The Indian government will rope in recruiting agents to help identify trades and skill gaps in which potential emigrant workers can be imparted training before they move abroad for employment.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), in association with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MMSME), will be rolling out a countrywide skills upgrade programme, tentatively from September 1.
The two ministries have decided to select five reputed recruiting agents from the eight Protector of Emigrants (PoE) offices.
"They will be involved in the training programme and will help in identifying trades, skill gaps and requirement of skills by foreign employers besides sourcing of trainees," an MOIA official told IANS.
The government has also identified six institutes where the potential emigrants would be sent for training - the Central Tool Room, Ludhiana; the Institute for Design of Electrical Measuring Instruments, Mumbai; the Central Institute of Tool Design, Hyderabad; the Electronics Service & Training Centre, Nainital; the Central Institute of Hand Tools, Jalandhar; and the Tool Room & Training Centre, Guwahati.
Among the various occupations identified in which the workers will be imparted training are machinist, turner, fitter, tool and die maker, fibre optics technician, electrician (household appliances), electrician (industrial applications) and plumber.
Quality system and metrology, basic pneumatics and hydraulics, welding technology and motor winding and repair are also on the list, according to the MOIA official.
"Moreover, the PoE offices in Delhi and Chandigrah will also identify more trades and these will be added to the list," he said.
The duration of the various courses will vary from 15 days to three months. Each programme will also include an orientation and personality development course.
The MOIA and the MMSME had earlier this month signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), according to which the MOIA will fund the training programme and the MMSME will implement it through its training centres across the country.
The initiative is aimed at enhancing the image and perception of Indian workers abroad and equip them to be more competitive in an international working environment and promote greater job opportunities for Indian workers.
There are over five million Indian workers abroad with 90 per cent of them based in the Gulf countries and Malaysia. In 2006 alone, over 675,000 Indian workers went abroad with emigration clearances.
They contribute significantly to Indian economy by way of remittances.
However, in recent times, competition from countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines has resulted in low wages and exploitation of workers.
It was in this context that the MOIA decided to intervene and help Indian workers move up the value chain through this skills upgrade programme.