder Singh, Director , Education, Skill Development, CSR, Innovation & Startups, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and journey of Unsung hero and much more.

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Corporate plays quintessential role in building employable workforce in India

By Sandeep Datta

Two years ago, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) hinted at quite an alarming state of affairs by revealing that a staggering 18.3 million Indians stand unemployed and those numbers were projected to reach 18.9 million by 2019.
As Indian population continues to expand uncontrollably and 54% of this public being aged below 25, bridging the gulf between the unskilled youth and the new-age job market requirements is vital.

The data also points toward the critical need to increase various skills development and training programmes in the country at various levels, especially the ones which should be largely focused on women and youth. Such initiatives should improve employability potential of the working population by including school drop-outs, semi-skilled and un-skilled workers.

Be it inadequate earnings, low productivity or difficult work conditions that undermine workers’ fundamental rights – characterise vulnerable employment.

In India, vulnerable employment roughly affects three out of four workers-77% of total workers according to World Bank (derived from ILO data).

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The corporate sector has always recognised the need for skill development and invested in skilled manpower for their operations. Under the ambit of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), skilling and livelihood development appeared to have garnered a considerable interest among the corporate.

There is one school of thought that believes skill training programmes that are implemented can be integrated components of livelihood and community development projects, they can also be stand-alone projects. Besides providing skill training if efforts are made to facilitate skills training by linking beneficiaries to companies and the government, it looks it can create a larger impact.

While the Government is working upon bringing a major change in a holistic perspective in the long run, the corporate sector in the country is consistently working towards bringing a real change.

Some of the prominent names that have made a difference in boosting livelihood are worth deriving inspiration from. They are: Renew Power, Bosch India, Maruti Suzuki, and Mahindra and Mahindra Finance among others.

Renew Power

India’s largest renewable energy Independent Power Producer, ReNew Power, has been generating almost 40,000 jobs, directly and indirectly over 8 years of its operation.

The company’s vision is to transform India via the ReNew India Initiative (RII) which is the essence of ReNew’s CSR programme, as it believes without transforming Human, Social and Natural Capital no amount of growth holds any meaning in real sense.

Under its CSR activities one of its initiatives is ReNew Women India Initiative (ReWIN).

It’s a socio-economic empowerment programme to encourage rural women to become entrepreneurs through the Self Help Group model. It creates additional employment opportunities for them.

Bosch

In past six decades, the German multinational engineering and technology company Bosch has created a special place for itself in Indian society not just as a technology and innovation pioneer, but also as a company that cares.

Its corporate social responsibility endeavour, known as ‘Bosch Social Engagement’, aims to make a difference in the communities in which Bosch operates.

Under the Bosch Social Engagement Programme, one of its segment works towards vocational training for school dropouts leading to employment while the Bosch India Foundation focuses on holistic village development and vocational training for artisans.

Maruti Suzuki

The automobile giant believes that with more than half of its total economic output coming from the service sector alone, maintaining and constantly expanding the size of its skilled labour force is imperative for India. With this consideration, Maruti Suzuki has joined hands with a number of state governments to adopt several Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). The company has plans to prepare a large section of the youth employable by the automobile industry.

Maruti Suzuki’s Skill Development programme comprises three key elements — Upgradation of ITI’s, Skill Enhancement in Automobile Trade, and Japan India Institute for Manufacturing.

Under upgradation of ITIs, in partnership with state governments, the company has adopted ITIs and through its various interventions upgrading physical infrastructure, workshops, training faculty, and providing exposure to students on Japanese shop floor practices.

The Skill Enhancement in Automobile Trade is meant to help workers adapt to the changing demands of the industry. Under it, the company has set up Automobile Skill Enhancement Centres (ASEC) at 60 ITIs. Each centre is equipped with a model workshop on which practical training is imparted by full time trainers provided by the Company.

Japan India Institute for Manufacturing, the Government of India and the Government of Japan joined hands through an agreement to create a pool of skilled manpower for manufacturing in India. To translate the vision of this partnership, the Company embarked on setting up the first Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing (JIIM) at Mehsana, Gujarat.

