India needs more ITIs than IITs: Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that India needs more Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) than Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) as skill development is the need of the hour to increase employment generation among the youth.

Addressing a national conference on skill development organised by the Gujarat Department of Labour and Employment, the main national Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections pointed out that there is a huge gap in demand and supply of labour in our country.

‘There are a large number of unemployed people in the country and simultaneously there is a huge demand for skilled labourers. It is unfortunate that no one seems concerned to bridge this gap,' he said.

Modi observed that technology has revolutionised the global economy and, hence, the time has now come for India to see its development programme with an international perspective.The Gujarat Chief Minister further pointed out that only a certain section of people in India get higher education and a large number of students drop out of college.

Expressing concern for the high rate of drop-outs, he stressed that there is a need to focus on these young people who can contribute in shaping the future of the nation.The Gujarat government has taken the initiative to declare diplomas after class VIII  and two-year ITI pass-outs equivalent to classes X and XII to paving the way for interested students to pursue higher studies.

Modi also expressed concern at the condition of people involved in skilled and semi-skilled jobs. 'It is strange that the worth of a skilled labourer is not valued. But it is the common man, the skilled labourer who runs the country and not the Babus and netas,’ he noted.

Speaking on the occasion, World Bank Economist (South Asia Region) John Blomquist said that India has great opportunities and potential in the field of skills development. 'The focus should be on nutrition, education and cognitive development of children so that their skills are utilised in a good way,' he said.

Around 5,000 people, including academicians, businessmen and students, joined the programme.Rajiv Kumar, a student pursuing an ITI course
at Chittorgarh, narrated how he could not continue his higher education due to financial constraints and enrolled in the
technical course.

'I joined the ITI programme for an AC mechanic's course because of financial constraints. Another reason was because my father has an AC
shop which paves way for me for smooth employment,' he explained.

Such technical institutes are benefiting hundreds of students in search of employment, added Kumar.

At present, there are 263 government ITIs and some self-financed technical institutes in Gujarat, which cater to 7,86,794 students.
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