Guwahati: The government’s initiative for driving skill training to empower and provide employment to Assam’s youth between 18-35 years of age, who belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and have passed Class VIII, has seen noticeable response from the women folk.

An initiative of the Assam Skill Development Mission (ASDM), which aims to train at least 50 youths from each Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC) of Assam free of cost, will engage services of certified driving schools and trainers over a 45-day programme.

The programme, which will train about 6,300 candidates from across Assam, aims at overall grooming of the drivers and will train the participants in important soft skills and first-aid response in case of road emergencies.

“The youth will be provided skilled driving training, which will also include other important soft skills and first-aid response to accident victims and how to handle cases on the road in case of emergencies,” Nasim Javed, Road Safety Officer (Technical), District Road Safety Committee (DRSC) of Kamrup Metro, told EastMojo.

The trainees under this scheme will be registered under the Assam Skill Development Mission, the organization engaged with skilling activities.

“We have merely facilitated the implementation of this project as we are more adept to these kind of activities. This is not the forte of district transport offices, which are more into enforcement,” ASDM’s Assistant Mission Director, Hanif Nooraani, told EastMojo.

Need for Skilled Drivers in Assam

The focus of the programme will be on self-employment, Javed said, to bridge the huge gap of skilled drivers in Assam, who can cater to tourists.

Catering to the youth from BPL families, the officials said the understanding of the two-way process was to bridge the gap and need for drivers in the ever expanding transport industry.

“These participants cannot otherwise afford a vehicle or expensive lessons at driving schools without owning a vehicle. At the same time, the poor road accident scenario in the state may also be linked to the quality of drivers. Having properly trained drivers will not only help reduce accidents, but also give the transportation industry good drivers with soft skills on how to communicate with tourists and others,” Nooraani said.

In Kamrup Metropolitan district alone, 275 candidates have applied so far. A list of only 200 candidates will be prepared from the four LACs after due scrutiny.

The DRSC will meet on Wednesday, December 8, to work out the final modalities, and if all goes to plan, the programme will begin from December 15, Rahul Thakuria, ASDM’s District Programme Manager, Kamrup Metro told EastMojo.

Women take the wheel

In the Kamrup Metro district, the first batch of trainees will be an all-female group as a substantial number of women have come forward to take part in the initiative that will help them earn their own livelihoods.

“We have received an overwhelming response from female candidates, and the first batch of training in Kamrup Metro will be an all-women’s group. So the inaugural batch will have all-female trainees while the later batches will have mixed trainees,” said the District Road Safety Committee member.

Industrial Training Institute for Women

The first batch of women trainees will be provided training at the ITI for Women in Guwahati’s Rehabari area. The institute has infrastructure like functional classrooms to impart theory lessons, a simulator, vehicles and a driving field to practice driving skills.

“Ours is the training part here. At our institute, we basically provide different kinds of skill training courses to women, right from beautician to data entry operator, electronic mechanic and others,” Krishna Bania, Principal of Industrial Training Institute for Women, told EastMojo. 

According to Bania, the programme’s participants will benefit from the several upcoming employment opportunities for women in the transport sector, especially in the era of growing cab services and a range of options to pick from, like Ola and Uber that have now become the transport lifeline in major metro cities.

Women can get a loan, purchase vehicles and start their own business, said Bania. Many women in Guwahati are now gradually venturing into taking up career paths and becoming entrepreneurs in the Transport industry.

“It is very important that women learn driving in today’s day and age, whether they own a vehicle or not. Driving is essential for women’s independence. A few of our trainees from the early batches run their own cab services in Guwahati now and one of our students has even started her own driving school,” Bania told EastMojo.

Mukhyamantrir Gramya Paribahan Achoni

“The Mission also plans to give people incentives to buy vehicles to earn a livelihood under the Mukhyamantrir Gramya Paribahan Achoni,” said Nooraani.

The scheme aims to generate direct employment opportunities in the capacity of drivers, conductors and mechanics to more than 3,332 youths of Assam at the rate of 1.5 drivers, 1.5 conductors and 1 mechanic respectively against each bus. Besides, there will be indirect employment opportunities to many more and thereby it will contribute towards solution of the vexed unemployment problem in the state.

The Assam Cabinet on August 11 had decided to train some 6,600 youth and give them a subsidy of Rs lakh each to buy commercial vehicles and ply them in a bid to create a cadre of self-employed youths.

Also read: Assam to train and grant subsidy to selected youth to run commercial vehicles

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