Mahindra Finance

With a mission to transform rural lives and driving a positive change in the communities around them, Mahindra Finance started its journey in 1991to empower the rural communities and help them unleash their potential.

As part of its CSR initiatives, Mahindra Finance has adopted the Rise Pillar to drive positive change. Each of its initiative embodies the thought process behind it’s three pillars of accepting no limits, alternative thinking and driving positive change.

Under this, the company is promoting education, including special education and employment enhancing vocation skills especially among children, women, elderly and the differently-abled and livelihood enhancement projects.
Recent surveys and studies aimed at CSR in the country indicate that the overall corporate participation in skills and livelihood development is very high.

Looking at the way a big section of the corporate has been paying attention to and investing along with the revenue on skill training or upskilling exercises, it reflects the industry was right in its assessment of market related future challenges. As Government organizations are usually found faced with funds crunch or right manpower to execute programmes efficiently, it looks collaboration of private and government sectors to boost social sectors can be the key to bring a real change.

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NGOs – Key to empower millions for Livelihood with Skill Development

By Choudhary Sandeep

As the government functions towards bringing development to the country, NGOs play a critical role in developing society while improving communities, and promoting citizen participation.

In India, a section of non-governmental organisations are bringing tremendous difference in the society. They are achieving this by being focused on ensuring a better tomorrow for the young men and women.

While the Corporate sector also aims to perform an enabler’s job, it often looks forward to genuine NGOs having a well-planned roadmap or at least a proven record in the thematic area chosen by them. It is required to make a sustainable impact.

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The change is being brought at the grassroots level to prepare a generation of skilled workforce which could live in a self-reliant way. Often found confronting with finance related challenges, there are times when these NGOs discover their overheads to deliver welfare measures are very high and thus are often landing them in trouble due crunch of funds or donations.

Amidst dealing with these challenges, technology has come handy for many NGOs while working towards achieving their big goals. Many NGOs are today making optimum use of social media to maximise their sales. Interestingly, for artisans, technology is a big advantage. Since most of them are now tech savvy, they can use picture references on their phones to make the designs without any errors.

The Bridge India India spoke to two such NGOs who have done a tremendous good job in skill development to ensure better livelihood possibilities for many who are dependent on them but have failed to get notice by people at large.

Channelising ‘PurkalStree Shakti Samiti’ Towards Becoming Social Entrepreneurs

Established in 2003 in Purkal Village at the Mussoorie foothills in Uttarakhand, PurkalStree Shakti Samiti (PSSS) is a women empowering non-profit organisation. The mission of its founders was to empower the village women around this village. They have trained women to earn a regular monthly income so that they become economically independent and thereby get respected in their family and community and even go on becoming leaders and agents of social change.

“I shifted to the Purkal Village at retirement. I noticed the village women’s deplorable condition. So I thought of making them economically empowered to improve their status not just in their family but also in the community. Following which I started with a livelihood programme for these women. I started training them in the art of Patchwork, applique, embroidery and quilting,” said PurkalStree Shakti Samiti Founder Ms. ChiniSwamy.

“We started with 2 women and now after 15 years we have 150 women from over 40 villages who work with us. Some of them have such heartwarming stories from where they started and how their lives have changed now,” she says while sharing about the journey.

“When I started PSSS we used to have a blood donation camp and none of my women were able to donate blood. Most of them were anemic and underweight, but since we started the Mid-Day Meal more than 40 women were capable of donating blood this year.”

“It’s been over 15 years now and PSSS (horizon) has increased from women empowerment and skill development to free transport and nutrition. We also provide a crèche to women who work with us as staff and artisans so that they can freely work without worrying for their children and focus on quality”. Ms. Swamy added.

Talking about how training is empowering women to develop required confidence in themselves, she proudly shared, “Our 150 women under 10 self-help groups are individual entrepreneurs. They have individual SHG bank accounts and an independent economic standing in their households.”

“The skill development welfare measure that PSSS provides them not with a fish but a fishing rod so that they can earn a livelihood based on their own hard work and talent. In six months of training provided to them it is ensured that they become perfect and they can take maximum work and benefit from it,” she added.

