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Thiruvananthapuram, 28th Oct (IANS): The Kerala government Tuesday offered three options to the 534 nurses who had to return from Iraq and Libya due to the conflict in those countries.

The options were finalised at a meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and attended by officials and representatives of five companies owning hospitals in the Middle East and in the country.

Of the 534 nurses, 39 hold a BSc nursing degree, while the remaining hold a diploma in nursing.

A government official who attended the meeting told IANS on condition of anonymity that there are practical difficulties faced both by the nurses who have not got their experience certificates from Libya or Iraq, and by the hospital authorities, because such certificates are essential for getting a job permit in all the Middle East countries.

"After discussions, three options have been put forward to the 534 nurses. On Nov 18, these nurses have to convey their decision," said the official.

In the first option, these nurses will be given three months training here to prepare for the mandatory tests. Upon clearing the tests they will be given jobs in any of the Middle East hospitals owned by the five companies which took part in today's talks.

In the next option, the nurses can work as 'Patient Aid' in these Middle East hospitals at a maximum monthly salary of Rs.50,000, and also prepare for the qualifying exam. Once they pass it, they will be absorbed as nurses.

The third option is that these nurses can work in any of the hospitals in the state owned by these five groups for a maximum salary of Rs.18,000 per month.

"The nurses have to indicate their preference on Nov 18 when the committee meets again," said the official.

Remya Jose, a nurse who returned from Tikrit in Iraq, told IANS that 15 of her friends who returned with her are now working with a private hospital in UAE, (who are partnering with the Kerala government for rehabilitating the returnee nurses).

"I was unable to go because my marriage was fixed. Now on the 18th of this month, I will be giving my option and I would now prefer to work in Kerala itself. My friends who have gone to the UAE are happy with their work," said Jose.

Currently, the expenses for the nurses to take up a job in any of the Middle East countries, come around to Rs two lakh including fees, airline ticket and other charges. But if these nurses opt for any of the three options they will have a free recruitment.
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New Delhi, 26th Oct (IANS): Poor youth from rural areas of India can look forward to improved placements in a range of areas, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, hospitality and retail, with the rural development ministry working on several innovations in its skill development scheme to make it an effective intervention in efforts towards poverty alleviation.

Official sources said that the reworked scheme - Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojna (DDUGKY) - has innovative features including "champion employers" and concurrent monitoring. The ministry, they said, was also working on other initiatives including "industry internship" and "international placements".

"The focus is to target placements outside the country and quality domestic placement for the poor rural youth. This is the future. This is also an effective way of alleviating poverty," an official told IANS.

The revamped scheme has a concept of "champion employer" - companies that will not only give employment to the youth but also provide them a certain level of career progression.

"Champion employers will provide 10,000 jobs in two years and these jobs will give opportunity for growth," another official said.

Officials said that leading firms had already been identified as champion employers - Cafe Coffee Day, Apollo Hospitals and The Manpower Group.

The officials said each of these firms will provide candidates a clear career path.

A candidate enrolling for a quick service restaurant trade in Café Coffee Day can rise to cafe manager in two years by acquiring three additional certifications, said officials. Apollo Medskills will provide training in areas like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, dental and paramedics. The Manpower Group candidates would be trained in pharma, retail and consumer products.

The rural development ministry has been implementing skills and placement initiatives since 1999 and had started the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) as a placement-linked programme for wage earning and self-employment.

The SGSY was redesigned and launched last September with its Aajeevika Skills component seeking to provide skills to the poor rural youth (18 to 35 years) and link them with regular wage employment.

Officials said that quality jobs which promise a certain degree of career progression were virtually inaccessible to poor youth from rural areas who comprise 65 percent of the country's population of 1.25 billion.

The ministry is keen that the Deen Dayal UGKY scheme should not only address the needs of domestic industry but also meet the needs of skilled manpower abroad. It is keen for tie-ups with companies which can provide global jobs.

Officials said that developed countries were predicted to face a shortfall of 57 million semi-skilled workers by 2020 while India was expected to have a surplus of 47 million.

Countries such as the US, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Spain, Britain and China, apart from countries in the Middle East, have a demand for skilled and semi-skilled manpower.

India has an estimated 430 million young people in the 15-34 age group, constituting about 35 percent of the country's population. The age group is projected to increase to 464 million by 2021.

"This is a demographic challenge as also a potential demographic dividend if productivity of this large youth force is harnessed through demand-based skill and capacity development," the official said.

