During the certificate distribution ceremony of newly trained workers in the state one of the special invitees made a bold but truthful statement that the certified trainees should engage themselves in reskilling from time to time during the course of using the expertise gained during the training in a professional practice. The suggestion for additional training sessions might have awestruck the buoyed and spirited new certified trainees who are probably bursting with confidence and energy after the hard acquisition of some useful skills and already halfway rushing to make an impactful entry into entrepreneurship. Reskilling is not a totally new practice, but its relevance was not that much when technology was not fully developed like in the modern days. But since it is impossible to avoid it now, government departments and private establishments in the state too have taken baby steps towards taking up reskilling projects within the organisation, hastened by the burgeoning importance of adopting modern technologies and state of the art realignment that had taken place in systems of functioning. Haven’t we witnessed the same bank tellers, cash counter operators, ticket dealers switched to computers from their manual operation with our own eyes in a gradual but steady manner? Not only that after the successful implementation of Meitei scripts in a phased manner from schools to colleges to universities level, stakeholders in education as well as common people outside the academic circle have been driven to run for upskilling with the knowledge of the new script. Reskilling is happening unstoppably due to the need for employees to learn the skills they need for a new role within the same organization.
It has however emerged both in the country and state that digital gap and imbalance in knowledge of technology is the single-most important motivation among people, companies and the administration to resort to reskilling projects. The reason is that an increasing proportion of our work space is being controlled by digital technology. On the other hand, a digitally dependent market tends to face fluid moments regularly. Thus, when a disruptive innovation happens, which is a phenomenon becoming more and more common, it will create a new market and value network and eventually shake up the existing market, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances. Everyone has now got to adapt to the new change. So, it became imperative then that all ranks and files of the labour force are now competent in digital technology by visiting reskilling classrooms. Thus, the Centre is engaged in the Digital India project to bridge the digital gap and make technology more accessible, inclusive and affordable to the common people. Under this reskilling exercise, about six crore Indians would become digitally literate in the next two, three years. Of them, one crore are already digital literate. The result is today digital services are available even in towns across the state country through BPOs.
The situation in the state is not too different and the closeness will be more visible with each new day. The state government should promptly prioritise embracing reskilling and each department should already have the logistics to take up the reskilling project as it is felt that there is a clear need to reskill the employees today and equip them for the new digital challenges. The methods of running government institutions are going through a huge change with the reliability and durability of digital technology seeping in to fill every other technical inefficiency. Thus, we also anticipate that under the state government the foundation for reskilling will be laid in the government apparatus, so the department can retrain current employees to take new roles. This can also keep the government’s offices viable during times of major change – without the additional time and expense of hiring brand-new employees.
The government can take its belief on the need for continuous reskilling of trained or skilled persons outside the government payroll to another level by taking up under its wing projects meant for upgrading their skill levels regularly. In a way, it can help thousands of self-employed youths with limited access to undergo periodic training in the state to upgrade the level of their skills in their particular fields and reinforce the robustness of their businesses. For example, the government can take a cue from Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC), which had taken a number of initiatives for reskilling of tyre mechanics. In order to bring class rooms to the tyre fitter shops RSDC sends its Mobile Skill Vans to reach out to the workforce employed in tyre services and maintenance. These vans move across different state highways, villages and towns, creating awareness about skill requirement for tyre service and maintenance and safety on roads associated with upkeep of the tyres. These vans are manned by skilled personnel, to train tyre fitters, assess them on skills acquired and even to certify them. In a similar manner, the department can hire adequately trained personnel in locally popular small business-like handloom and handicraft, printing, packet water manufacturing units, automobile repair, mobile and computers repair shops etc to meet the entrepreneurs and help them to increment their skills and knowledge on a regular basis. Such a project would add muscle to the capability of our local entrepreneurs resulting in raising their spirit and boosting confidence, leading to reinvigoration of their undertakings. Ultimately it could become the backbone of an unassailable tribe of modern entrepreneurs that will be the first of a never stopping line of robust businessmen.