India is a vast country with a population of approximately 115 crore. 75% of India’s population lives in about six lac villages. There is a visible difference in rural and urban, rich and poor, highly educated and lesser educated, forward and backward areas. While resourceful people, particularly those living in urban areas, have had access to better education and professional training, but vast majority of those who live in rural areas and slums are lesser educated and hardly undergo any technical, professional and vocational training. In fact, for most of such people, quality education and higher technical and professional education is unaffordable. In terms of career options, such lesser educated and not so fortunate people tend to work in low paid unorganized sector. Per person productivity of such persons works out to be a small fraction of productivity of those who work in organized sector of Indian economy. In an increasingly competitive economic environment of our country, the unorganized sector, which is so important for the country, needs to increase the productivity of its manpower for its survival and growth. Yet another paradox before the Indian informal sector is that it can not afford employing highly educated and professionally trained manpower which usually aspires for highly challenging, rewarding and satisfying career. The only option available before the Indian informal sector is to depend upon relatively low paid manpower trained through non-formal system of skill development. There is, therefore, an urgent need to train millions of persons every year through a countrywide network of non-formal skill development. Such non-formal skill training should attract beneficiaries from all cross-sections of Indian society with special emphasis on SCs/STs, OBCs, women, school dropouts, minorities, physically disabled, economically weaker sections of the society and other under-privileged persons.
Technology divide is clearly visible in Indian urban and rural society. Vast majority of Indian urban population and small fraction of those who live in rural areas and slums enjoy the benefits of modern technologies. Vast majority of rural people and those living in slums require assistance in adopting appropriate technology for benefitting from investment in science and technology and enhancing their productivity and standard of living. There is, therefore, an immediate need to evolve a vast network which can help in adoption of appropriate technologies among the rural people and slum dwellers. Sustainable use of technology by such people would involve technology demonstration, repair and maintenance services, counselling and consultancy services and free service camps from time to time.
There are more than 1419 polytechnics and equivalent technical institutions which exhibit potential to provide skill training to millions of youth through their own facilities and by establishing extension centres in collaboration with ITIs, KVKs, Vocational Institutes and NGOs. These polytechnics can also render useful services in adoption of appropriate technologies and providing technical and support services to rural people and slum dwellers.
AICTE approved polytechnics are considered to be a viable vehicle for providing the intended services as mentioned above.
The rationale for choosing AICTE approved Polytechnics for the implementation of Scheme of Community Development through Polytechnics is based on the fact that AICTE approved Polytechnics are equipped with the following type of resources:
- Polytechnics are equipped with physical facilities in the form of buildings, lecture halls, laboratories, workshops, hostels etc. which could be used as Knowledge and Skill Centres for rural community and slums dwellers.Polytechnics have qualified and trained faculty who can scientifically formulate, implement and monitor community oriented programs and projects especially where the activity of adoption of appropriate technology is involved.
- Polytechnics have technicians and craftsmen whose services can be utilized to some extent for imparting skill training and adoption of appropriate technologies.
- Students of Polytechnics could be of tremendous help in making meaningful contribution to community and rural development.
- Polytechnics can, therefore, render vital assistance in the community development work. This, they can do partly by utilizing their own resources and partly by mobilizing the resources available at the higher technological institutions. The involvement of Polytechnics in implementing the Scheme of Community Development through Polytechnics is need of the hour.
Objectives of the Scheme
The main objectives of the scheme are:
- To carry out Need Assessment Surveys to assess the technology and training needs.
- To impart Skill Development Training to the intended target groups.
- To disseminate Appropriate Technologies for productivity enhancement.
- To provide Technical and Support Services to rural masses and slums dwellers.
- To create Awareness among the target groups about technological advancement and contemporary issues of importance.