The Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has tied up with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to impart vocational training for the children of its 3 lakh employees who work as trackmen and gangmen. This skill development initiative has been approved by the Prime Minister’s office, following a presentation made by senior railway officials.
In order to facilitate the setting up of these NSDC centres, Indian Railways will allot plots on its land along railways stations. These centres would be located near Railway colonies so as to make it easier for the children to attend classes.
As per a railways official, they weren’t just looking at land and were even hunting for spare rooms which could be used by NSDC to run its centres. Railways have till now shortlisted 100 suitable locations for the skill development centres.
The main aim of the scheme is to impart skills to the children so that can build a career out of them. The final aim is to try and place the children in various companies with the help of this course.
In total, Indian Railways has about 47,300 hectares of unused land, though 90% of it runs parallel to its railway tracks. This renders a considerable amount of the unused land, incompatible for commercial purposes. A part of this unused land as per officials could be used for setting up the NSDC centres.
This proposal to impart skill development program using railways infrastructure had also been discussed in 2015. As per a “PIB” press release, the railways was to make its sparse infrastructure available for Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). MSDE, in turn, would the use it to impart skill development programs for the unemployed youth, mainly in rural and remote areas.
It remains to be seen if the latest initiative of the Indian Railways is also extended to students beyond those whose parents are employed by it.