NABARD’s Arm NABFOUNDATION Undertakes ‘Project NEW’ in North East

Mumbai: NABFOUNDATION, the Section 8 not for profit arm of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (NABARD) has entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dalmia Bharat Foundation to develop a unique skill mapping programme for unemployed youths in all the North Eastern states of Assam, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. An MoU was signed between NABFOUNDATION and Dalmia Bharat Foundation (DBF) in Delhi recently to collaborate on the project. NABSAMRUDDHI and NABFINS, two other subsidiaries of NABARD, have also stepped forward to support this unique initiative.

The programme titled ‘Project NEW’ ((NER Entrepreneurs’ World) will work in two phases. In the first phase, an online portal along with a smart app will be set up to capture skill gaps and aspirations. This data will be collated into state/district/block level data sheets and will be the first step towards developing the first ever such database for the entire NER. This data will be shared with NGOs, NABARD, banks and policy framers in the bureaucracy. In the next phase a concerted effort will be made to develop tailor made skilling programmes based on the skill aspirations.

The 2011 Census data brought forth some disturbing truths relating to employment situation in the north east region. The data revealed a just about 4% growth in workers in a decade in Mizoram – the lowest among all NER states. Three states – Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim – were below the national average of 20% growth in workers from 2001 to 2011. Three states — Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh — witnessed a decline in the number total workers during the same period. The proportion of Unemployed (per 1000) for persons of age 15- 59 years in Nagaland was as high as 129, as against the all India average of 16.

The programme will specifically address unique challenges of the North East Region (NER) such as poor infrastructure, impossibility of large industry and difficult terrain and the resulting impact on the region’s youths and their progress.

Dalmia Bharat Foundation, NABFINS and NABSAMRUDDHI have stepped forward to provide their CSR support for this unique initiative which aims to capture data of atleast 1 lakh unemployed youths over a period of 12 months.

Stressing upon the unique proposition, Sanjeev Rohilla, CEO, NABFOUNDATION stated, “This project is an audacious attempt which leverages the power of technology to map the skill aspirations. Household based surveys are an impossibility in NER for want of both funds and time. The support of Dalmia Bharat Foundation, NABSAMRUDDHI and NABFINS is a proof of the power of organizations coming together to make a meaningful change in place which need this support most”. Added Mr Rohilla, “Almost every study has stressed upon the fact that the youth of NER alone hold the key to drive a meaningful change. But involving the youths in a sustained and meaningful manner has been a challenge within itself. Project NEW is a unique initiative which attempts to solve this very dilemma”.

Speaking on the occasion, Vishal Bhardwaj, CEO, Dalmia Bharat Foundation (DBF) said “DBF has had a special relationship with the entire North East for a long time. Our efforts have covered key sectors like ecology, women empowerment and skilling. Through this MoU we aim to work with NABFOUNDATION for the employment of youths across the North- Eastern Region by providing them sustainable livelihoods. DBF aims at promoting skilled occupation to the youth of the country. This joint programme will help in bridging the employability gap and creating a specialized, skilled workforce to build Atmanirbhar Bharat”

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