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The ministry, in a statement to HT, said it has already received 89 responses for apprentices from six ministries in the last one month.

SANKALP was launched with a loan assistance of $250 million from the World Bank in 2018.

The ministry of skill and entrepreneurship has sought information regarding apprenticeship opportunities across Union ministries, as it embarks on an effort to place 1,000 apprentices in 69 ministries and departments to encourage young people to learn “critical skills for securing decent employment” . 

The apprentices will be paid up to ₹15,000 a month, according to documents reviewed by HT.

The apprenticeship, according to a letter from the ministry forwarded to all concerned departments by the ministry of information and broadcasting dated February 22, is aimed at “filling the gap of supply and demand of a skilled workforce and to meet the aspirations of the Indian youth through work-based learning and better opportunities for employment”.

The ministry, in a statement to HT, said it has already received 89 responses for apprentices from six ministries in the last one month. “The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key programmes for creating skilled manpower in India as it is one of the most sustainable form of skill training,” the statement said.

Emphasis was being laid on apprenticeship promotion to mainstream apprenticeship across central, state and private organisations, the statement said.

“The recently launched National Education Policy (NEP 2020) also highlights the importance of apprenticeship across all levels of education. 

It is under this endeavour that we have proposed that Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will fund stipend for 1,000 apprentices across Central Ministries and create opportunities for them to earn while they learn,” it added. “It is heartening to see that within one month of this proposal we have already received demand for 89 apprentices from six ministries and departments and we are certain that this demand will grow multifold, benefitting both organisations and the apprentices.”

The programme has been initiated to “promote the uptake of domain specific apprentices by various central ministries” under the skill ministry’s Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) programme. The ministry has designed an initiative to fund 1,000 apprentices across ministries and departments, with each receiving around 20 apprentices for a year.

“This initiative has been developed so that the youth of this country benefits from this knowledge and learn professional hands-on skills by way of domain specific opportunities across central ministries,” the skill ministry letter dated 21 January states.

SANKALP was launched with a loan assistance of $250 million from the World Bank in 2018. It aims to improve short term skill training qualitatively and quantitatively through strengthening institutions, bringing in better market connectivity, and inclusion of marginalized sections of the society. It began on 19 January, 2018 and will go on till March 2023.

The ministry has provided for three categories of apprentices — 300 apprentices with vocational certificates at a minimum stipend of ₹7,000, 300 with a diploma at a stipend of ₹8,000, and 400 with a degree at a minimum stipend of ₹9,000, can be hired by the government departments. The ceiling can, however, be raised to ₹15,000 if a ministry so recommends.

The National Skill Development Corporation will coordinate the project. The ministry has also expressed that the project is expected to create an ecosystem to institutionalize apprenticeship positions. Once the year funded by the skill ministry is completed, it is expected that the particular department will continue to fund the project.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether all or a certain proportion of the apprentices would be employed after the apprenticeship.

The letter stressed that the move is in keeping with the National Education Policy, which focuses on vocational training. The new policy was approved by the Union cabinet in July 2020, replacing on older 1986 policy.

 The policy focuses on pre-primary level education to higher education and stresses upon bridging social gaps in access and improving learning outcomes.

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