Innovations in Rural Skilling Skill Development

Suggestions for strengthening the DDU-GKY ecosystem post Covid-19 period

1.Online classes in DDUGKY scheme

If the pandemic constrains continues for months, candidate dropout from the ongoing batches becomes higher and financial of PIAs may get worse.  Now many of the states online classes are conducting for the school and college students. So, DDUGKY PIAs and States must collect data on their students who are have access to smartphones/computers and connectivity. If any  of them have issues, initiatives should be taken to help them to get devices by taking support through state schemes or NGOs or individuals. After ensuring digital connectivity, online classes may be allowed in DDU-GKY.

2.Up-Skilling or Re-Skilling in DDUGKY Scheme

As per the field experience, it is observed that, majority of the students are attending DDU-GKY to get a job. A small group see it as a certification course and meantime activity before going to higher studies. So considering the aspiration of majority, thorough training in the current trades with good practical exposure is the necessity. For that, steps must be taken to improve the quality of practical training and lab facilities. A provision in the DDU-GKY scheme should be drafted , for candidates who wishes to attend a upskilling/reskilling course in a higher NSQF level trade of same sector he studied. EOI must issued once after collecting the upskilling/reskilling requirements from candidates through PIAs. Then the project has to be awarded specific to the higher level courses.

3.Challenges in utilizing the 100% capacity and completing the project in time bound manner during the COVID Pandemic

Completing the batches//target abiding to COVID protocols is very much difficult for the PIAs. Less number of students in batch leads to lower capacity utilization and ultimately force to extend the project duration. That means PIA needs to run extra batches to cover the allotted target. It may create unplanned financial burden to PIAs like extra expense on rent, salaries etc. So, in order to cover those expenses, either total project cost has to be increased by increasing the per head cost or the allotted targets may be reduced.

4.Strategies to accelerate the placement opportunities

  • Must strengthen Placement Head and placement team in PIAs through systematic capacity building sessions. Currently the placement team is much trained to do the job in a professional way. Most of them are following some leads or contacts to get the candidates placed. It is one of the reasons for poor placement quality.
  • A centralised portal must be created exclusive for DDUGKY trained students. Which should act as a bridge between the candidates/PIAs and employers. So the PIAs from all over India can post their leads in that so the other PIAs can also get connect with that. Employers must be invited to absorb the suitable candidates from the pool. Also if the employers post their requirements, candidates/PIAs can contact them.

5.Challenges in collecting the documents from candidates during pandemic times

  • Collecting physical documents directly from the candidates is always challenging. As travelling is restricted in these times going to the candidates location and getting the documents is much difficult.
  • Due to the issues of COVID, many of the companies or organizations are reduced the salaries of their employees it is affecting the DDUGKY candidates also. So it has been observed that, many small scale employers are not willing to pay the salaries through bank transfer instead they are paying in hand. So the candidate need to get it deposited in their account. Passbook need to get printed either from bank or machines. Due to the COVID restrictions banks will not entertain these entries. Most of the students does not have Net banking facilities in their account, so online bank statement provision is not available in most cases.

6.Challenges in conducting the desk verification

  • Salary payments are not regular from many of the employers. So salaries are credited either partially or in cumulative for multiple months. So, the bank statements does not exhibit the exact data. Salaries of candidates are not getting credited in the first 10 days of a month or it is credited as bulk amount. It create issues in validating document during desk verification.
  • In many companies Appointment orders are not indicating the salary offered. Also the offer letter is issued for a probation period of 3 months or6 months.

7.Challenges in conducting the Physical verification

In PPV,  the verification officer has to travel to the location of the candidate wherever he/she is. The verification is happens in sample basis and if those 6 (in the case of CTSA) samples (candidates) are in six different locations then the verifying officer has to travel to those 6 locations. In practical, most of the times candidate may not be available in the employment location as the placement location claimed by the PIA. There may be many reasons for this. Candidates may change jobs or resign from job after 3 months and many other reasons. Most of the time, when PIAs apply for instalment and when the verification happens, candidates will be at a different location or at home! Also, completing these process in a quick time is essential to reduce the process time of instalment release. Getting instalments in a much shorter time is a help to a good performing PIA. The physical verification is time consuming process as it involves travelling to different locations and availability of candidates at a convenient time. In COVID times it is much more difficult due to various restrictions.

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, MoRD has notified to conduct the placement verifications through video calls by using new age technology tools. It is to avoid the delay in instalment releases and financial burden of PIAs. It actually helped the functionaries a lot in clearing all the pending instalment files. By that notification, placement verifications are conducted and recorded through different software and applications like Skype, Whatsapp, Google meet etc. This helped in reducing the ‘time for completing’ the verification considerably. Verification officer can contact the candidate directly through phone and ask for their convenient time for a video call. All those calls, video uploads to the ERP system and report to the SRLM can be complete in a day or two. There is only very less chance of a failure in this process. Issue of network connectivity or lack of a mobile phone with a video call facility are the only two issues that may arise. Mobile phone with video call facility can be availed by the candidates through friends or relatives, if he/she doesn’t have one. In some cases, verifications has to be done for divyaang candidate who has hearing or speech concerns. In those case also, help of a trainer from the PIA can be availed by adding the trainer also in the verification video call.

This new way of use of technology helps in many ways, as it saves the cost of travelling by the officer, delay in completing the process, reduce the chance of failed verifications at candidate locations etc. So its better to add this provision of verification in SOP of DDU-GKY with few more guidelines.

Aswin Ramachandran
Author: Aswin Ramachandran

Project Officer (M&E), DDU-GKY, NIRD&PR

Aswin Ramachandran
Project Officer (M&E), DDU-GKY, NIRD&PR