Empowering powerless, tribal girls with skill for exploiting potential of the modern Textiles industry

Dr. S.K. Panda IAS (Retd)

Access to remunerative livelihood is important for the youth in general. It holds special significance for the youth, staying in temporary camp amidst uncertainties under difficult conditions in particular. Due to various factors, sizeable number of Reang families, a primitive, Scheduled Tribe community, are living in camps in the Kanchanpur subdivision, North Tripura District, Tripura for last several years. Efforts for sending them back to their original place of stay in Mizoram have yet to yield the desired result. Amidst the uncertainty of refugee camps sustaining life with a paltry financial support; children have been born and young have turned adult; looking for employment and livelihood.

Skilling of a group of such youth, mainly girls, was taken up under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) for exploiting the demand in the domestic Apparel and Garment industry. The skill development training was started in Kanchanpur Subdivision in March 2017. Valeur Fabtex Pvt. Ltd., the Private Training Provider (PTP), imparted the training as per guidelines issued by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The first batch of one hundred and six youths, on completion of training, were sent for joining the apparel industry in Coimbatore and Tirpur in Tamil Nadu in last May 2017. The second batch, with 87 youth were given employment letter and sent in a small yet meaningful function held in the Sahid Bhagat Singh Hostel, Agartala on the 25th October 2017.

Narrating his experience, Mr. Harsh P. Chamaria, Director, Valeur Fabtex Pvt. Ltd. mentioned that they have undertaken this training with passion for imparting quality skill, as per the requirement of the Apparel and Garment industry of Tamil Nadu. The youths were given training in industrial sewing machine operation, as per the Qualification Pack(QP) developed by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). They had evolved tie-up with the textile industry for placement. Some youth, who were not keen for going outside, were assisted with sewing machines, under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intervention of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The trained persons were organised into a producer company, which had taken up negotiation for getting work order for stitching uniform from the Border Security Force(BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF); and loan from the Mudra Bank without security, as they cannot afford to provide it. Besides, thirty handloom weavers have been trained in handloom weaving with new design under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme of PMKVY. They have taken up stitching of ‘Rhea’ (customary wear of local tribal) in the loin looms for supply to ONGC, which are being used for honouring/felicitating VIPs as per the local custom.

Mr. K. Thangavel, Head – HR, KPR Mill Limited, Coimbatore mentioned that their export oriented apparel and garments unit, located in Coimbatore mill, has about 20,800 workers at present and plan for expansion. They have been taking good care of the women workers; for the safety and security, provision of food, accommodation, teaching computer and other soft skills, entertainment, games and sports etc. for giving the workers family like atmosphere. They have made special arrangements for cooking food as per the taste of the workers. Wages are being paid, as per the minimum wage of Tamil Nadu (about Rs 8,450/- per month) along with Provident Fund, Bonus and ESI benefits. It was satisfying to learn that all the 106 trained youth sent in the first batch are continuing and 26 of them have become supervisor getting higher remuneration in the last five months.

Representative of the training provider, Valeur Fabtex Pvt. Ltd. mentioned about their plan to continue this training and also to undertake training in other trades which have got market potential, viz. Beauty Therapist (with tie-up with Lemon 3 Group of Hotels), Taxi Driver (with tie-up with Ola and Uber), General Duty Assistant (with tie-up with Apollo Hospitals) as well as in Carpentry and Agarbati Stick Making as self-employment venture.

Shri Mahendra Payal, officer of NSDC dealing with North-East appreciated this and assured to provide required support for training more youth under PMKVY.

The trainees look enthusiastic and happy, empowered with new skills, ready to exploit new horizons. Success of this endeavour is attributed to selection of trade as per the market requirement, imparting training with commitment, proper linkage with industry for placement, supervision, coordination by the concerned agencies. This has set an example in imparting quality skill for gainful employment, which can be replicated in other trades as well.

End note

This is about the journey of a group of tribal girls with several limitations from a refugee camp of North Tripura district in the North Eastern Region, migrating for livelihood as proud skilled workers in the modern Apparel and Garment industry in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu-

It represents nothing short of a Transformation in the real sense- like a caterpillar getting metamorphic change to a butterfly.

Having seen the problems of the refugees (from close quarters since 2010), I attribute this success to all the stakeholders – the training provider, the industry, concerned Government officials and the trainees- “Working with positive mindset, in a team, with use of appropriate technology”, the hypothesis elaborated in the publication “Making One plus One Eleven”.

Let us hope many more such success stories will come bringing cheers to the weak and the disadvantaged.

Written by Dr. S.K. Panda IAS (Retd), Chairman Executive Committee, Tripura Skill Development Mission,( Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles., Former Secretary Ministry of Textiles and former Chief Secretary, Tripura). Views expressed are personal. Contact email:

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01/11/2017 10:59:06Sumitra Dassumitradas.sagar@gmail.comNice article sir..........keep writing

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