Exploring Entrepreneurial & Student Start up Potential in the State of Jammu & Kashmir
A Policy Consultative workshop on Student innovation & Start-up Movement for Academic leaders was held on 21-5-18. The Hon’ble Chancellor of Universities of J&K State Shri N.N. Vohra presided over this important academic event. Other Prominent dignitaries present were Dr. Anil Sahasrabude (Chairman, AICTE), Mr.R. Raman (Niti Aayog), Mr. Sanjay Anamdar(AICTE), Mr. H.K.Mittal(DST), Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal(DIPP), Mr. Parvaiz Ahmad(Chairman. J&k Bank) & Prof. M.I.Parray(Director EDI). In addition to this the Vice-Chancellors of State/Central Universities were invited to participate & share their experience on the theme of Consultative Workshop. Among the Vice-Chancellors present were Prof. Mehraj-ud-din Mir (CUK), Dr. Nazir Ahmad (SKUAST-K), Prof. Sanjeev Jain (SMVD), Prof. Sheikh Javaid (Cluster University, Srinagar). Other Universities/ Institution like Kashmir University, NIT, Cluster University Jammu, State Dept. Of Industries, Education, Skill Development were represented by their Senior Academicians & Officers.
In his inaugural speech, the Hon’ble Chancellor/Governor Shri N. N Vohra emphasized the need to explore the entrepreneurial potential of the Universities in J&K for enhancing employability of their Students through Skill training. He said there are ample opportunities for the Universities to utilize Various Schemes available at the State & National levels, which if taken positively and seriously shall usher a new era of progress & prosperity. He said that for State Universities Special financial packages are required for implementing the programmes of Skill training, Entrepreneurship & Student Start-ups (SSP) effectively.
Prof. Saharasbudhe, Chairman AICTE discussed at length various issues related to Start-up ecosystem. He opined that since higher Education/ Technical education are examination dominated and the main tool being rote learning, there are lesser possibilities of fostering critical thinking, creativity, scientific temper and other innovative abilities and attitudes among the students. As such there is an urgent need to reorient the entire process of Teaching-Learning towards realizing higher instructional objectives involving higher faculties of mind on the part of the students. Prof. Saharasbudhe gave details about Smart India, Problem Solving through Hackathrons, Swayam Portal, Role of Alumni and Corporate Social Responsibility in promoting Start-up ecosystem.
Mr. Unnat Pandit (NITI Aayog) discussed in detail the main schemes under Atal New India Challenge. He, in particular referred to the tinkering lab Scheme which is meant for school going children in the age group of 6-16 years. The school children under this scheme can experiment with, learn, develop and conceptualize different scientific ideas. He said that SRJNA powered Tinkering lab consists of 80+ tools like DIY kits, 3d Printer, Robotics, Scientific, Mechanical, Electrical equipments and consumables supported boot camps, workshops, content, lesson plans, mentoring, guest lecturers etc. He informed that in J&k state 35 schools all already participating in this program. Mr. Sanjay Inamdar (AICTE) said that there is a great potential in J&K state for establishing Start-up ecosystem especially in the areas of Sports Material production, food production, and tourism. He emphasized the need to start social entrepreneurship to orient young educated people to champion the cause of Entrepreneurship. This will help to develop fund and implement solutions to social, cultural and environmental issues. Another initiative is Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge (MANAK). Manak is executed by Department of Science and technology and National Innovation Foundation-India to align it with the action plan for ‘’Start-up India” initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. Mr. H.K.Mittal (DST) discussed in detail the significance of incubation centres for promoting entrepreneurship among the students. He said the proposals for establishing these incubation centres are received every year in Nov, Dec and after proper screening and due observance of the norms such incubation centres are granted to the applicant institutions. Prof. Jain (SMVD) gave a detailed report about the two innovation centres established in their University. He said that eight groups of incubates are presently pursuing entrepreneurship nodes at different places and also continuing their studies at the University.
