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Engaging Youth

Youth Development

The problem of growing unemployment continued to a matter of great concern for Assam. In spite of having huge natural resources, the State’s economy still largely remains backward and underdeveloped, as these natural resources have not yet been thoroughly harnessed. Against the back-drop of increasing poverty, slow pace of economic development and very high rate of population growth, the unemployment problem has assumed chronic and complex character in Assam. The problem has further been accentuated with the increase in the number of unemployed technical personnel in the State. Notwithstanding efforts made through successive State plans for generation greater employment potential, the gap between gainful employment opportunities and fast growing labour force has continued to widen. Further, the incidence of unemployment is more pronounced in the rural areas since it characterized by under-employment or seasonal unemployment.

According to Information provided in Assam Assembly by labour department, Assam has more than 18 Lakhs educated unemployed youths out of which 2 lakhs are graduates. To engage huge number of educated and unemployed youths appropriate counselling guidance and vocational education is need of the hour. SeSTA plans to work with 5000 unemployed youths in coming 5 years by helping them to find gainful employment. SeSTA will create mechanism to equip these youths with necessary skills for employability in the market. For this SeSTA will collaborate with different stakeholders and find appropriate way out.

Present Gap:
• Poor income from the agriculture sector due to less modernization, youth generation is not consider it as a remunerative livelihood
• Poor skill set to meet the demands of the industrial sector
• Lack of awareness about the opportunities (Reliable Information Dissemination and Guidance)
• Lack of Employability potential and conducive environment for entry into higher education (Skill Enhancement- Technical and Communication Skills).
• Lack of proper and innovative linkages for employment and higher education. (Placements)

At the beginning of 2013, SeSTA conducted a study on “Building a perspective on the Youth in the context of the prevailing situation in Assam” in Bongaigaon and Chirang district of Assam. Based on the understanding of this study, SeSTA tried to engage with youths of Chirang and Bongaigaon district in the following manner:
• Initiated a Youth Centre (Centre for Youth Advancement-CYA) at Sidli Block
• Trained a group of Youths in Improved Agriculture
• Collaboration with PARFI for skill building and Placement assistance to youths
• Building a cadre of youths as Para vets

Key Experience:
a. Under the CYA, SeSTA trained around 88 youths on Sewing, Knitting and Embroidery. These youths started doing sewing, knitting and embroidery at their household level and few of them purchased sewing machines by taking loan from SHG/ Bank. Youths specially girls are keen to acquire the skill of knitting, sewing, embroidery and weaving (new designs) and are ready to pay fees for it.

b. SeSTA also trained a group of youths in Improved agriculture with assistance from Krishi Vigyan Kendra( KVK), Kajalgaon and now they are actively involved in agriculture specially in vegetable cultivation.

c. SeSTA is building a cadre of youths as a para-vets with systematic training and on- job assistance from experienced Veterinary Practitioners coupled with in-house trainings in different Research Institutions and initial response is encouraging.

Based on the last two year’s experience from working with the youths it is understood that youths are keen to acquire skills and knowledge which is relevant, can provide them employment / income enhancement opportunity. They are ready to pay for the training/ skill enhancement programme if it can provide them employment or enhance their income.

Following interventions are envisaged by SeSTA to be taken up with the youths-
• The youths, particularly girls and women, from SHG families are interested to acquire skills and knowledge in Sewing, knitting and Embroidery as it would provide them an opportunity to earn income from home. So the training centre under CYA will be continued and it will be further linked with nearby market opportunities like whole seller cloth merchant, schools for uniform etc. Focus will be also on assisting these youths to access institutional credit for working capital and buying sewing machines etc from Banks and govt schemes like Prime Minister’s Rural Employment Generation Programme.

• It is also strongly felt that rural youths are lacking information related to available job opportunities in various sectors (govt, private, NGOS etc). So the youths centre will be equipped to cater to the information need of the rural youths relate to job/ employment opportunities. Also these centres will be equipped with set of computers to impart basic computer course to rural youths at reasonable cost so that it can enhance chances of their employability. Efforts will be made to ensure credibility of this course by getting accreditation from recognised institutions.

• It has been observed that youths of most of the project villages move to Southern states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh etc for unskilled work ( a) due to higher wage rate in those states ( Minimum Rs 300 against Rs 200 in Assam) and (b) They do not like to involved in agriculture and don’t want to do labour work in native place out of shyness. There is a huge opportunity for this sections of youths to build skills in specific traits which have market demand like Masonry, Carpentry, Driving, Plumbing and Mechanic (2/4 wheeler, Motor pumps).

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