By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, August 17, 2018: The Naveen Patnaik government has set eyes on agriculture and allied sector to extend skill development as part of its efforts to improve productivity and raise the income of farmers and others dependent on agriculture and allied sector.

The state government has set a target to train 11 lakh youths by 2019-20. But the target will remain a far cry if skilling initiative is not expanded to the primary sector as more than two-thirds of the state’s population depends on the sector for its livelihood.

Experts said the state government has so far limited its short-term skilling initiatives to the services sector, primarily aimed at creating a pool of trained electricians and plumbers.

“It is utmost important to impart training and skilling in agriculture and allied sector to improve productivity and introduce new varieties of crops as well as new techniques. Odisha government should be proactive to increase the scale of access of farmers to improved crop production technologies by integrating appropriate technology, inputs and skill development” says, independent consultant on skill development, Simanta Mohanty.

In fact, a pilot project to increase the scale of access of farmers to improved crop production technologies by integrating Digital Green’s technology-enabled extension model was implemented in collaboration with CSISA (Cereal Systems Initiatives in South Asia) in Odisha layering over Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and Government of Odisha agriculture extension systems.

The project was implemented in 20 villages in Puri district of Odisha. CSISA and the KVK played the role of knowledge partners in the project. The technical content (in the form of videos) was disseminated by the KVK trainers and the village level extension workers of state agriculture department.

The state government has identified skill development as one of the state’s focus area and has formed the Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA), headed by co-founder of IT firm MindTree to ensure quality skill training standards and sustained employability of the trained youths. The agency aims to provide an outstanding skilled workforce comparable to the best in the world.

Through OSDA, the state government is taking up various interventions to boost skill development. OSDA has initiated and taken a number of steps to meet skilling targets as envisaged in the Chief Minister Employment Guarantee Programme and the broader policy of the state from time to time.

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