A panel discussion was hosted by The Consulate General of India, Chicago in partnership with the US India Chamber of Commerce – Midwest, Chicago, on “Skill Development Program in India: Opportunities for American Organizations” on Monday at Naperville, Illinois. The event was attended by nearly fifty leading business persons and entrepreneurs working in different sectors of economy in the US-Midwest, besides officials of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and members of the Chamber.
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India delivered a keynote address on Prime Minister’s Skill Development Mission, while presentations were made by Mr. Frank Avila, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), Mr. Shyam Pappu, Engineer (MWRD) and Dr. Shekhar Mishra, Deputy Project Manager and International Collaboration Coordinator, Fermilab, Chicago. Mr. Krishna Reddy, Managing Director and Mr. K. Naga Prasad, CEO of iDiya Labs, a software company based in Hyderabad, Telangana participated in the panel discussion through webinar. Mr Ajit Pant, President of the US India Chamber of Commerce – Midwest, while addressing the gathering, gave an overview of the Chamber and its activities.
In the discussion, Consul General Dr. Sayeed stressed on the importance of skills. He said that skills and knowledge are the two driving forces for sustainable economic growth and social development for any country. He mentioned that by 2020 India would be the youngest nation in the world in terms of the average age of the population. He said currently India has 650 million youth who are below 25 years of age and this is India’s untapped potential and a ‘demographic dividend’, which could add a significant 2% growth to India’s GDP if the youth are given formal training in skills to make them job ready and become a key driving force of economic growth. He also highlighted the key features of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and said that it is a flagship programme aimed at increasing the annual skilling capacity from the current level 2 of around 7 million to 500 million by 2022.
The Government of India (GOI) is determined to establish at least one skill development centre in each of the 688 districts of India. The target for skill training would be aligned to the demand generated from other GOI flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Digital India and others. Referring to the possibility of setting up of co-branded ‘Corporate Skill Excellence Centres’ using the public-private partnership mode, the Consul General invited the entrepreneurs, corporates, chambers of commerce and vocational and academic institutions in the US Midwest to whole heartedly participate in the Skill India Development Mission.
Contributing to the discussion, Commissioner Frank Avila emphasized on the need for spreading awareness in India about the proper waste management techniques. He said that waste water can serve as the “next oil” as it has water, energy and fertilizer and can be put to optimum use. He shared details of his visit to India last month as head of MWRD delegation during which he conducted two workshops on “Innovative and Sustainable Operation and Maintenance of Wastewater Treatment Plants” at Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, which were very successful. He offered to conclude MoUs between the Metropolitan Water Reclamation Department of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and counterpart Indian institutions for transferring knowledge, skill development and capacity building in the field of waste water management.
On the other hand, Dr. Shekhar Mishra made a presentation on “Make in India, with High Technology Skill developed in India” wherein he shared details about the ongoing collaboration between the Fermilab and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which is focused on developing technologies and infrastructure in India that would enable utilization of alternative fuels for energy, besides having applications for water purification, Medical imaging and cancer therapy.
The healthy startup environment in India was also the part of the discussions held in the panel and was mentioned by Mr. Krishna Reddy, MD and Mr. K. Naga and discussed that the recent initiatives taken by GOI have generated considerable excitement among the Indian entrepreneurs.
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