Give tax holidays to private ITCs: FICCI

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New Delhi, Aug 17: To meet the huge gap in skills which would put fetters in the way of a fast growing economy, a FICCI study today called for a multi-pronged approach to the problem, including fiscal sops for privately managed Industrial Training Centres (ITC), restructuring of employment exchanges, improving the job prospects and upward mobility of ITI pass-outs.

''Private sector-run ITCs can prove to be a strong catalyst for skill formation and an important conduit to attain the national goal of developing an adequately skilled manpower,'' the Chamber said. It suggested that the government should offer fiscal support such as a ten-year tax holiday, excise waiver for purchase of training equipment and machinery, funding for training the trainers for these institutions in order to give a boost to the capacity of the private sector for scaling up and modernising ITCs.

FICCI is of the view that government should also address the critical issue of lack of opportunities for upward mobility in the education ladder for ITI pass-outs.

Under the present scheme of things, ITI pass-outs find it difficult to upgrade their qualification to diploma and degree level.

''The government should address this issue, as this would go a long way in enabling ITI pass-outs to improve their career prospects,'' the chamber said.

Another issue, which FICCI feels is important for the government to address in this context, is the restructuring of the employment exchanges.

The employment exchanges in different parts of the country currently function as a mere referral centre which need to undergo a complete makeover, it said.

FICCI suggested that employment exchanges in the country be remodelled on the pattern of Taiwanese employment exchanges, which effectively under one roof offer training services, counselling services, employment testing services and employee referral services.

The proposed National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) should also actively take up the cause of private sector-managed ITCs and draw up a plan to strengthen this important segment of skill building in the country.

FICCI wants private ITCs to be empowered through the proposed NSDC.

The chamber strongly believes that to give an impetus to the skill-training programme in the country, the government should take measures to also empower the private sector-managed ITCs.

These training institutions, which number over 3,200, have been set up and are completely managed by the private sector.

FICCI feels that private sector run ITCs can prove to be a strong catalyst for skill formation and an important conduit to attain the national goal of developing an adequately skilled manpower.

With committment of developing 10 more such vocations and trades, the members of the chamber -- Apollo, Fortis, Max, Dharamshila Hospital -- would offer 14-week practical training to students who take up this vocational programme at the school level.

FICCI has called for fresh thinking on improving the quality and capacity of vocational education and training. It has recommended the following: -- Strengthen private sector participation in management of institutions and in course design.

-- Strengthen the general education part of the training programmes.

-- The testing and certification norms should be strengthened and brought in line with the global standards so that students passing out of Indian vocational education institutions are eligible to gain employment even overseas.

-- Financial incentives to management could be used as a tool to bring about improvement in the working of vocational training institutions.

-- The vocational education stream should be promoted as an important channel for shaping one's career by the government.

A nationwide programme describing the availability and usefulness of these programmes must be launched.

-- Proper coordination between different agencies and departments of the government responsible for managing and administering vocational educational programmes should be ensured. This would avoid duplication in efforts as well as bring in transparency in the system.

UNI

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