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Uttrakhand Needs 4 Lakh Skilled Workers in Next Five Years

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DEHRADUN: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) have jointly brought a ‘Sustainable Action Plan for the new government’ which was released by ASSOCHAM President, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia along with its Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat, Mr. P K Jain, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Food Processing & Value Addition Council and Ms. Kshama V Kaushik, Director, TARI at a press conference here at Dehradun.

During 2012-22, about 2.06 million jobs will be created whereas 2.53 million additional people will be added to the labour force. The paper further suggests the comprehensive training to youths for the primary sector like irrigation management, rainwater harvesting needed, noted the study.

The report was submitted to the Chief Minister Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat by ASSOCHAM President Mr. Sandeep Jajodia and Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat. The report further stressed that the skilling centres should be set up, like food processing in Rishikesh, handloom in Almora and tourism in Uttarkashi. “Management Information System (MIS) should be designed to capture the requirement of skilled personnel at various levels in various districts in line with NSDC study/ recommendations”.

The state needs to build up a database for current level of migration, employment, agri processing industries, urban housing, telecom etc. There is a need for fresh policies in the areas of health, education, skilling and water management.

“Collaboration between the state government and state universities, research institutes and public and private think tanks too is necessary for economic research and reworking of policy frameworks”.

Higher growth has encouraged private sector participation and higher investment. In 2015-16, it received fresh investment of Rs 1.45 lakh crore with a growth rate of 23.7% over the previous year. Most of the investment has come into infrastructure, construction and real estate. The share of investment in infrastructure has increased from 11.8% in 2004-05 to 27.5% in 2015-16. Construction and real estate investment share increased from negligible in 2004-05 to 3.9% in 2015-16.

The industry sector is dominated by small scale industries (SSIs). During 2011-12 to 2014-15, SSIs grew by 18.5%. The sector comprises of floriculture, horticulture, agri/food processing, biotechnology and tourism and has been showing continuous improvement. However, the full potential of these industries has not been exploited due to various bottlenecks which have been addressed below.

The growth in the services sector is driven by tourism (depicted by trade, hotels and restaurants) which has the highest share in this sector. Its growth, in fact, accelerated during 2004-5 to 2014-15 and its share increased from around 34% in 2004-05 to 51% in 2014-15. Growth rate of this sector has been around 17%.

While addressing the press conference Mr. Jajodia said, “A comprehensive policy of public private partnership (PPP) needs to be framed along the lines of Kerala, which has brought private investment and done wonders to promote tourism”.

According to the ASSOCHAM paper, more investment is needed in building warehouses, cold storages and specialized transport vehicles for food processing industries. More private sector participation should be encouraged to build tourist infrastructure.

Lack of modern techniques and technologies, lack of high quality seeds for crops suitable for rain-fed and hill areas, small and fragmented land holdings, high taxes on purchase of food grains and lack of sufficient marketing facilities are hampering growth. The state needs to invest more in research and development of high quality seeds, application of new and innovative technologies and provide training to farmers. Village adoption programme which provides for farmers’ training and technological assistance in the plains should be expanded to hilly areas, added ASSOCHAM Chief.

The concept of cooperatives, contract farming, self-help groups and farmers’ organisation are helpful in addressing the problems arising out of small and fragmented land holding, like access to credit and innovative technologies.

The report said the industrial sector has done well, particularly the rural and small industrial units have grown by leaps and bounds and the sector now contributes around 40% to the GSDP – one of the highest in India. However, there is a huge potential for the expansion of agri-based industries which needs to be harnessed by improving marketing facilities and skilling. The ease of doing business ranking has improved but complex documentation, lack of IT-based tracking and monitoring of administrative clearances act as disincentives and need to be addressed.

Micro-credit institutions and SHGs need to be promoted to provide credit to women to set up their own small business in hill areas. To generate more employment in the informal sector, agriculture growth should be supported with storage, warehousing and marketing facilities and more emphasis should be put on vertical integration of labour intensive industries – like apparel industries should be motivated to integrate button and cuff making units etc. to generate employment in such micro sectors.

The state should make efforts to promote other forms like adventure and eco-tourism by setting safety standards for adventure sports and implementing and expanding the scope of Uttarkhand Homestay Agenda for Uttarakhand Government 2017 Policy formulated. The state also needs to provide skilling in foreign languages as the inflow foreign tourists has been steadily going up.

The state’s Char Dhaam highway connectivity is a good model to follow in the rest of the hill areas. Power supply in hills is particularly worrisome as it is skewed in favour of the plains. AT&C losses are high. Efforts should be made in setting up small, mini and micro hydropower generation plants and revival of 15,000 water mills lying defunct. Besides, electricity generation through pine gasification is still in the pipeline.

Financial inclusion needs to be strengthened to overcome regional disparities and low index of financial inclusion. The state would do well to take advantage of the central government sponsored slum redevelopment and urban renewal programmes to overcome such problems. The state needs to launch a full-fledged programme of training local bodies to make city sanitation and promote MFIs and Business Correspondents (BCs) to take financial inclusion to remote areas.


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