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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government’s flagship skill development initiative ‘Skilled In Odisha' seems to have failed to ensure sustained employability of trained youths and eradicate unemployment from the State. The situation is evident from the statement of State Skill Development and Technical Education minister Premananda Nayak.

According to the minister’s speech in the State Assembly recently, the government has spent a whopping Rs 61.98 crore for training of 93,011 youths since the beginning of the skill development programme in 2011-12. However, only 21,681 trained youths have earned placements so far which is one fourth of the total number of youths enrolled.

The minister’s data has further revealed that Odisha tops the list of States in the country facing employment crisis. The minister made the statement in the Assembly citing the report of the union labour ministry.

According to the minister, unemployment rate is 7.1 in the State. While it is 8.3 in urban areas, it stands at 6.9 in rural areas. About 12,652 engineers and 887 doctors are awaiting employment after registering their names.

Earlier, the minister had said that there are 9, 21,448 unemployed in the State with Ganjam district, the home turf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, housing the highest number of 55,556 educated unemployed youths. However, unofficially the figure is believed to be quite high, claimed sources.

Meanwhile, after Governor Ganeshi Lal in his budget session address in the Assembly stated that 16 lakh people have been provided employment in the MSME sector of the State, the Opposition parties have expressed disbelief over the statement and targeted the State government over the data of the Governor and skill development minister.

“Be it providing employment or entrepreneurship development, the State government is completely indifferent towards it. It must give in written how many industries functioning in different districts are presently at profit making stage and how many people are engaged in them,” said BJP’s Prithviraj Harichandan.

“Whether the statement of the Governor is true or the replies of the minister. Unemployment and corruption are increasing in the State, but the government does not have willingness to address them and is rather engaged in vote politics,” alleged Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Refuting the allegations of the opposition, skill development minister Premananda Nayak said, “We have focused on short term course in the skill development training for those who became unemployed after matriculation and Plus II, because we think that it can generate maximum employment for them.”

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