STEP-UP programme aims at poverty alleviation in urban areas

For B. Shanthi of Kavangarai near Puzhal, it is an opportunity she didn’t want to miss. Having joined the ‘free’ fashion designer course offered by Apollo Institute of Technical Training, Ambattur, she is hopeful that it will help her earn well so that she will be able to educate her children.

R. Neeraja of Chozhapuram told The Hindu Downtown that the programme is designed in a simple way of learning. Apart from improving her economic status she can train others in the months to come, she said.

One of the beneficiaries, K.S. Chitra, a student of Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute University, Maduravoyal, wants to excel in one of the skills apart from academic excellence. With the experience here, she wants to spread the message to the community about the Government schemes that are available to common man.

BPL beneficiaries

The Chennai Corporation has been offering skill development training courses under the scheme ‘Swarna Jayanthi Shahari Rozgar Yojana’ (SJSRY). Skill Development Training is being given to the below poverty line (BPL) beneficiaries of Chennai City, on following trades: refrigeration and air conditioning service; electronic servicing; computer hardware servicing; mobile phone servicing; modern front office management; auto-mobile mechanic; nursing assistant course; heavy vehicle maintenance; fashion design; welding (gas, ork and X Ray); and tally (computer science course).

The Apollo Institute of Technical Training, Ambattur, has been selected to provide fashion designing course to women drawn from different zones of Chennai Corporation.

According to the Chennai Corporation notification, the purpose of this assignment is to provide assistance to the urban poor to enhance their capacity to undertake self–employment as well as access better salaried employment through the trades. The Skill Training for Employment Promotion amongst Urban Poor (STEP- UP), a component of SJSRY, has been aligned to the goals of the National Skill Development Policy.

Poverty alleviation

STEP-UP aims at poverty alleviation in urban areas by facilitating skill development through well-structured market-oriented programmes that can make the poor and unskilled employable as wage workers or successful micro-entrepreneurs.

It also envisages promoting economic growth and contribution of the urban economy to National GDP by ensuring a supply of appropriate skilled manpower at the lower end, thus enabling inclusive growth. The beneficiaries are being identified by Community Organisers and SJSRY is being monitored by Deputy Commissioner (Education).

Project Officers are assigned the job of plugging the gaping holes, if any, in the system as well as in its implementation.

Recalling their success in the earlier years, Managing Director of the Apollo Institute of Technical Training, V. Nagarani, said that more than 1,500 women, who live below the poverty line, have been benefited by these programmes so far.

In the past, Ambattur, Avadi, Poonamallee, Madhavaram and Tiruvallur Municipalities, (all under Tiruvallur district), have extended their support for the successful completion of these training programmes.

The course duration was three to six months and certificates were distributed to successful trainers through the Tiruvallur District Collector / project officer of Mahalir Thittam.

“This year, we are providing training to 570 beneficiaries at 15 centres across the city and its adjoining areas. The Government agencies are also providing job opportunities as they have tie-ups with industrial houses and any skilled worker will get Rs. 5,000 to 8,000 per month,” she said. The AITT centres are located at Kosapur, Ambattur, Kallikuppam, Puzhal, Madhavaram, Periyar Nagar, Kolathur, Maduravoyal, Ayyapanthangal, Porur, Perambur, and Valasaravakkam.

Periodic monitoring

The fashion designing course is for four months and the beneficiaries are being offered Rs. 250 as stipend.

“Our training programmes are under periodical monitoring by project officers from Chennai Corporation. Hence, chance of malpractices are reduced and with the infrastructure we have, we hope to provide some light in the lives of women trainees,” she said.

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