‘Unnati’, the Bengaluru-based NGO Empowering Youth via Skill Development

Unnati commenced the vocational training employability transformation with guaranteed job assurance to the underprivileged youth, as it believes if there is one earning member in a family, the economic and social status of the family changes dramatically within six years.

It believes in social transformation and empowerment. For this, it tries to initiate youth by a learning process. For Unnati, getting a job is a by-product of the training. Its objective is to help the youth set goals for themselves and bring a change by re-enforcement of the value system.

The organisation’s slogan is “A generation goes above poverty line in just 50 days forever”. The fact that a large number of youth is unemployable because of lack of a sound value system and attitude, has been proved in every report of employability studies.”We at UNNATI focus on these aspects in our own unique manner and ensure a change thereby guaranteeing a job at the end of the training.”

Asked about the principles driving Unnati, Ramesh Swamy, Founder and Directorsaid it is about ‘Guaranteed placement – If we train a youth, we need to ensure that he/she completes the training with a job in hand. We also believe in inclusive growth – which is possible with values, life skills and communication skills, lack of which is the main cause or roadblock. “Our vocational training programme addresses these issues and moves towards an inclusive growth in society.”

As catalysts of change, Unnatiprogramme has been created for a short duration and its impact can be observed easily. “The youth becomes a role model and is able to bring about sustained change in the society he lives in,” Swamy added.

About their roadmap to achieve ambitious plan of providing livelihood to a million people he said, “We started off with a model of three-and-a-half hours training and today we have 30 Centres churning out nearly 4,500 youth. In the first five years (2003 to 2008), we trained approximately 320 youth. In last two years, we came up with an abridged version of Unnati training programme called UNXT.”

“This is an 100-hour intervention training in the government colleges, more like a finishing school, helping the youth immensely and the government has been extremely supportive of this programme. It is delivered free of cost to the youth in the Government college. We are the only organisation approved by Karnataka to deliver this programme,” he explained.

“The reason for this intervention is that only 10,000 youth who passed out of government college and ITI, got jobs against the total number of 150,000 students who passed out. We successfully delivered UNXT to nearly 1,000 youth in the last two years. In this year, we are planning to train 20,000 youth,” he added.

Stating that the pool of students requiring this is over 150,000, he said: “We hope to make UNXT the AKSHAYA PATRA SCHEME for the coming years. These numbers are only in Karnataka. To do a lakh of youth it may cost us 20 crores. We can easily scale to a lakh of youth in a year and a million in a decade if we have the funding.”

After getting a glimpse of the horizon of work from the approach of two of the NGOs existing in country, one can understand how much significance such organizations hold. Powered by their grassroots knowledge and know-how of what works the best to tackle existing challenges, such NGOs are bringing the much-needed change. Their role as an enabler, motivator and trainer is preparing a new generation which will be future-ready to take on livelihood related challenges with self-reliance and a smile on their face.

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Development Happenings

By TBI Team

Australian Delegation Visit

A five member Australian Delegation headed by Mr Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne met Hon’ble Minister, SJ&E at his residence to discuss the issues relating to implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in November last year for cooperation in disability sector. The discussions centred around undertaking various activities under the MoU such as co-curriculum designing of the Community Based Inclusive Development programme, leadership training and research in disability sector.

Hon’ble Minister, SJ&E expressed his desire to understand the experience of Australian side for empowerment of persons with disabilities especially in the area of early intervention, community participation etc. The Australian side appreciated the efforts of Government of India in the disability sector and were hopeful that the activities under the MoU will provide scope for learning for both the sides.

Ms Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, DEPwD and Dr Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary, DEPwD were also present during the discussions with Australian side.

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Changes in CSR norms on cards

A high-level committee submitted its recommendations to the Finance Minister, NirmalaSitharaman recently.The committee chaired by InjetiSrinivas, secretary, corporate affairs ministryhas recommended to makeCSR expenditure tax deductible. The move has been made in order to incentivise CSR spending by companies. A provision to carry forward unspent CSR balance for three to five years has also been suggested by the committee.

