"കൈ കോർക്കാം നല്ല നാളേക്കായി" - Panel Discussion Series

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Covid 19 that spread across the world from Wuhan province in China has shaken the very foundations of the world and brought almost all sectors to a standstill. The long term impact of the ongoing crisis on the industrial world is yet to be understood properly. Millions are already facing job threats even while the young graduates are staring upon a bleak future due to an economic slowdown and job cuts.

In the changed circumstances, world would experiment new strategies in trade, and commerce both in the areas of products and services. Not only production and distribution sectors, but also others such as health, agriculture, education and tourism will resurrect themselves by adopting new approaches. The pandemic would thus become a water divide and separate the world of work into pre- and post-Covid.

As far as Kerala is concerned, the challenges of employment sector would become even more complex. Situation in the state caused by rising unemployment and under employment among educated youth will become an even worse due to the influx of skilled workers and experienced professionals from overseas. Experts have already opined that fresh recruitments will drastically fall in the next one year due to the impact of the pandemic.

As per records of the NoRKA, the government agency responsible for the welfare of overseas Keralites, nearly 39 lakhs people have already returned to the state during the recent past due to various reasons. The grave situation that the state is going to face in the immediate future will be clearer when we consider the drastic cut in remittances from this population that has been the backbone of our economy as well as the highly uncertain labour & employment scenario.

What is needed now is not panic, but approaching the situation in a responsible manner with coordinated and systematic action between various Government departments, industry, academia, development experts and researchers for finding a sustainable solution to this issue. Implementing the solutions in a time bound and systematic manner will help us uphold the time tested and celebrated Kerala model of development.

The world of work will undergo an overhaul and re-emerge in the Post Covid world by adopting futuristic technologies of the Industry 4.0 including Artificial intelligence and Block chain. As we are aware, Work from Home, Shop from Home, Meet from Home, Entertainment from Home have already become popular. In this manner the world will devise newer strategies and job opportunities as it learns to overcome the negative aspects of pandemics. Traditional work culture will be replaced with newer ones that are more resilient.

Covid 19 has opened up a new world of opportunities too and if we move in the right direction, it will produce yet another Kerala model of development that the world will be discussing in the future. This is possible if we rise to the occasion by devising skill development strategies for preparing our young graduates to reach out to the new opportunities and to utilise the talent of the returnees in the emerging future. The need of the hour is to understand the evolving industrial landscape, new employment opportunities that are emerging and also skills required to establish careers in such a world. Experts need to engage with stakeholders to devise new skill development strategies and ways to implement them.

Realising this noble objective, the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme of the Department of Higher Education is initiating discussions for formulating and implementing action plans involving Ministers of Government departments and experts from various fields. Aim of the initiative titled ‘കൈ കോർക്കാം നല്ല നാളേക്കായി’ (Let’s join hands for a better tomorrow) is to elicit ideas and opinions to formulate action plans that can be shared with Government departments for implementation and to undertake skill development programmes through the state wide Community Skill Parks. Developing a state talent pool comprising skilled personnel with technical competence for the future is the overall objective of this programme.

The programme is being organised in association with the Department of Non Resident Keralites Association (NoRKA), Government of Kerala and the prestigious print medium of the state, Mathrubhumi Newspaper as media partner. First of the panel discussions in the series will be held online on 20th May 2020 with the Honourable Minister for Higher Education, Kerala, Dr.K.T. Jaleel involving Dr. B.Ekbal, Vice Chairman Planning Board and experts from various fields. The objective of the programme by the Department of Higher Education is to organise similar discussions involving the Departments of Labour, Finance, Agriculture, Local Self Government and experts in the respective fields in order to devise and implement development strategies that can launch the state in a new growth trajectory.