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“Govt focusing on demand-based skilling, promoting apprenticeship program”

Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India said that the Government is focusing on demand-based skilling, while looking at ways to uplift people at the lower levels of society. He added that the Government is also promoting the apprenticeship program.

Addressing the webinar on ‘Skilling and Employment Post Covid-19: The National Perspective’, organized by FICCI, Dr Pandey said that there is a need to provide counselling to migrant labourers as their lives and livelihoods have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. He urged the industry to focus on communication and behavioural patterns of migrant labourers and create awareness programs as it will help in improving the situation brought by the pandemic.

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The Minister said that the Government is fully aware of the demand-supply gap in the skill sector. To bridge this gap, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched ‘Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM)’ portal. Highlighting the objective of the newly-launched portal, he said it will help skilled workers to find sustainable livelihood opportunities. The portal will also facilitate in identifying major skills gap in sectors and provide employers a platform to assess the availability of skilled workforce. The Minister added that the Government policies fully support the industry.

Dr Pandey further said that there is no denying that the future has arrived sooner than anticipated as many sectors have shifted to remote working in order to contain the transmission of COVID-19, dramatically changing the work place. He emphasised on Government’s commitments to work with industry on developing a cohesive ecosystem for future skills.

‘Rehabilitation of Migrant Workers in India’ and ‘Skills & Jobs, Pre & Post COVID Perspective (Manufacturing Lens) research papers were released during the webinar. Veena Swarup, Former Director, HR, EiL, shared the key recommendations of the Migration report, which included counselling for migrant workers and setting up of migration support centres. Nivruti Rai, Chair, FICCI Skill Development Committee & Country Head, Intel India, said that India should take advantage of the opportunities that the pandemic has brought with it. The areas where India can act instantly are online education, tele-medicine, bringing more manufacturing to the country and automation of industries.

Highlighting the importance of skilling in these areas, Rai suggested that Indian Government could collaborate with countries such as Malaysia. India can send about 1,500 workers to Malaysia’s robotic industry for a year, where they can train and later come back to the country and work in such manufacturing units. Malaysia will also benefit as they will have a source of labour.

Elaborating on the retail sector perspective, Peter Betzel, CEO & CSO, IKEA India, and Parineeta Cecil Lakra, People & Culture Manager, IKEA India, said that post COVID-19, there will be a major shift in the functioning of organisations. Health and safety of employees will be a priority to ensure smooth running of businesses.

According to Ben Zandi, CEO – Airports, Adani Enterprise Ltd, the future of aviation belongs to India as the current economic gap has allowed the aviation industry to re-imagine its functioning. Ajith Pai, Chief Operating Officer, Delhivery, shared his perspective on the logistics sector and its readiness to deal with post-COVID-19 skilling and employment.

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said that every crisis comes with an opportunity and post the pandemic there will be a huge shift in the way we work, skill and teach.

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