Uttarakhand’s Jan Shikshan Sansthan helps people attain financial freedom
By NITIN JUGRAN BAHUGUNA
Jaya Bhakuni enjoyed stitching from an early age and vowed to establish her own garment store when she grew up. But marriage and motherhood kept her so busy that she gave up on her childhood dream.
"Maine sapno me bhi nahi socha kii mai apni dukan khol pavugi kyunki mere pass na toh paisa thay, naaki koi na jaankaari” (I didn’t even dream that I could open my own shop. I had neither the proper training nor the funds to open my own store), Jaya who hails from Mandalsera village near Bageshwar town in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand confesses ruefully.
Jaya – did her SSC from the Government Inter College and got married in her teens. Her husband divorced her after 2 years of marriage. She has raised her son single-handedly. What is more, she even managed to do her MA in Sanskrit.
One day, she heard of a training programme being offered to women and youth in the district in various different activities to enable them to start their own income –generating ventures. “I enrolled in the four-month training programme in tailoring in 2015 after which I started taking orders for stitching salwaar kameez and plazzos at home itself,” says 36-year-old Jaya.
"Do saal pehle, maine dhai lakh ka bank loan liya aur apni dukan kholi. (About two years ago, I took a bank loan of Rs two and a half Lakh and launched my own Ladies’ garment store here,” she states with satisfaction.
Unemployed youth, including school drop-outs, and women in the hill areas of the state are now fulfilling their dreams of leading enriched and productive lives with economic reassurance with the introduction of a comprehensive skill development entrepreneurship programme ranging from growing medicinal plants and mushrooms to tailoring, handicrafts, textiles, electrical technician and Information Technology.
The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) for Skill Development functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, is currently working in eight of the 13 districts of Uttarakhand. "We started our training programmes in
Bageshwar district in 2005 and till date have imparted training in various disciplines to 25,076 youth and women," states Dr Jitendra Tiwari, Director, JSS, Bageshwar.
"While majority of our students are now enjoying economic success in home-based endeavours, at least 35 per cent of our total students are in the mainstream labour force."
With assistance from JSS, Jaya procured her loan at seven per cent interest. “I have already repaid about Rs one Lakh in monthly instalments of Rs 5,500," she says. The monthly rent for her store is Rs 6,000 but even after this and the bank repayment, she comes home with a hefty profit. "Apart from selling ready- made ladies' garments, I also take orders for clothes for women, children and men. My daily earnings range from between Rs 4,000-5,000."
The programme has helped re-build the lives of women such as Neema Bisht, 47, of Bilauna village, situated about four km away from Bageshwar. Neema faced a lot of hardship in her young days. Hailing from a middleclass family, Neema’s father retired from the Indian Army due to mental distress.
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The eldest of three children, she got married in 2006 and a year later gave birth to a girl. Tragically, in the same year her husband died due to some illness and neither her in-laws nor her parents were willing to support her and the baby.
But Neema did not give up hope, believing that one day she would be able to prove herself and provide a good future for her daughter. Her opportunity came when she heard about the JSS training course. With great enthusiasm, she joined and successfully completed the course in tailoring, becoming so adept in stitching women’s garments that she was soon inducted as a master trainer in the programme.
Her garments are in huge demand from women in her village and in Bageshwar town. “As a master trainer, I get about Rs 250 per day. Apart from this, I earn about Rs 15,000 a month from orders I get from women in our local community”, she says.
Today, Neema owns her own house and she has re-married. “My daughter, who is nearly 18 years old, goes to a good school and with my earnings I have also purchased a two-wheeler vehicle which enables me to travel to distant villages to give training to young girls.”
For youngsters like Ajay Kumar Bharti, 22, the merit of the programme lies in the fact that it offers potential entrepreneurs like him a holistic training starting with mastering the craft itself to understanding and handling business-related activities such as obtaining bank loans to start their own business.
Ajay is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the local college and has enrolled in the eight-month computer course offered by JSS. His skill with computers has already landed him an internship as a trainer in a college here. “I get Rs 10,000 a month for coaching students in computer applications. After I complete college, I plan to take a bank loan and start my own Cyber Café,” he states.