Special skill development scheme for Maoist areas

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) The central government has launched a job-linked skill development scheme targeting rural men and women in 24 districts worst affected by Maoist violence in the country.

The three-year programme called "Roshni" aims at providing skills and later jobs to 50,000 youth from 24 districts in nine states affected by Maoist violence.

The new programme, launched Thursday, drew lessons from a similar scheme implemented in two critical Left-wing extremism affected districts -- West Singhbhum in Jharkhand and Sukma in Chhattisgarh -- and the Himayat programme launched to address the needs and aspirations of the youth in Jammu and Kashmir.

Beneficiaries aged between 18-35 years with requisite aptitudes, depending upon the trade or job requirements, are to be selected as per the Participatory Identification of Poor.

The scheme will be implemented through training partners from the private and public sectors, as well as non-profit organisations.

The scheme will train youth from the districts for employment in the organised sector.

"The training providers will ensure 75 percent placement, defined as continuous employment for three months, at higher than minimum wages. Placements will be provided anywhere in India," union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Different training strategies will be used for diverse groups of youths, ranging from school dropouts (below 10th standard) to those with college education.

Ramesh said at least 50 percent of the candidates covered under the scheme will be women. Special efforts will be made to proactively cover Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) on a priority basis.