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Skilling Not Cost, is the Problem of Women Empowerment: Maneka Gandhi

Team Inclusion

New Delhi, Mar 20: When it comes to women empowerment, giving proper training is the key problem area, said Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development at the 39th Skoch Summit here on Friday. 

Maintaining that jobs, health and education are the three main focus of her ministry, she said only a genuine private-public partnership can salvage the situation. She said even though her ministry has grappled women empowerment with scores of NGOs, many of them turned out to be fake. “So what kind of skilling you would expect if  you get the partnerships wrong? India’s experience thus far shows that giving relevant skilling to the people is the weak area. That’s why our government is emphasizing on verifiable outcomes on skills development. Verifiable outcomes are the primary issue; public money involved is just secondary,” she added.

"We had received over 3,000 requests for partnerships from them. But after examining their credentials, I myself found that more than three quarters of them are fake. Many either demand huge money, which is out of all proportion to the project cost, or are in the business of siphoning off money. This is frightening," she said, expressing the desire that in order to bring about better project management,, her ministry wants partnerships with genuine development organisations like the Skoch Group.

She said self-employment and entrepreneurship are the only way out to create jobs for women. Government jobs are so scarce in our country, and Rs 1 crore is the cost of generating one single employment even at the lower level. 

"So what's the way out? For empowerment, the time has come to think in terms of skills development. In the case of women, we face an additional problem faced by retention. Even if you skill women, there is no guarantee that they would continue to be in the profession for which they were skilled for long. There is huge societal problems women face in rural areas compared to urban areas," she added, explaining the reasons why one of her initiatives to skill a group of women from Philibit, her constituency, came to grief a couple of years ago due to women deserting her jobs no sooner than they were trained.

Ms Gandhi said she is a firm believer of agriculture. “Agriculture can still generate millions of jobs. But you have to be innovative and clever. I recently attended a workshop at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on agriculture innovation. I was simply amazed by the innovations that are on the drawing board. So, by becoming innovative and pooling their resources together, women can be active participants of our next green revolution. This is another way we should seriously ponder in terms of women empowerment and employment, especially at the rural India,” she added.

(Comments are welcome at info@skoch.in)

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