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By NewsGram Staff Writer
The driving force for economic growth and social development for any country is skill and knowledge. Nations that possess a high degree of skill are better placed to handle the vagaries of the domestic, as well as the international, labor market.
With India at the cusp of a demographic shift, holding one of the youngest populations in the world, a skilled workforce is the need of the hour.
As per a skill development report, in the next 20 years the labor force in the industrialized world will decline by four percent whereas in India the same will expand by a healthy 32 percent. The dynamic transition in the demographic dividend poses both a challenge and an opportunity and further calls for employing the youth in productive activities.
In this regard, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India Mission, an ambitious skill development programme which aims to train and polish a whopping 150 million people by 2022, is laudable although overtly ambitious.
The programme will further fuel Modi’s other development planks, the chief ones being Digital India, Make-in-India, Swacch Bharat, Smart City, and Namami Gange, as skill is the prerequisite for achieving such lofty aims.
According to the skill development report, it has been estimated that an abysmal 2.3 percent of the total workforce in India has undergone formal skill training compared to 68 percent in the UK.
The skill gap study conducted in 2014 by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the apex body responsible for bringing forth the arduous task of skill development, indicated an additional net requirement of approximately 12 crore skilled workers in twenty four key sectors.
The 66th and 68th round of the NSSO survey further revealed that out of the total workforce of 49 crore people, 15 crore are in the age group of 15-45. This requires constant mapping of the existing skill levels along with re-skilling to maximize the productivity of the workforce by charting out a feasible livelihood plan.
Moreover, almost 90 percent of the students who enroll in schools drop out at different levels before reaching college. Most of them become unemployable due to lack of requisite skills.
Retracing skill development
Skill development concerns, which have today gained much prominence through political sloganeering, were voiced by the management thinker CK Prahalad almost a decade ago.
After making the Mumbai dabbawalaas ubiquitously famous, Prahalad’s cautionary advice to skill 500 million people by 2022, caught the UPA officials in rapt attention. Subsequently, the Honhaar Bharat campaign was initiated under whose umbrella the National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC) came into existence.
The Confederation of Indian Industry(CII), an association of Indian businesses later started the India@75 programme for bringing about a transformational change in the economy by 2022, the 75th year of Indian independence.
The NDA government then progressed on the foundation laid by the UPA government and formed a ministry dedicated to skill development, although clubbed with the ministry of youth affairs and sports. The mandate of the ministry was handed down to Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
The programme was henceforth renamed as the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy defined plans for skill development, “almost impossible to achieve.” Looking at the immensity of the groundwork required for achieving such a heroic feat, it is not impossible to imagine why Rudy contended with such a candid remark.
According to Dilip Chenoy, CEO of NSDC, 365 million people will be entering the workforce by 2022, almost two times more than the current target of the Skill India Mission.
The workforce in the unorganized sector is ever expanding and the dropout rates in schools stand at a jaw dropping 88 percent. The number of people migrating in search of job opportunities is also increasing by the day, a segment which needs to properly tapped by the government.
Modi’s boisterous calls for the Industrial Training Institute (ITIs) to take up the mantle of IITs to produce skilled workforce needs to be actualized. Abstract declarations of “minimum government, maximum governance” also need to see the light of the day so that the private sector can usher in a skill development revolution.
India can and should become the human resource capital of the world.
India is known for its pickles, popularly called 'Achaar', even across the world. But who thought about the idea of pickles in the first place? Apparently, the idea of making pickles first came from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, where archaeologists have found evidence of cucumbers being soaked in vinegar. This was done to preserve it, but the practice has spread all over the world today, that pickles mean so much more than just preserved vegetables.
In India, the idea of pickle has nothing to do with preservation, rather pickle is a side dish that adds flavour and taste to almost anything. In Punjab, parathas are served with pickle; in the south, pickle and curd rice is a household favourite, and in Andhra, it is a staple, eaten with everything. The flavour profile of pickles in each state is naturally different, suited to each cuisine's taste. Pickles are soaked in oil and salt for at least a month, mixed with spices and stored all year round. Mango season is often synonymous with pickle season as a majority of Indians love mango pickle. In the coastal cities, pickles are even made out of fish and prawns.
