Nai Manzil Scheme – An initiative to Strengthen Minority Communities by Providing Skill-Based Training
In August 2015, central government launched “The Pradhan Mantri Nai Manzil Scheme”. It is a skill development programme which benefits girls from minority group. Government identified seven sectors for which assistance will be provided. Based on the recommendations of Sachar Committee to improve the social welfare and educational programmes of India, Government has kicked off the programme. The first institutions to be benefited by the programme were Madarsa Imam Sadique in Shadipur, Skill Development Centre at the University of Kashmir and Madarsa Shahi-i-Hamdan in Pampore. The seven sectors where training will be provided may be enumerated as below:
- Saffron processing
- Food processing
- Tourism and hospitality
- Computers and IT (both software and hardware)
Nature of training
Training programme has been designed considering the skills which will be relevant to a particular state. This means that beneficiaries will acquire skills which can be put to use where they are residing. This further implies that programme intends to meet the requirements of local industries for skilled labour. Besides training, beneficiaries will also receive INR 4500 per head.
In several other locations such as Motihari and Patna in Bihar and Bhandup in Mumbai, the programme has been launched. In a gradual manner, the programmes will be introduced in other madrasas as well. The Indian Government has described the programme as “ an integrated Education and Livelihood Initiative”. In addition to girls and women, the programme also aims at empowering minority youth who have received their education in madrasas or other alike community educational institutions. Those who have been dropped out of their schools will also be immensely benefited by the programme. It is believed that the training provided in this programme – along with the money- will greatly assist the attendees, especially one who come from economically-backward families and communities. The age limit for people is 17-35 years.
After finishing the training, the attendees will have formal education that is equivalent to either Class 8 or 10. The programme aims to impart skills training and certification to prove their authenticity. It is believed that the scheme will help attendees get job in the organized sector and do away with qualification-related inferiority among them. The programme will be applicable to whole of India.
Financial assistance from World Bank
An agreement between union government and world bank in which global financial body will provide credit worth $50 million to carry out the programme has provided much-needed financial boost to the programme. Experts believe that this agreement will certainly improve India’s status in international circles and when there is a need for skilled workers in domains mentioned above arise, India will be considered as a viable alternative.
Importance of Sachar Committee
The Sanchar Committee has played a crucial role in conceptualization of the programme. High-level committee had scoped ways to elevate socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in India and submitted its report to Manmohan Singh, who was the-then Prime Minister. Report revealed that Muslim kids in the age group of 6-14 were either school dropouts or had never gone to a school in the first place. Only 3% children in these families went to madrasas and received some primary education.
According to the report, ever since the 1970s, the gap in rates of general attainment in higher education has been widening between Muslims and other religious communities in India. The percentage of graduates and post-graduates in the top colleges were 4% and 2% respectively. The committee recommended the institution of an equal opportunity body so that Muslims could be brought at par with other communities.
Government view of the programme
This programme is an endeavor to achieve the objective of development for all. Ansari said that the recommendations are worthy of implementation but the programme is more influenced by the ideals of Modi and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, who trusted in the principle of elevating even the last person in the queue.
Rounding up – importance of the programme
Scholars like Mirza Asmer Beg, a professor of political science at the Aligarh Muslim University, are of the opinion that the high-level report has revealed that Muslims are not doing well but if given the opportunity and right direction, they can excel. Analysts describe the programme as a good initiative by the government, but at the same time they showed concerns about its possible results.