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India: Sikkim Chief Minister announces youth scheme, employment for local workers

India, September 12 2009: Sikkim Chief Minister Chamling announceds Youth Empowerment Scheme, coupled with investment drive and legislation requiring private businesses operating in the State to employ and train locals.

Sikkim is India's least populous state, with youth unemployment running at 21,000.  Previously reliant on agriculture, after heavy promotion in recent years the state has significantly increased its income through tourism and gambling.  There are further plans for the construction of 7-star hotels, including casinos and amusement parks.

The Voice of Sikkim reports that Sikkim Chief Minister Chamling launched the State's Youth Empowerment Scheme on 12 September.  Coupled with increased investment and a Bill requiring private businesses to employ and train locals relies, the aim is to ensure that the state's human capital is maximised by the state's growth.  Capacity building measures for youth include training in masonry, electrical, labour, tailoring and hotel management.

Again, the issue of youth preference for white-collar jobs is claimed to be a factor in the youth unemployment figures.  According to the Voice, 'The Chief Minister called for a paradigm shift in the mindset of the Sikkimese youth and to accept dignity of labour.'  To what extent is this really in issue?

The requirement for local labour is reported to be still under consideration by India's President.  “While signing agreements with new companies or hotels, we will ensure that the companies must use 100 percent local manpower. If they need skilled manpower, the companies have to recruit locals and train them at their own expenses.”  It will be interesting to see whether the measure is approved and, if so, the extent to which investment levels are affected.  Does anyone know of any similar measures elsewhere?

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