Taking the Modi Government's 'Skill India Mission' forward, the Union Environment Ministry has decided to impart ‘green skills' to over five lakh youths in the next three years for better job opportunities in the environment sector. However, though the skills provided by them are in demand, the Ministry does not guarantee employment, Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.

He said, a total of 5,60,000 people will be trained under the ministry's green skill development programme (GSDP) through 57 Environmental Information Systems (ENVIS) centres in the country. The fund for the training course will be from the Rs 24 crore budget allocated for the ENVIS in this year, the Minister told the reporters here on Tuesday.

The ‘green skills' under the programme include - biodiversity conservationists, effluent treatment plant operators, air pollution abatement workers, equipment operators, waste handling and candidates for plantation sectors among others. He said that while in 2018-19 an estimated 80,000 candidates will be trained, in 2019-20 around 1.60 lakh youths would undergo training. Similarly, in 2020-21, there are plans to train 3.20 lakh youths and the total target for the three years is to train around 5.60 lakh youths.

"All these skills are in demand and they will get jobs for sure," Environment Secretary CK Mishra said.

The idea to impart training in the green skills followed the success of a pilot project launched under the GSDP last June wherein training course modules were released and about 94 trainees successfully completed the basic course, qualifying as skilled biodiversity conservationists. Around 154 students are enrolled for the advance course on para-taxonomy, which is expected to conclude in March, 2018, Mishra added.

With the success of the pilot, the scope of the programme is being extended to an all-India level.

Talking about the budget allocation, Dr Harshvardhan said on the wildlife front, funds to the tune of Rs. 175 crore have been earmarked for wildlife habitat development, i.e a 10 per cent increase and Rs. 66 crore have been set aside for conservation of aquatic ecosystems, an increase of 10 per cent.

"Similarly, Rs 175 crore have been earmarked for development of wildlife habitat, marking a 10% increase, while funds to the tune of Rs 350 crore have been allocated for Project Tiger in Budget 2018-19.   Project Elephant has been allocated Rs 30 crore, which makes for a 9 per cent increase, he added. Talking about the 'clean air campaign' in the national capital, he said, "What we do for Delhi is a hands-on demo model for the rest of the country. We have roped in 100 cities which will be actively involved in the National Clean Air Mission." The idea, according to him, was to handle the issue of air pollution in totality, which is why the Union Budget 2018-19 had an allocation that referred to stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.

Source: May 14, 2018, The Pioneer