Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said the government is setting up Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) which it will serve as a specialised vehicle to implement skill development and upgradation programme for minorities being undertaken by various ministries of the Centre or the states.

Inaugurating the annual Conference of State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), she said the academy will be headquartered in Delhi.

"This is an ambitious project focusing at providing skills, training and upgradation in those sectors of economy in which there is shortage of these specialisations or demand is likely to emerge in future. It will help people find gainful employment or self-employment opportunities," she

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frequently stressed on the need for skill development of the youth to deal with the challenge of unemployment in the country.

NMDFC will ensure concessional credit flows to such people who have undergone training and want to either set up or expand their own business for self-employment, an official statement.

MANAS will act as a link between demand for skills and need for concessional credit to boost employment.

"The academy will network with various national and international agencies for certification, placement and funding for the programme," it said.

An MoU was also signed between MANAS and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to establish an extensive all- India collaborative network for the academy.

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