The Union environment ministry launched a programme called the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) that aims to train over 5.5 lakh workers in environment and forest sectors in the country under 30 different courses by 2021.
Environment minister Harsh Vardhan unveiled a mobile app GSDP-ENVIS with all the information for the courses, including a list of training centres across the country. The GSDP was launched last year as a pilot project in 10 districts of the country, where 154 youths, mainly school dropouts, were trained as para-taxonomists and biodiversity conservationists.
After the pilot project, the ministry is now going to launch the programme on a large scale and plans to train 80,000 youths at 80 institutions in next one year. ‘The number will be raised to over two lakh in the following year and by 2021 a total of over 5.5 lakh youths will be trained as green skilled workers,” the minister said.
He said that GSDP will serve manifold purposes and achieve the aim of skill development campaign. “To protect the environmental right of our future generations, all of us have a green social responsibility,” added the minister.
The environment ministry has been implementing the central sector scheme Environment Information System (ENVIS) since 1982-83. ENVIS with its scientific and technical information on various environmental issues has served in facilitating policy formulation and environment management at different levels of government.
ENVIS is a decentralised network of 66 centres, of which 31 centres deal with the state of the environment and related issues. They are called ENVIS Hubs and are hosted by state governments. The remaining 35 centres are hosted by environment-related governmental and non-governmental organisations of professional excellence, with various theme mandates, called the ENVIS resource partners.
The ministry has held deliberations with various stakeholders and is open to any collaboration or partnership with national and international organisations to build a network, which can be utilised for green-skilling under the GSDP for sustainable conservation and management of natural resources.
The ENVIS app
The app bundles up all related information about the Green Skill Development Programme. However, it does not have an option to register for a course unlike what the statement claimed. As per Google Play Store, the number of downloads is only 500.
The app provides information under different tabs such as About GSDP and Gallery with photographs from pilot courses run by various centres. The alumni section runs a list of people trained by GSDP, success stories of various centres and achievements. The GSDP page explains the rationale of the course as follows. ‘Most vocational training programmes focus on mechanical and technical skills rather than soft or green skills. Green skills contribute to persevering environmental quality for sustainable future and include jobs that protect ecosystems and biodiversity.’
The first GSDP course was formulated for killing biodiversity conservationists and para-taxonomists of three months duration each on a pilot basis in ten select districts of the country.
The “Courses Offered” section enlists 30 courses, including dolphin conservator, water budgeting and auditing, forest fire management, management of small botanical gardens, propagation and management of bamboo, bird identification and basic ornithology, city environment surveyors among others. Different courses and training programmes are offered to skill enthusiasts who are 18 years and above, as master trainers specialists. Certificate courses under GSDP which run from 80 hours to 560 hours for master trainers and specialists will be open for admission in July 2018. Many of these courses are open for admission to Class X and Class XII dropouts.
The app also carries a section called “Opportunities”, which lists fields where successful candidates can get employed. The areas of employment include zoological parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, nurseries, wetland sites, waste management in municipal corporations, water management and others. The app also offers a list of over 85 centres that offer GSDP courses across the country.
Going by the user reviews of the app, we realised that some of the users are concerned about the fact that the courses are meant only for science students and are a new window for students with a science background. However, we don’t think this is the case because in the pilot phase the candidates chosen were mostly dropouts.