Kollu Ravindra, the Minister for Skill Development, Youth, Sports and Unemployment Benefits, on Wednesday welcomed the Centre’s decision to address the concerns raised by the States on the implementation of the apprenticeship scheme to make it more beneficial to unemployed youth.
Stating that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was keen on training the youth to provide them jobs in manufacturing and service sectors, he also expressed concern that of an allocation of ₹ 10,000 crore for the apprenticeship scheme, the States had availed less than ₹ 200 crore in the past two years, exposing the lukewarm response to the scheme due to apparent reasons.
He was speaking at a day-long conference on implementation of the apprenticeship scheme organised by AP State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry here.
The conference, among others, was attended by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajesh Agrawal, Special Chief Secretary, Skill Development J.S.V. Prasad, Special CS, Sports and Youth Advancement L.V. Subrahmanyam, past president of CII-AP G.S. Shiv Kumar and AP Chambers of Commerce president G. Sambasiva Rao.
Mr. Ravindra said the State government would implement the unemployment allowance scheme shortly for 10 lakh people in the age group of 21-35. "We want to devise a scheme where the beneficiaries of the scheme will be trained in various skills – half of them in horticulture, agriculture, sericulture and aquaculture," he disclosed.
The Minister later told reporters that they were happy that they could retain the No. 1 slot in ease of doing business and hoped that in most of the projects proposed at CII Partnership Summit, unemployed youth would be offered training under the apprenticeship scheme.
Portal being spruced up
Mr. Agrawal, earlier at the conference, said they were in the process of liberalising the apprenticeship by making everything, including reimbursement of part of the stipend, online. The website is being redesigned to reduce human interface and make available all information required to claim benefits under the scheme.
He admitted that the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 came early and they had been trying to allay the misconceptions among the industries on the implementation of the apprenticeship scheme after amending the legislation in 2014. He also had a word of praise for Andhra Pradesh for taking the lead to organise a conference of this nature on a grand scale by inviting all the stakeholders.