Giving a major push towards developing industry-ready professionals, the West Bengal Government on Tuesday launched Utkarsh Bangla, a unique short-term placement-based skill development programme which would see 3 lakh people being trained every year by the Paschim Banga Society for Skill Development (PBSSD), a registered society under the Technical Education and Training Department of the State. Another 3 lakh people would be trained by the Industrial Training Institutes, polytechnics, vocational schools and training centres.
“Utkarsh Bangla is Bengal’s Mission Excellence. It will provide direct linkage between the Employment Bank of the State Labour Department with the skill development initiatives of the State Technical Education and Training Department,” said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the launch of the initiative at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
In order to provide hassle-free training at the grassroots, the Chief Minister reiterated her commitment to set up Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in each of the 341 blocks of the State as well as a Polytechnic in every Sub division.
“Before 2011, there were only 80 ITIs in the State. My government has added 170 and many more are in the pipeline,” she added. “Polytechnic colleges too are increasing rapidly. We have gone from 65 polytechnics to 146 in these four years and have added more than 22,000 seats besides over 50,000 seats in the ITIs in this period,” she said, while urging young people to take advantage of the infrastructure which was now available across the State.
In order to encourage skill-development among youngsters, vocational education will also be imparted leading to over 42,000 students passing out at Higher Secondary level.
To further improve the quality of teaching, a further 289 schools are now teaching students in terms of National Skills Qualification Framework at over 14,000 per class, for students studying between Classes 9 to 12. Additionally, about 1,70,000 trainees from Classes VIII and above would be given vocational training.
The State Government also awarded certificates, trophies and cash awards to 533 winners of skill competitions at the national, state and district-levels.
While the 15 national winners received Rs 10,000 each, the state winners received Rs 7,500 each while the District-level winners got Rs 5,000 each.