Babus put spanner in public-pvt projects | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Babus put spanner in public-pvt projects

While the Prime Minister and the Planning Commission passionately advocate public private partnerships, bureaucratic inflexibility is leading to industry partners losing interest in a major project, reports Prasad Nichenametla.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2008 23:47 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

While the Prime Minister and the Planning Commission passionately advocate public private partnerships (PPPs), bureaucratic inflexibility is leading to industry partners losing interest in a major project.

The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), an apex industry association that partnered with the government for upgrading public sector Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) is now moving on to partner with private ITIs, known as Industrial Training Centres (ITCs).

“We had to deal with a lot of bureaucratic inflexibility from the state governments in order to partner with ITIs. With this (not so encouraging) experience, we are now partnering with the ITCs,” a senior functionary at FICCI told Hindustan Times.

There are more than 1,900 ITIs, owned and managed by state governments, in the country.

500 of these are being upgraded into centres of excellence with government resources and World Bank assistance.

In the 2007-08 Budget, Finance minister P. Chidambaram announced upgradation of the remaining 1,396 ITIs through PPPs. The outlay was Rs 3,665 crore for the plan period.

All major chambers took up the model readily as part of their affirmative action initiatives. It was also perceived as a means to get skilled manpower.

Of the 300 ITIs targeted last year, CII partnered with 147 ITIs while FICCI took up 50.

But the states were not as enthusiastic. Industry bodies said this could be due to their fear of losing control over the ITIs.

In fact, Labour minster Oscar Fernandes had to write to persuade states to participate.

Under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Centre, states and industry partner, necessary powers would be delegated by the states to the Industrial Management Committees with almost equal participation of industry and government and financial and academic autonomy. The Centre would provide an interest-free loan of Rs 2.5 crore per ITI.

“In April-May this year, we had sent proposals to states to partner with another 130 ITIs. We are awaiting their response,” said Col I.S. Gahlout, head of skills development, CII.

FICCI has now initiated steps to work with the private ITCs – around 3,400 in number.

“Though we would be continuing our partnership with government ITIs, we are very keen on this developing the FICCI – ITC network which would realise the true potential of these institutions,” FICCI said.