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Centre launches scheme to provide internship to 25,000 graduates

At a time of soaring unemployment and few prospects for new entrants into the labour force, the Centre has launched a scheme to provide internship opportunities with smart cities and urban local bodies for 25,000 fresh graduates, mostly from technical courses. However, there is no guarantee that these interns will get paid any stipend.

Also read: Colleges, companies offer virtual internship, no stipend

“Students come for internships for the purpose of gaining valuable experience. It makes them market ready, after which they may go on to jobs in the private sector or elsewhere. It will give them multiple options,” said Hardeep Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Development (MoHUA), when asked about stipend and employment possibilities for these interns.

He was speaking at the launch of the TULIP (The Urban Learning Internship Programme) portal on Thursday. The scheme is a five-year joint venture between MoHUA and the All India Council for Technical Education, and the fulfilment of a promise made in the 2020 Budget speech.

City administrations can register available opportunities on the portal, ranging from positions in urban planning or water supply and waste management to slum improvement and digital governance. Applicants must be Indian citizens who have completed their final year of college within the last 18 months. Internship durations can range from eight weeks to one year.

“TULIP is founded on a value-driven pull strategy. For students, it’s about experiential learning that makes them ready for the job market or may help them contribute to start-ups developing solutions for ground zero India,” said Kunal Kumar, MoHUA Joint secretary who heads the Smart Cities Mission. “For city administrations, it is a valuable way to inject fresh energy and ideas into our urban governance.”

The programme does not have any budget of its own, but the 100 smart cities and 4,400 urban local bodies can use the administrative expenses allocated by the Centre to pay stipends or perks, if they wish to. They are also free to develop their own selection procedures.

The TULIP guidelines do encourage paid internships, pointing out that this will broaden the pool of candidates and allow for higher expectations of deliverables. “The reality is that many candidates cannot afford to forgo paid work to gain the valuable experience an internship may offer. If an organisation limits its candidates to only those fortunate enough to have adequate financial resources to be able to consider an unpaid internship, the organisation will be severely limiting its pool,” it says. However, the final decision is left to the discretion of the city administration.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 11:15:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-launches-scheme-to-provide-internship-to-25000-graduates/article31751169.ece

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