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Special Content

Volume-46, 10-16 February, 2018


Project Yuva : A New Beginning for Vulnerable Youth

Manish Kumar

“Everything's borne out of human experience, of course - rejection, humiliation, poverty, whatever. People aren't born bad, no matter how harsh the circumstances, there is a person in there, and that person is not made office.”

This has been experienced, many a times and how deep an impact the circumstances have on self, but there is always scope for mending ways. The extensive experience of Delhi Police enfolds the same belief proclaiming that everyone has the potential to rise from the ashes of a broken life. And so,we have taken upon ourselves to detach the youth from the circumstances of their vulnerable backgrounds and help them become self-sustainable and consecutively, the bread-earners of the family. With the help of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Delhi Police is positively re-shaping the lives of thousands of youngsters across the capital and there by, reducing the recidivism and crime rate.

Shehan is one such example of positive change. A habitual pickpocketer, Shehan spent a considerable time of his youth in a consistent tug of war with the Delhi police. After getting caught in yet another robbery, Delhi Police suggested that he should get himself enrolled in the skill training program. He is now learning computer hardware networking and in his batch of 150, there are about 10 more individuals like him that have past criminal record, but are looking forward to an enriching future.

Project YUVA, a New Chance

The National Skill Development Corporation in collaboration with Delhi Police, is undertaking project YUVA, under the Special Project component of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).  NSDC, through its training partners, is operating skill development training centres in eight police stations across the capital with the aim to train 3,000 youngsters between the age group of 16 to 25 years. We focus on candidates living in JJ clusters, including those who are school dropouts or are addicted to drugs or engage into unethical means, to undertake one of many job oriented short-term courses. The Delhi Police provides the infrastructure and also, helps in the enrolment of candidates. Post the training, the trainees are provided placement assistance via Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) industry connect.

For us, the candidates are not limited to youngsters who have indulged in petty crimes but also youth belonging to vulnerable families - either from economically weak backgrounds or from families whose members have been jailed or are victims of crimes.

I would like to cite an example of Khushboo Kumari, a 19-year-old graduate of Kalindi College, Delhi who wanted to pursue a course of front desk job in the hospitality sector. However, she could not afford to enroll herself in any of  the institutions. In a family of six, with her father being a truck driver by profession could not really afford to pay for her education. She enrolled herself for the front desk assistant course at the Kirti Nagar police station. As her communication skills enhanced, she got selected by Fortis Escort Hospital, Okhla at a starting salary of Rs 16,000 per month.

We have the privilege of touching the lives of so many who fall victim to the circumstances of decisions that involved absolutely no say of theirs. Suman, a 21-year-old single mother of two girls, had troubles all through her life. She was married young at the age of 15, and her husband is now serving time in prison on charges of murder. Financial problems and lack of support from parents forced her to take up odd jobs and become a domestic help. While struggling to provide for her children with her meagre earnings, she enrolled herself in the YUVA skill development initiative. She is now employed with Star Imagine and Pathlabas a Patient Care Attendant and is raising the two children on her own.

The skill development program was inaugurated on August 29th, 2017 by Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh with an aim to connect the youth by upgrading their skill as per their respective competencies. The training provides a chance for development of soft skills, vocational skills, basic computer knowledge, spoken English among other beneficial provisions. The holistic structure of training aims at upliftment of youngsters to form a better and more skilled society.

The training undertaken in sectors like automotive, electronics and hardware, retail, tourism and hospitality, healthcare, beauty and wellness, IT & ITES among others, has seen a total of 1,600 candidate enrollment since its inception in August. The initiative hopes to provide 70-80 percent of the youth under this project with livelihood opportunities. Till date, 520 candidates have been placed in corporates like Hero Moto Corp, Vodafone, Café Coffee day, Fortis Hospital, Burger King.

Agents of Change

For the uneducated youth that is resorting to drugs, petty crimes, wrong means to get through the day, this initiative is restoring their hope and belief in a better, brighter tomorrow. It is empowering and mobilizing the weaker sections of the society, the offenders with past criminal records and aligning them to main stream.

Supported by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Project YUVA aims to keep the youth away from crime and provide them with relevant skills training across various job roles that will not only help the society in moving a step closer to becoming a 'skilled nation' but will also help witness a decrease in crime as these young adults enter into wrong practices due to lack of livelihood opportunities for them.

The training not only ushers gainful employment but also plays an important role in building up confidence and faith of youth in police organizations. Sanjay Beniwal, Special Commissioner               of Police (Airport, Modernisation, and Women Safety) shared  that for many youngsters the police station was a place where people came only when they were in distress and this is what needs to be changed. This initiative is a step towards this direction.

For Himanshu, a youngster who is a part of the program says it's a blessing. He shared thathe doesn't come from a background that can provide him with the means to get higher education, but this program is giving training to him and others like him for which any other place would have charged lakhs of rupees. He aspires to put in his best and make the most of the opportunity.

There is no shortcut to success, every individual needs to work diligently to earn his livelihood. Youngsters need to be motivated to think about their future. The pre-existing interests and abilities of the youth needs to be re-kindled and guided towards the right path. It is our responsibility to ensure that the youth doesn't indulge in unethical means, petty crimes and hurt the community in any way. Alternative means of living need to be provided so that no individual is tempted to re-enter the world of crime. Consequently, there is a decrease in the recidivism rate (the tendency of falling back into criminal activity).

A juvenile offender shared that he always wanted to do something in life but due to financial constraints and lack of resources, he never got an opportunity. Now, with YUVA, he will learn as much as he can and start a new life.

Under Phase-I of the project, eight police stations namely Shahadra, Rohini, Kirti Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Anand Parbat, Jama Masjid and Ushmanpur have been identified to train the youth. In the next phase of the project, 12 more police station premises have  been identified to be utilized for the skill training of the youth. The dropout rate has been zero percent till now. With the collaborated efforts of NSDC and Delhi Police, people with obscure, uncertain future now have a chance to become positive contributors and living testimonies of change, of impact. There is a re-start button programmed in their life and once chanced upon would open a world full of opportunities.

(The author is MD & CEO National Skill Development Corporation)