Some of India’s top companies are joining hands with the government to train and employ young people from the lowest rungs of the economic strata, in a move that could make growth more inclusive.
Earlier this month, the rural Development Ministry cleared 13 proposals, involving companies such as Larsen and Toubro, IL&FS and Anil Ambani-run ADAG that will help tens of thousands of youth from poor families learn new skills and find jobs.
“By approving these projects, we are aiming to provide jobs to about 3.75 lakh BPL youth within the next two years,” Rural Development Secretary Rita Sharma told HT.
It also holds the promise to help tide over the challenge of a rising shortage of talent, while taking advantage of India’s overwhelmingly young population.
The plan is an extension of what began a year ago as a collaboration between the rural development ministry and some corporates such as Dr Reddy’s Foundation and infrastructure finance company IL&FS.
The ministry paid these companies between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 for each person trained. Companies, in turn, have to guarantee that a certain number of the trainees are employed on their rolls. The candidates will also have to agree to work in the company for at least a year. Their starting salaries would range from Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000.
“This is what makes the scheme different ... Our contract with these companies is complete only when these trained youth are absorbed. And once placed, we will track them for about a year,” Sharma said.
Across India, about 85,000 people from families identified as living below poverty line were trained and 65,000 placed by the companies in the past year.
The success of the plan has now encouraged more companies to join. Leading the race is Ambani’s ADAG, which plans to train and employ 24,000 youth over the next two years.
It will train the youth in information and technology, general communications and retail sales, said a ministry official.
Larsen & Toubro would train and recruit 15,000 beneficiaries in the construction sector, while charity group CAP Foundation plans to train 17,000, including women at prostitution centres, whom it plans to rehabilitate in the hospitality business.
Dr Reddy’s Foundation has already trained 51,000 people and placed 37,000 in hospitality, retail, IT and IT enabled services, housekeeping, patient care and automobile sectors. Its total target is 82,000.
IL&FS has a target of 53,000 over three years. It has already trained 23,000 youth and placed 20,000 so far in apparel and leather businesses.