Ambar Singh Roy

Kolkata, Jan. 23

THE National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) of the Department of Science & Technology has tied up with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement a capacity-building model initiative called SKILLS (Skills & Knowledge for Improved Livelihood & Living Standards).

The initiative is meant to facilitate private-public partnership to develop skills-based entrepreneurship that is "not necessarily bracketed as being at the higher end," Mr H.K. Mittal, Advisor & Head of NSTEDB, told

Business Line

during a recent visit to Kolkata.

Mr Mittal said NSTEDB had so far focused on entrepreneurial development based on high-end skills such as engineering, IT and software. However, the joint initiative of NSTEDB and UNDP will now focus on private-public partnership in entrepreneurial development based on market-linked and not-so-high-end skills.

"For example, the entire country has been linked with mobile telephones. You need people to maintain and service the base transmission stations and towers that have been set up. This does not need very high-end technical training. In this domain, a formally educated person with minor skills can deliver the goods."

The idea is to replicate the success achieved in the technology-driven growth centre models at the grassroots level, where the focus would be on sustainable, low-end and technology-based entrepreneurship.

The thrust would be on agriculture and biotechnology in Kolkata, food processing in Goa, and household appliances in Tiruchi.

UNDP will offer project-based support to implement the programme. "UNDP will provide project-based support for the sustainability of the programme. To our mind, the constraint lies not with the support we can provide, but the sustainability on the ground," said Mr Shankar Sengupta, Programme Officer of UNDP.

Mr Sengupta hoped that the programme would help spur entrepreneurship models that would benefit the "maximum number of people."

According to Mr Mittal, 93 per cent of India's work force comprised of the informal sector that does not have specific skills-sets.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 24, 2006)
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