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Entrepreneurship prospects for rural youth in the Northeast

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By Sujit K Dutta

The below 20 years population of the world is about 40% and since 85% of it live in developing countries, most are vulnerable to abject poverty. The ILO estimates that around 74 million youth are unemployed throughout the globe (excluding approximately 310 million underemployed populations). About 59 million teegers are engaged in hazardous jobs.

The unemployment scerio in rural areas of North East India is better than urban areas except Tripura where over a period of four years both rural and urban unemployment has increased by many folds. In states like Mizoram, Manipur, galand and Sikkim urban employment has been on a decreasing trend. Hence, the unemployed youth scerio needs urgent attention, it being quite grave.

Several technical and magement institutions including institutions of higher learning have emerged in these States in the last decade offering courses like degree/diploma in engineering, ITI/Vocatiol courses, M-Tech, MBA, etc. Many trained professiols have come out to fulfill the need of the industry, R&D institutions and other sectors of economy. It necessitates establishing appropriate links among those institutions and the industry. Simultaneously, young technocrats have also started ventures becoming more as ‘job generators’ than ‘job seekers’. This entails systematic interventions to facilitate the development and growth of new ventures by technologies. In this context, popular mechanisms all over the world are Science Park, Technology Parks, Technology Business Incubators, Techno Polis, school of Small Business Development, Innovation Centres, etc.

Vocatiolisation of Technical Education to accommodate more youth as entrepreneurs:

The education policy of 1986 emphasized the need for vocatiolisation of technical education at various levels. It demands a proper mechanism in such institutions to focus on entrepreneurship and self-employment in addition to the present mandate of churning out trained manpower. Most of the vocatiol institutions are equipped with adequate infrastructure to promote entrepreneurship through separately created cells. What is required is to fill the gaps through trained faculty and focused programmes to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit amongst the students. The academic institutions, with some modulation and change in focus, would then churn techno entrepreneurs on a continuous basis by accelerating a process for holistic growth. Academic institutions must assume this role and blend their technical inputs with entrepreneurial and magerial skills in their academic curriculum to train students for entrepreneurial challenges.

If India were to assume leadership in industrial production of even a few items of sophisticated ture in this century, it would require a considerable cross section of society to choose entrepreneurship as careers which would eble them to influence decisions with regard to products and processes of their ventures. Thus, they would participate directly in the economic development of the country. Some means of vocatiolisation of technical education are:

· Virtual schools for students to study business activities in their own field as interactive online studies;

· Participating in projects that develop local curricula for promoting entrepreneurship and business activities;

· A new multi-faceted programme providing entrepreneurial skills for Entrepreneurship and Business Entrepreneurs.

· Developing students’ on the job learning periods to promote entrepreneurship and business activities;

· Use of the support programme for on-job-learning from the perspective of entrepreneurship;

· Student counseling for promoting entrepreneurship and business activities;

· Developing business incubators for upper secondary level, also in co-operation with polytechnics;

· Supporting the extension of the ‘practice enterprise’ learning method to cover all fields;

· Supporting development of young enterprise activities to meet the needs of different levels of education;

· Creating opportunities for differently able people to take on the job learning sessions and for establishing social enterprises;

· Churning future needs in entrepreneurship and business activities and developing education and training as required for these in co-operation with the tiol Education and Training Committee for the Entrepreneurship Sector;

· Enhancing competencies of teaching staff through continuous training and periods spent at work in their vocatiol field;

· Maintaining up-to-date entrepreneurship websites and encouraging users to take part in the activities;

· Documenting processes in support of the above-mentioned points by participating in development and dissemiting best practice;

Opportunities for Educated Unemployed Youth in Northeast:

Globalization and subsequent liberalization of the Indian economy has opened the doors to many foreign companies to enter into the Indian market posing serious threat to the domestic companies. Although many of the domestic companies were closed down consequently, yet it has created another opportunity for the small and micro enterprises to emerge as ancillary units to the larger industries. The new entrepreneurs can grab the advantage of those opportunities. Besides the surfacing of new entrepreneurial activities, traditiol entrepreneurial activities are still predomint. Government effort is noticeable through many self employment generating schemes and by activating promotiol agencies to support those. The technical institutions have introduced entrepreneurship development in the course curriculum for orienting students to take up different self-employment activities. These young students with technology /MBA background need motivation to start small manufacturing and servicing units depending upon their orientation on respective branches of training.

The labour markets have revealed tremendous opportunity in SSI sectors. The growing population and rapid urbanization has an increasing demand for house building construction materials. Anticipating the tremendous market, students belonging to welder and electrician trade can start small fabrication units. Enormous avenues can be foreseen in the electrical and electronic services sectors having realized the increased consumption of those. Avenues are open for repairing and servicing facilities for agro-implements and equipments particularly in rural and semi-urban areas as agriculture is the primary occupation in this region.


Starting up a trading activity or retail shop or any activity in the service sector is not as difficult as a new manufacturing unit. Such activities enrich one with risk-taking capacity. Entrepreneurs can start small adventures initially with an eye for achieving big in future. The opportunities for entrepreneurial activities have been increasing tremendously. The vocatiolly trained youth must proactively identify the type of activities for entrepreneurial career. The first step is a dream and a plan for starting an enterprise. Participation in entrepreneurship development programmes organized by different agencies is mandatory for enhancing capacity and knowledge on entrepreneurship. The country needs more and more entrepreneurs for social and economic development at this moment.

(The writer is a Consultant:Trg. & Placement, NIT-Aruchal Pradesh & Rtd Associate Prof. NIRD, NERC, Guwahati.)

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