NEW DELHI: Around 15,000 villages across the country have not yet established skill development centres under the Antyodaya Scheme, a report by the Rural Development Ministry revealed.
Of the total 6,49,481 villages of the country, 15,529 villages do not have a skill development centre (SDC). Uttar Pradesh leads the way among states with no skill development centres with as many as 3,474 villages in the state yet to get one. It is followed by Odisha and Bihar with 2,755 and 1,493 villages without SDCs.
The Mission Antyodaya of the ministry to converge government interventions with gram panchayats as the basic unit for planning by following a saturation approach by pooling resources — human and financial — to ensure sustainable livelihoods. It is a state-led initiative for rural transformation to make a real difference.
Among the best performing are Kerala and almost all states of the northeast. In total six states — Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura — have a skill development centre in each and every village. The only two northeastern states which have villages without SDCs are Arunachal Pradesh with 62 and Meghalaya with 41 such villages respectively.
According to ministry officials, one of the main reasons for villages not having SDCs is the lack of initiative by the states. “The scheme is a state-led one. It is the duty of the states to develop the SDCs in every village. From our side, we have provided all required assistance — financial and infrastructure — to them,” a ministry official said.
Another reason that ministry officials claim for the poor implementation of the scheme is the regular transfer of district and block-level officials. “We see that officials concerned with the block-level and district-level administrations are transferred very frequently. The new officers take a while to understand the happenings around them and hence we are seeing a delay in the implementation of the scheme in some villages. Also, if you see percentage-wise, only two per cent of the villages do not have SDCs,” the official added.
Experts, however, seem happy with the government’s progress of the scheme. HK Solanki of the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad feels that given the vast territory of the country, the scheme has progressed reasonably well. “It is important to take into account the vast territory of our country. It is a heartening sight that some of the most remote places like the northeast are successfully implementing the scheme,” he said.
“The result would be perfect if all the villages have skill development centres and no citizen of the country is left unskilled. However, it would be wrong to discount the progress of the scheme in the country. I hope the Centre and the states collectively work and ensure a 100 per cent result with regard to the implementation of the scheme,” Professor Ajit Kumar of the Xavier Institute of Social Sciences said.