The Indian Achaar Image credit: Photo by Rahat Hossen on Unsplash
In other cultures, the pickling process has more to do with preservation. Cold countries, where temperatures drop to very low levels, pickle their vegetables in brine, vinegar, or salt. Sweden is famous for pickled herring, because fishing all year round is hard with all the snow and ice. The German Sauerkraut, originally composed of rice, cabbage, and wine, is now made using salt instead of wine. This gives it a sour flavour that is characteristic of the beloved German delicacy.
In Korea, kimchi is the national delicacy. It is a pickle that is made from pickled cabbages with a distinct mix of spices. Kimchi is made with various core ingredients, and is gaining popularity these days with the Korean Wave hitting the globe. It is a practice that represents the Korean winters, which are too harsh to grow anything. The Kimchi business is one of the largest in Korea, while the individual family recipes are also well-preserved as it is believed that each is unique in its own way.
The pickles made from dill and vinegar are most famous in America. It was introduced to the Americans by the Jewish immigrants. Dill pickles are best paired with sandwiches.
Keywords: Pickles, Culture, Brine, Vinegar, Preserves
It is impossible to detail the history of bookbinding without understanding the need for it. A very useful, and yet simple invention, spiral coils that hold books together and allow mobile access to the user came about just before WWII, but much before that, paper underwent a massive change in production technique.
Beginning in China, paper was made of bamboo sticks slit open and flattened. In Egypt, papyrus was made from the reeds that grew in the Nile. In India, long, rectangular strips of palm leaves were stitched together to form legible documents. When monasteries were established, scrolls came into being. Parchment paper, or animal hide, also known as vellum, were used to copy out texts periodically to preserve them. Prior to all this, clay tablets were used to record important events, and in some cases, rock edicts were made.
But all this changed with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg. Paper became the medium by which inscriptions, announcements, and almost everything was made. Once paper became so accessible, printing began in full scale. Newspapers and the Bible were printed every day.
Metal coils were used before the world war Image credit: Photo by Dan Bucko on Unsplash
With wads of paper, something had to be done about keeping them together. Bookbinding began as a booming business. First, the pages were just sewn together. A special sewing machine was invented just for books. When this did not suit all book types, the process of punching and binding began. Holes were punched in books, and they were tied together.
Much later, an adhesive thermoplastic strip became available by which book pages were stuck together. They sold in this format for a long time. Ideas began to flow in for notebooks when people discovered that they could attach pieces of paper together. A machine was invented that drew lines. This made it easier for people who wrote a lot.
After a while, when people got used to having their books a certain way, The Spiral Binding Company opened in 1932, which changed the way bookbinding was done. Books could now be bound by coil and this was not only economical, but also convenient, because pages could easily be turned without breaking the bind. The original spiral bind coil was made of metal, but when supplies were rationed during WWII, they were made from plastic. This trend has remained to the present day, where spiral bound books are preferred to the other kinds of binding except in cases of publishing and official documentation.
Keywords: Spiral Binding, WWII, Paper, Books, Printing
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
To keep the value and quality of what you offer, whether it's a romantic breakfast in bed or a royal wedding gift that will be remembered for years. The concept of gift-giving has taken on a number of shapes in today's society. Devina Singhania, the Founder of 'LE JAHAAN', a local home and decor accessories company, explains how the gifting paradigm has shifted.
Q: What do consumers expect from the gifting business and packaging designers these days?
A: Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. They are now more conscious about how their purchase affects the environment. Considering this shift in consumer buying, it's extremely important for companies to increase their commitments to responsible business practices and design products that are meant to be reused or recycled.
Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. | Photo by Superkitina on Unsplash
Q: The practice of self-gifting is being driven by millennials. What are your thoughts on the subject?
A: I absolutely agree with this. Millennials are so creative and expressive. They are more into personalized products with which they can tell the world something about themselves. We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. They truly believe it's the best way to stand out from the crowd and establish a signature style and we couldn't agree more.
We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What impact do colour trends have on gift designs and packaging?
A: 'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends and we hope to continue this association with colour even while we break through to more sustainable products and collections.
'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What has changed as a result of the pandemic in terms of how we commemorate special occasions and the gift-giving tradition?
A: It's smaller in quantity but more luxurious and thought through.
Q: What giving trends should one keep an eye on in 2022?
A: Consumers, including millennials and members of Generation Z, are especially concerned with sustainability. So, the trend is definitely to go green with eco-friendly.
Q: How does Le Jahaan keep its clients coming back?
A: Our products speak for themselves. We make small batches with exceptional quality with a personal touch.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gifts, le jahaan, festive, millennials, sustainable, gen z, paradigm, gifting