"I urge my friends from the industry to come forward and work with us to reach out to the youth in these areas," Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Sarbananda Sonowal, said after inaugurating the Global Skills Summit at FICCI here.

He also urged the industry to take the lead in recognising skills not only through jobs but through preferential employment, increased salaries and creating an atmosphere within their companies for employees to get "skilled and upskilled".

"It is only through collective action and consolidated plan from all the stakeholders that we can facilitate access to wage and self-employment opportunities for the working population of these regions and give them hope for a better future.

"Having first-hand knowledge of one of these areas, I can assure you about the potential of the youth in these areas," Sonowal said.

Urging the industry to lead by example and elaborating on ways in which it can contribute, the minister said that providing apprenticeship opportunities, was one of the ways which will help reduce the disconnect between industry and vocational training centres as well as school education and vocational training.

"My Ministry welcomes and embraces all meaningful skill development efforts with open arms as we see skill development as a social transformation tool leading to wealth creation for individuals and through them for the entire nation," he said.

He rued the fact that despite women constituting a sizable number in the country, their participation in the economic growth is limited.
"This must change by creating a conducive environment for their participation in the skills development activities," he said.

"I assure you that we have also taken the regional differences in terms of geography into consideration and very soon we all will adopt a regionally balanced skill development approach which would be more fruitful," he added.

Stating that 70 percent of the country's population falls in rural and tribal India, Sonowal said that to properly equip these youth with the skill sets needed for them to be part of the modern work force, integration of skill development and the formal education system is necessary.

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