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New Delhi: Aiming to accelerate India’s economic agenda, the government increased 74% in the budget provision for skill development and entrepreneurship from Rs.1,038 crore ($160 million) for last year to Rs.1,804 crore ($264 million) in 2016-17. 100,000 trainers are needed to execute skill-development programs across the country.

According to India Spend, only 2% ( 9 million ) of workers in India are officially trained in which only 5.5 million enrolls in vocational course per year. Enrollment in China is 90 million and 11.3 million in the United States.

Only 209,000 out of 1.4 million got the job in IT sector in 2015 which is only 17%. Similarly, 33,224 are reported to be hired in the banking sector, government and private banks in 2015.

According to a survey of National Sample Survey Office in 2011-12, around 10.6 million Indians are unemployed, in which 7.8 million are from age group 20-59 years and 474 million are the part-time employees. India needs 23 million jobs annually but only 7 million jobs are produced every year from the last 30 years.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, announced his plans during the third budget on February 29, to invest Rs.1,700 crore ($200 million) to open 1,500 multi-skill training institutes across India.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Prime Minister’s Skill Development Scheme (launched on July 15, 2015) targets to skill 10 million youth over the next three years, in accumulation to setting up the National Board for Skill Development Certification in partnership with industry and academia. It is a skill certification and reward scheme which is likely to benefit 2.4 million people.

Rs. 1,771 crore had spent last year for PMKVY under the foundation of a separate ministry for skill development and entrepreneurship in which National Skill Development Fund/Corporation (NSDC), aimed to receive the most Rs. 1,350 crore fund from both government and non-government sectors for skill development.

NSDC achieved less than 15 percent of its 3.7 million skill-training targets in the first six months of the current financial year. NSDC had achieved less than 30 percent in terms of training and 10 percent in terms of certification, and a target of 2.4 million, as of February 2016.

According to data verified in Lok Sabha, around 19 million people have been skilled under 40 different skill-development schemes over the last three years and 5.5 million people are presently enrolled in skilling courses, with 231 million Indians aged 15-24 needing to be skilled, reported IndiaSpend.

According to NSDC study, the employment rate is set to increase 461.1 million in 2013 to 581.9 million in 2022, across 24 sectors. The supplementary requirement in many sectors, such as construction, retail, and wellness, is claimed to be 109.7 million by 2022, with the top 10 sectors accounting for 80 percent of the jobs needed.

31.1 million people are required in building construction and real estate sector, followed by logistics, transportation and warehousing (11.7 million) and beauty and wellness (10.1 million). Maharashtra needs 15.5 million more people, Tamil Nadu (13.6 million) and Uttar Pradesh (11 million).

Around 100 ‘’model career centres’’ are planned to set by 2016-17under the National Career Service, an online portal that matches job-seekers with jobs. About 35 million job-seekers have registered since the launch of this portal in July 2015.(IANS)

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Across Asia’s Borders, Survivors Of Human Trafficking, Dial in for Justice

The trial has been ongoing since 2013

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Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India.
Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India. VOA

When Neha Maldar testified against the traffickers who enslaved her as a sex worker in India, she spoke from the safety of her own country, Bangladesh, via videoconferencing, a technology that could revolutionize the pursuit of justice in such cases.

The men in the western city of Mumbai appeared via video link more than 2,000 km (1,243 miles) west of Maldar as she sat in a government office in Jessore, a major regional hub for sex trafficking, 50 km from Bangladesh’s border with India.

“I saw the people who had trafficked me on the screen and I wasn’t scared to identify them,” Maldar, who now runs a beauty parlor from her home near Jessore, told Reuters. “I was determined to see them behind bars.”

“I told them how I was beaten for refusing to work in the brothel in the beginning and how the money I made was taken away,” she said, adding that she had lied to Indian authorities about her situation after being rescued, out of fear.

Thousands of people from Bangladesh and Nepal — mainly poor, rural women

and children — are lured to India each year by traffickers who promise good jobs but sell them into prostitution or domestic servitude, anti-slavery activists say.

Activists hope the safe, convenient technology could boost convictions. A Bangladeshi sex trafficker was jailed for the first time in 2016 on the strength of a victim’s testimony to a court in Mumbai via video link from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.

Convictions for cross-border trafficking in the region are rare as most victims choose not to pursue cases that have traditionally required them to testify in Indian courts, which meant staying in a shelter for the duration of the trial.

“They have always wanted to go back home, to their families,” said Shiny Padiyara, a legal counsel at the Indian charity Rescue Foundation that has facilitated videoconferencing cases and runs shelters for trafficking victims. “And most never return to testify.”

But videoconferencing is making it easier to pursue justice. Survivors have given statements, identified their traffickers, and been cross examined in at least 10 other ongoing international cases in Bangladesh, advocates said.

“Enabling victims to testify via video conference will lead to a possible decrease in acquittal rates for want of prime witnesses,” said Adrian Phillips of Justice and Care, a charity that supports the use of video testimony to help secure justice.

Even then, it is tough. During Maldar’s three-hour deposition, she withstood a tough cross-examination, showed identity documents to prove her age and countered allegations by the defense lawyer that she was lying about her identity.

Students Combat Human Trafficking
Students Combat Human Trafficking, flickr

‘Unpardonable’

Tara Khokon Miya is preparing her 27-year-old daughter to testify against the men who trafficked her to India from Dhaka, where she had been working in a garment factory.

“I almost lost my daughter forever,” she said, sitting in her home in Magura, less than 50 km from Jessore, describing how she disappeared after work and was taken to a brothel in India, and raped and beaten for almost a year before being rescued.

“What the traffickers did to my daughter was unpardonable,” Miya said, wiping her tears. “We seek justice. I nurtured her in my womb and can’t describe what it felt like to not know about her whereabouts.”

The trial has been ongoing since 2013 when the young woman, who declined to be named, was repatriated. The charity Rights Jessore is helping the family through the process, by providing counseling and rehearsing cross-examination.

“The best thing is her father will be by her side when she talks in court,” Miya said, finally breaking into a smile.

India signed a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh in 2015 to ensure faster trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and with Nepal in 2017, and laid down basic procedures to encourage the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings.

“The procedure is very transparent,” said judge K M Mamun Uzzaman at Jessore courthouse, which often converts its conference hall into a courtroom for videoconferencing cases to protect survivors’ privacy.

“I’m usually present and victims are able to testify confidently … it is easy and cost effective for us,” he said. “But the biggest beneficiaries are the survivors.”

Silencing Victims
Silencing Victims, pixabay

The future

Videoconferencing in Bangladesh has been plagued by technical glitches such as power cuts and poor connections.

“Sometimes the internet connection is weak or it gets disconnected during the testimony,” said Binoy Krishna Mallick head of Rights Jessore, a pioneer in using this technology to encourage trafficking survivors to pursue justice. “But these are just teething troubles.”

The bigger challenge, activists say, is to ensure survivors remain committed to the trial despite delays caused by a backlog of cases and witnesses’ failure to appear to testify.

Swati Chauhan, one of the first judges to experiment with video testimony in 2010, is convinced that technology can eliminate many of these hurdles.

Also read: Imagining Panun Kashmir: Dissent And Detente in South Asia

“Victims go through a lot of trauma, so it is natural that they don’t want to confront their trafficker in a court — but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the trafficker to be punished,” she said. “A videoconference requires meticulous planning and it is not easy coordinating between departments and countries. But it is the future for many seeking justice.” (VOA)