Skill development programme planned

: Students of the government Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) pursuing all courses will get free laptops, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the Assembly on Monday. At present students undergoing training in computer-related courses alone are eligible for free laptops.

The Chief Minister extended the benefit to all students taking into consideration the fact that computer training was necessary irrespective of the courses and students of all streams in Polytechnics and Engineering colleges were getting free laptops. It will cost the government Rs 35 crore. The government has included language skills and computer programming in the syllabus of ITIs and now, the government would set up software labs in the ITIs at a cost of Rs 15 crore.

Students of government ITIs now get Rs 500 as monthly stipend, a free cycle, one set of uniform and a pair of shoes. The scheme will now cover students of government-aided IITs too.

The Chief Minister also announced that skill development programme in 18 fields would be provided to unemployed youths and it would secure employment for 2.24 lakh people.