Government has made further amendments in the Apprentice Act to make it more user friendly, particularly to the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). At a meeting called by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Secretary Rohit Nandan announced that Government has deleted all coercive measures like imprisonment etc., for non- compliance of the Apprenticeship Act. He also informed that MSMEs can now decide their own on job training curricula as per requirements.
Till now an enterprise had to follow the standardized curricula for specified trades and MSMEs often found them not providing the required skill and difficult to implement. Also, earlier, an Apprentice trained by an MSME was provided certificate through the training agency but now, the MSME itself can certify the practical training.
While on the one hand Government has made all trainees of the short term programmes under Prime Minister’s Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) eligible as Apprentice under the Act, on the other hand employers can develop their own curricula for the Apprentices. Now, youth undergoing short term training programme can get a certificate equivalent to ITI by undergoing practical training as an apprentice in any establishment – thus enhancing the pull factor for the programme. To enhance the push factor, Government will be incentivise training providers with monetary rewards, for placing trained youth as apprentice in establishments.
To remove the paper work required to be carried out by an employer for each Apprentice, Government has set up a portal www.apprenticeship.gov.in where all information could be uploaded online.
Representative of FISME informed the MSDE Secretary, that while MSMEs anyway take apprentices as per their requirement of skill workers, they try to avoid the Government scheme due to procedural wrangles and time consuming paper work. He suggested that the Government should engage third parties to identify trained youth as per the requirements of an MSME and carry out all paper work, while the MSME concentrate on providing the practical skill.
Nandan agreed to consider the proposal and even announce the third party as ‘employer’ under the Apprentice Act, to safeguard the MSME from any eventual legal hassle. Secretary MSDE also agreed that the present rate of stipend to be compulsorily paid under the Act, discourage MSMEs to engage more Apprentices and the stipend may be linked to the minimum wage of the state to make it widely acceptable.
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