Prof Parray (Director, EDI) detailed out various schemes that are operational at present. He said that his institution is trying to do its best in promoting entrepreneurship among the students of J&K State. Mr. Parvaiz Ahmad (Chairman, J&K Bank) said that as an official banker of the State for the Govt. of J&K, we are bound to co-operate in all welfare schemes including the entrepreneurship development and Start-up ecosystem. He said that any such initiative that may be taken by the state govt. On a larger scale shall be duly supported by our bank. Dr.Rajiv Agarwal (DIPP.) highlighted important parameters of innovative ecosystem and said that their department has received 60,330 applications for patent applications. He said that official processes and procedures have been streamlined to ensure speedy disposal of patent applications. He said that for creating awareness there is a provision of establishing IPPRS cell in the universities and other higher education Institutions.
CUK INITIATIVE ON SKILL TRAINING
In Central University of Kashmir, Skill training is imparted through four different modes i.e., Through the Directorate of Skill Development which is empanelled under Prime Minister’s YUVA Yojana Scheme. The Directorate has last year introduced two skill training programmes ‘Data Entry & DTP’ and ‘Food Production’ in which 30 students have completed the courses and 60% of them have successfully been placed in different Hotels/ publishing houses and Print Media. In the current academic session, the CUK is launching 04 more skill based diploma courses which include Tourist Guidance, DCA, Legal drafting/petition writing and Special Education. The second mode of imparting skill training in the CUK is through B.VOC degree programmes in Tourism and Hospitality Management. In this course, 35 students are presently enrolled who are likely to complete the programme in July, 2019. In addition to these courses, the CUK is already running 08 skill oriented courses in the CBCS basket which include communication skills, Digital Photography Image Editing, Entrepreneurship Development Skills, Hospitality Skills, Information and Communication Technology, Legal Drafting and Advocacy, Personality Development Skills and Modern Spoken Arabic. From the current academic session onwards, the weighatge of Skill/theory shall be followed in the ratio of 70:30 and after the Completion of the course, each student shall be given a separate skill training certificate as per the course chosen by the student in the CBCS basket. Recently on 29-04-2018, CUK has been allotted Design Innovation Centre (DIC) which is first of its kind in the State through an open competition along with GTU and IIT Roorkee with an initial grant of Rs 10 crores to be spent in 2-3 years. The Centre has been established with the objective of promoting the culture of innovations and creative problem solving. The focus of the DIC in the CUK is to harness the local Kashmiri talent with special orientation to the Kashmiri Handicrafts, Kashmiri Food Production & Processing and Herbal Medicine & Aroma Technology. Through this centre, skill training shall be imparted to the trainees who shall be engaged in concept developments, prototypes and mock trials. It shall also encourage, help & support the trainees for patent/ other registration and by the end of second year, the successful trainees shall be facilitated in establishing their own start-ups with active consultation and collaboration for promotion and marketing of the products.
STATE GOVERNMENT POLICY
Based on the recommendations of consultative workshop held on 21-05-2018, it is expected that the State Govt. comes up with a comprehensive state policy on Skill training, Entrepreneurship and student start-up Ecosystem and ensure its implementation within a fixed time bound framework. The state Universities especially Kashmir and Jammu Universities have great potential for implementing the centrally sponsored initiatives of establishing incubation centres, Tinkering labs, Innovation centres, Manak centres all focussed towards promotion of Entrepreneurship and student start-ups. Even SKUAST (K) and SKUAST (J) can play a very vital role in imparting Skill training and enhancing employability of their graduates. The State Govt. has to come in a big way to finance these projects in the Universities.
For a firm foundation towards skill and diginity of labour, it is essential that at secondary levels, the students enrolled for the academic programme are given rigorous skill training through the respective industrial training institute (ITI) leading to the award of Technical Program certificate at the end of 2 years (9th and 10th Class). Simultaneously along with academic certificates, similarly, by the end of 12th year of schooling, the students can earn a ‘Technical Diploma’ along with Academic Diplomas. The system at School and college levels need to be made flexible to accommodate the requirements for imparting skill training along with imparting knowledge at the academic level. These and other related measures may help to reduce the otherwise growing educated unemployment rate among youth and built upon self-confidence, improve their employability tide over the tendencies of stress and depression and help them to become productive and responsible citizen.
There is a need to constitute a steering committee at state/ Division levels with representatives from Universities, Colleges, Schools, Departments at the Central level and also linkage Departments at the state level. This shall ensure a proper coordination and shall give flip to these programmes largely in the interests of the students and Youth of J and K State.
Prof. N.A. Nadeem is Dean, School of Education and Director, Skill Development, CUK.