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Imphal, 17July (IANS): Human trafficking is witnessing an increase in the north-eastern states this year, Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Keisham Pradipkumar said on Sunday.

"Human trafficking in this region had decreased for a few years but has seen a sharp increase in 2016," he said.

The state Social Welfare Department has been informing parents in Manipur not to be lured by tall promises by traffickers of free education and jobs for their wards outside the state, the panel member said.

He also defended the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights vis-a-vis the detention of 21 Muslim boys on July 14 by the Central Industrial Security Force at the Tulihal international airport here.

"We verify such cases as per the Supreme Court directive. Our actions are not directed against any community. Most boys detained were under the age of 12," he added.

New Delhi, 16th July (IANS): The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has announced the launch of an online platform -- www.indiaskillsonline.com -- for inculcating skills of choice and bridge the digital divide in India.

Courses on soft skill, languages, culture, digital literacy and entrepreneurship are some of the options that will be made available to the users.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Skill India mission last year which aimed to train over 40 crore youths in India by 2022.

"With the introduction of online skill learning, the whole nation potentially becomes a classroom. The audio-video graphical illustrations format will help internalise the concepts for the skill-seekers, faster and longer," the official statement said.

"Skill India resolves to bridge the digital divide by providing basic digital literacy opportunities to all skill-seekers. It will make them more aware, and better suited for the work environment of the day," it added.

On Friday, President Pranab Mukherjee had inaugurated the first edition of 'India Skills' competition on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day.

Thiruvananthapuram, 14th July (IANS): The Kerala government will offer a more attractive rehabilitation package to those who had to return from the Middle East because of economic downturn or other reasons, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday.

Vijayan told the assembly that Keralites settled in the Middle East have not only been facing economic downturn due to falling oil prices but also governmental regulations requiring employers to reserve jobs for the locals.

"On both these issues, it's our diaspora which will bear the brunt as there is a likelihood of our people returning back," Vijayan said in response to a calling attention motion moved by CPI-M legislator K.V. Abdul Khadar.

"To tackle this, the state government will chalk out special rehabilitation schemes and welfare packages. Already there are programmes, but it appears they have not yielded the desired results," said Vijayan.

The Keralite diaspora is estimated to be three million strong, and a major chunk of them is located in the Middle East.

Thousands of Indians working in these countries have been returning home on account of downturn caused by steep fall in oil prices as also regulations that aim at increasing the proportion of locals in employment vis--vis migrants.

Vijayan said the existing welfare scheme for the returnees is not attractive enough as is borne out by low take-up -- only 1.40 lakh people have taken advantage of it.

"We will work in tandem with the various diaspora organisations to see that the scheme is revised. We will also work with financial institutions to work out suitable schemes for the returnees to set up self-employment schemes and also avenues for employing them," he said.

The Chief Minister said "path-breaking land reforms" and the "contribution of our diaspora" are two biggest achievements of the state and now the government will do its best to tackle the issues facing Keralites living abroad and those returning.

Presenting the state budget on July 8, Finance Minister Thomas Issac increased the welfare fund for the needy returnees from just Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 crore.

Issac also doubled the fund for the scheme for lending money to the returnees from Rs 12 crore to Rs 24 crore.

New Delhi, 13th July (IANS): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs 12,000 crore to impart skills to one crore people, which also includes providing fresh training to 60 lakh youths, over the next four years.

The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Among one crore people, 60 lakh will be given fresh training while 40 lakh who are already skilled without any formal training in any institution will be provided certificates under the scheme.

"This scheme will impart fresh training to 60 lakh youths and certify skills of 40 lakh persons acquired non-formally under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)," an official statement said.

"The scheme would move to a grant-based model where the training and assessment cost would be directly reimbursed to training providers and assessment bodies in accordance with the common norms," the statement added.

In this scheme, the financial support to the trainees would be given in the form of travel allowance, boarding and lodging costs. Post-placement support would be given directly to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

"Disbursement of training cost to training partners will be linked to Aadhaar and biometrics for better transparency and targeting. Skill training would be done based on industry-led standards aligned to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF)," the statement said.

In view of the recommendations of the sub-group of Chief Ministers on skill development regarding the need to address the unique skill requirements of different states, state governments would be involved under the PMKVY 2016-20 with 25 per cent of the total training targets, both financial and physical, being allocated under this stream of the scheme.

"The financial amount for achieving 25 per cent of the total training targets of next phase of PMKVY would be directly allocated to the states," the statement said.

Mobilisation, monitoring and post training placement of trainees will be done through Rozgar Melas (placement camps) and Kaushal Shivirs (mobilisation camps).

In addition to catering to domestic skill needs, PMKVY will also focus on skill training aligned to international standards for overseas employment in Gulf countries, Europe and other overseas destinations. .
Chennai, 12th July (IANS): Over the next five years, Tamil Nadu has the potential to create more than 90 lakh jobs, attract investments of around Rs 22 lakh crore and log double digit growth, a study by industry body Assocham states.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) on Tuesday released a paper titled 'Action Agenda for New Government of Tamil Nadu' here.

According to the paper, Tamil Nadu had attracted investments worth over Rs 11 lakh crore between 2006-07 and 2015-16.

"Effective implementation of the investment projects holds key to growth of industry sector that will in turn help in creating lakhs of fresh job opportunities for 29 per cent of youth population that forms the workforce in the state," the paper said.

On the agriculture side the paper suggested that the state government should look at doubling the output to five per cent to increase food grain production to 170 lakh tonne.

As the state is not well endowed with water resources, Tamil Nadu should focus on water shed management, water conservation, dry land farming and other techniques.

Highlighting that industrial growth in Tamil Nadu had declined from 11 per cent in the Tenth Plan period (2002-07) to about eight per cent in 11th Plan (2007-12), despite the state being a leading manufacturer of automobile, textile, hosiery, pharma, leather, information technology (IT) and information technology-based enable services (ITeS).

According to the paper, the state should revive traditional labour-intensive industries of textiles, garments, leather, matches, fireworks and others comprising large number of small-scale industries.

Besides, significant industries in sectors like automobile, chemical and transport equipment are facing infrastructure, environment and labour-related issues in Tamil Nadu. The state needs to address these issues on an urgent basis.