According to the new CSR norms under Section 135 of the Companies Act a company has to earmark a part of its profit for social activities and transfer all unspent amount to an escrow account if it is an ongoing project.

This account will be opened by the company concerned in a bank and be called the unspent corporate social responsibility account.
The CSR expenditure which remains unspent in three years would be transferred to any fund specified in Schedule VII of the Companies Act such as the Swachch Bharat Kosh, the Clean Ganga Fund, and the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The central government funds should be discontinued as CSR spend, the committee report said and instead a special designated fund should be created to transfer of unspent CSR money beyond three to five years.

The committee has recommended that Schedule VII be aligned with the sustainable development goals to include sports promotion, senior citizens’ welfare, welfare of differently abled persons, disaster management, and heritage protection.

The idea behind this is to ensure that the CSR amount should be spent by the company – “it must not be lying with the company.”
The panel has also suggested third-party assessment of major CSR projects and bringing CSR under the purview of statutory financial audit.

The other recommendations of the committee include developing a CSR exchange portal to connect contributors, beneficiaries and agencies, allowing CSR in social benefit bonds and promoting social impact companies.
The committee however also said that CSR should not be used as a “means of resource-gap funding for government schemes.”

Asia Pacific Housing Forum 7 in India

The 7th edition of the Asia Pacific Housing Forum (APHF7) was inaugurated at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. On the occasion 344 delegates and 78 speakers got together to seek solutions on issues pertaining to affordable housing, sanitation and disaster response.

The special highlight at the event was the Habitat for Humanity India Innovation and Impact Awards 2019. The aim of presenting Habitat Innovation and Impact Awards 2019 was to recognize individuals and institutions impacting society, through innovation in housing, sanitation and disaster response. 3 individuals and 3 institutions were awarded for their exemplary work in the areas of affordable housing, sustainable sanitation (WASH), and disaster management.

APHF7 was inaugurated by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (Namami Gange); Atsushi Koresawa, Director, UN – Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), Japan; V Suresh, Founder – Good Governance Foundation; Michele Soh, Director of Communications – Asia Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International and Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India.

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UNSUNG HERO

Youngsters bring sunshine into the lives of less privileged

By Monica Joshi

It was a decade ago, when few college students decided to contribute towards serving the society. The passion and conviction of these youth towards the social cause lead to the birth of ‘Naya Sawera’, one of the leading youth based NGO’s in Jaipur today.

Naya Sawera has been working since 2009 for the welfare of the underprivileged sections of the society through various means. While the NGO aims to ensure that no human being is deprived of basic needs due to poverty, its campaigns like days of pride, Kokh-pehlakadam have been instrumental in facilitating and bringing awareness towards health and hygiene amongst the underprivileged women residing in slums.

It is worth mentioning that keeping in tune with the core spirit of the organization, all the projects & activities of Naya Sawera since its inception are being completely managed & volunteered by youth coming from different academic & professional backgrounds. What makes Naya Sawera unique is that it is completely funded and supported by individuals with a big heart!

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The Bridge India speaks to Akhilesh Maheshwari, Director& Founder Naya Sawera, whose passion and undeterred spirit towards contributing for the less privileged has been the driving force that has successfully touched several lives through various programs conducted by the organization.

TBI: What have been the focus areas of work at Naya Sawera.

AM: Child care, Women’s health and hygiene, Environmental awareness and holistic societal empowerment with community development programs like “Saksham”, “Kokh”, “Days of Pride”, “Santushti” are a few programs through which we inch towards the vision of our organization.

TBI: Please elaborate upon the functioning of your health and hygiene initiatives.