He said the percentage of skilled workforce in India was far lower than in the developed countries.

"We need to start pushing now so that we can start meeting the global demand by 2020," the official said.

He added that the revamped scheme will also help take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" vision.

The ministry is also working on a concept to benchmark the training programmes to international standards through Rural India Skills Emblem (RISE), to certify the skill-set of an individual as well as other job-related parameters.

The revamped scheme is expected to have a special component of industry internship.

The reworked scheme is expected to fully roll out before the end of this year and would be upscaled by 2017-18 to provide skills training to about a million youths a year.

The skills scheme provides for a grant and training rural youth through project implementing agencies. The scheme is implemented by the rural development ministry along with the state governments.
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New Delhi, 20th Oct (IANS): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed concern over low representation of women in many fields, including police where it is less than 10 percent.

Addressing the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Women's Press Corps here Sunday, Singh recalled that one of the first things he did after becoming home minister was to issue an advisory to Delhi Police, and police in other states, to fill 33 percent posts with women.

In order to make women feel more secure in public spaces, he said police forces needed to be more "women friendly", according to a press release by the IWPC Monday.

The home minister also expressed concern over the "trolling" of women in the online media where as compared to men, character assassination of women was much more virulent.

He expressed concern over the growing atmosphere of insecurity for women in the country, the statement said.

He said all departments in the central government were conscious that it was necessary to create an environment that was progressive and safe for women.

The minister said that real empowerment of women could be achieved only by a prolonged struggle.

He also mentioned challenges of harassment at the work place.

At the same time, Rajnath Singh lauded the fact that women were taking great strides in every field and were consistent performers.

The minister also released a special souvenir with the theme "Women and the National Agenda". The function was jointly organised by the IWPC and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
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Bangalore, 8th Oct (IANS): Internet giant and search engine Yahoo! is giving 'pink slips' to about 600 techies here to trim its workforce in India and consolidate its core engineering activity in the US.

Though Yahoo! India R&D centre here declined to confirm, a source in the know of the development told IANS Wednesday that about 200 lateral/senior employees have, however, been asked to re-locate to its main engineering centre in California, US.

The 20-year-old firm said in the US late Tuesday that it was making some changes in its Bangalore operations to consolidate certain teams into fewer offices.

"As we're looking at ways to achieve greater efficiency, collaboration and innovation across business, we're making changes to the way we operate in Bangalore leading to consolidation of certain teams into fewer offices," the company said in a statement.

Asserting that Yahoo! will continue to have presence in India, the tech firm said its Bangalore operations would remain important to ensure sustainable growth.

"The team leaders have been given an opportunity to work in its product development centre at Santa Clara on the basis of their performance and long association," the source said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Yahoo! India subsidiary has about 2,000 employees, with over 1,000 engaged in back office operations for voice/data services and customer support.

The golden handshake has a six-eight months' severance package, depending upon years of service with the company here and domain expertise in its core competencies.

"Yahoo! has decided to consolidate its core engineering activity at one place. Hence, it asked its team leaders working in the India R&D facility here to shift to its main engineering lab at its head office," the source said.
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New Delhi, 7th Oct (IANS):The government is well into the process of revising the National Policy on Skill Development, 2009, which will be ready by the end of the current financial year, a top official said Tuesday.

"There are instructions that the policy should be ready by the end of the current fiscal, by March 31 next year," Sunil Arora, secretary in the recently-created ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, told reporters on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-organised conference here on skill development.

"Comments are being obtained from the various ministries. Once these are received, a draft policy will be placed on the website of the ministry to invite comments from the public and other stakeholders," he added.

The existing policy was formulated by the labour ministry in 2009 to impart various skills to 500 million people under a standardised framework and in keeping with international norms, and based on industry demands. It led to the setting up of the National Skill Development Corporation as a public-private-partnership project.

Skill development is a focus area of the National Democratic Alliance government, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day speech announced the "Make in India" campaign inviting companies across the world to make their products in India and create jobs in the labour-intensive manufacturing sectors.

The policy is being revised so that schemes of different ministries and portions of the Rs.10,000 crore earmarked to encourage entrepreneurship are routed through the newly-formed skill development and entrepreneurship ministry.

Moreover, the new policy aims to ensure that the country's youth also fulfil the skilled manpower demand abroad, by benchmarking the training programmes to international standards.

The new ministry is considering branding the programme through the Rural India Skills Emblem in the manner of the Bureau of Indian Standards certification, which will hallmark the skilled workers from India in a way that is recognized globally.
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