NewZNew (Chandigarh) : “The new set of guidelines and amendments in the Apprentices Act, 1961 framed recently has the potential to revolutionise skill development in the country, especially in Chandigarh and Punjab region, considering the large number of MSMEs present here”, remarked Ms Sandhya Salwan, Director, Directorate General of Training, Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship while addressing hundreds of HR Professionals, MSME entrepreneurs and senior Government officials from the Punjab Government and UT Chandigarh at a Workshop for Amended Apprenticeship Guidelines for Industry, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the CII Northern Region (NR) Headquarters in sector 31 A, here today.
“The Apprentices Act, 1961 has been amended very recently after numerous consultations with CII to make it more responsive and simpler for both the industry and the youth. Some of its key landmark amendments include – Prescription of number of apprentices to be engaged at establishment level instead of trade-wise, permission to the establishment to also engage apprentices in optional trades which are not designated, with the discretion of entry level qualification and syllabus, scope being extended also to non-engineering occupations, authorisation to organisations to outsource basic training in an institute of their choice, online submission of returns, apprenticeship contracts and other forms accepted now along with provision of their time bound approvals, consent to establishments operating in four or more states to be allowed an interface with central authorities”, added Ms Salwan.
“Under a new Scheme ‘Apprentice Protsahan Yojana’, to support the MSMEs, the government would share 50% of the prescribed stipend paid to apprentices during their first two years of apprenticeship training. The Scheme has given highest priority to MSMEs in manufacturing sector”, she further informed.
“I strongly feel that these momentous amendments for which the industry had long been requesting, would transform and speed up the skill development in the region”, she emphasised.
Mr Jayant Krishna, Co-Chairman CII NR Special Task Force on Skills, Education and Entrepreneurship Development shared that “Apprenticeship can play a crucial role in the task of up-skilling India’s workforce and increasing employability. Although India’s higher education system contributes about 3.5 lakh engineers and 2.5 million university graduates annually to the workforce, an estimated five million graduates remain unemployed at any given time. India has set a target of skilling 500 million people with employable skills by 2022. This is possible if and only if we have a sound apprenticeship programme and an enabling policy structure in place. Apprenticeships programmes are prevalent in countries with developed industry such as the US and UK. It is the need of the hour in India too but the Act made it tough for industry. Now these amendments would certainly motivate more and more employers and industry to join the apprenticeship training scheme. CII has played a critical role over the last three years in making these amendments possible in the act.