AM: Our Days of Pride campaign is driven towards donating sanitary napkins to women who cannot afford them. So far, the campaign has succeeded in donating 75,000 sanitary napkins to women across various regions of Jaipur through 5 Sanitary Pads Bank. The campaign also spreads awareness regarding sanitary health/hygiene and tries to abolish unnecessary menstrual taboos.
The other program, Kokh is a campaign that adopts pregnant woman from underdeveloped families in rural regions of India to enable them to give healthy birth and also use the acquired knowledge to take better care of their new born kids. The acquired funds and monetary donations are used to provide medicines and healthcare facilities to underprivileged pregnant women.
Every Thursday, the organization keeps a meeting with the adopted women and during each meeting, they are provided with something healthy and nutritious like coconut water or fruit juice. Also, 5 random women are picked and are taken for a wholesome lunch that is funded by the organization.
Apart from taking care of nutritional needs and delivery, the campaign Kokh also takes care of their blood tests, blood donation needs, and also their vaccinations. All in all, any medical, health and nutrition need during the 9 months of pregnancy and 1 month after delivery is taken care of.
The campaign has been successful in providing these services to more than 500 women in need so far, and the maternal mortality rate in adopted regions has significantly gone down.

TBI: What have been the major challenges ?

AM:Like any other new NGO, funding has always been a major challenge for us. However, my experience in fundraising came in handy in overcoming it to quite an extent. Many times while working upon our women oriented programs, my gender turned out to be a barrier. It was very tough to get across with women oriented programs like “Kokh” for pregnant women and “Days of Pride” for menstrual hygiene.

TBI: Where do the funds come from?

AM: We are based on individual sponsors and supporters. Our main strength is our volunteer-base, who promote our work amongst their friends and families. As of today, the organization has over 600 registered members and volunteers. The core committee consists of 40 members. All the members combined provide donations and services to enable the execution of programs and campaigns conducted by the organization. However, after struggling for long, we have started getting CSR funds as well but still our backbone is individual sponsors.

TBI: Other than the government schemes and NGOs functioning towards social cause, do you find the society sensitive enough to come forward to support your initiatives.

AM: Naya Sawera and I have been blessed to have immense support from the society. I am happy to share that it has been 10 years since our inception and in this decade of work we haven’t taken a single penny from the government. So whatever we have achieved till today, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of society. We have been getting due support. In many cases people are sensitive and exhibit the same, however in many cases they don’t.To a great extent it depends upon case to case and person to person.

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Our policies are in sync with ‘Skill India’ and ‘Startup India’ programmes: Dr. Jatinder Singh

By Monica Joshi

Dr Jatinder Singh, Director, Education, Skill Development, CSR, Innovation & Startups, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry shares the thrust areas and latest developments in and around the social responsibility with The Bridge India, excerpts from the interaction.

TBI:What are the focus regions and arenas that PHD Chamber is tapping to make a change through entrepreneurial development training programmes?

JS: The social wing of PHDCCI– Rural Development Foundation and Family Welfare Foundation continuously strive to build capacities of marginalized through various training programmes.
Both Foundations are working towards providing income generating opportunities to youth, women and young girls by providing entrepreneurship skills. It also imparts training & capacity building for financial literacy and market linked courses with special emphasis on communication skills, soft skills & personality development. Courses in areas of stitching & tailoring, computer training, language skills and soft skills are imparted to various beneficiaries from time to time.

TBI: Narendra Modi Government touched technology in an unprecedented way in its first term. How do you look at technology’s influence in the Government’s second term?

JS: Government has sensitized businesses towards becoming “digital” enterprises to engage with customers, to manage their functions and for managing supply chain. The new fountain head is data – connecting everything including products, customers, assets and people. The present government has made a differentiation with leadership vision for change and a clear execution strategy.

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TBI: What impact PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made through its Skill Development Programme?

JS: PHDCCI is evangelizing its members about the concept of skilling and re-skilling of their workforce and communities in which they are operating. Our policies are in sync with ‘Skill India’ and ‘Startup India’ programmes. The goal is to set the equilibrium in demand and supply of skilled workers.

TBI: PHD Chamber of Commerce has often been speaking about its innovative CSR programme. Can you throw light on this?

JS: The CSR committee is sensitizing its members to organize some CSR programmes in the field of digital skills and improving innovation capacities of youth. We believe that digital assets and capabilities are the “new balance sheet.” These assets and capabilities are the product differentiators for any organization, society and nation as a whole. We also evangelize that some portion of CSR budget should be stipulated for R&D in CSR projects if this comes under the ambit of Schedule 7 of The Companies Act, 2013.

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