Lucknow : Indian Institute of Management Lucknow is working as a catalyst to foster skill development and entrepreneurship in the country. The Institute, as one of the academic partners with the largest cohort in the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship program of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is en route to achieving the goals set for its two years. As this two-year program approaches its completion in October 2023, IIM Lucknow proudly reflects on the transformative impact it has had on skill development at the district level.
During the last two years, fellows have been provided with the best academic support from IIM Lucknow which has built their capacity to work with local administration and contribute towards strengthening the skill landscape in districts.
Speaking about IIM’s role in the program and engagement of fellows, Prof. Ajay K. Garg, Program Director, MGNF – IIML said, “We are proud to witness how effective engagement of fellows complemented with exceptional mentoring support from our Institute is transforming the skill discourse at the district level. This synergy has not only given impetus to the functioning of District Skill committees but also paved the way for the implementation of some unique projects on the ground encompassing diverse areas like livelihood promotion of SHGs, data convergence, increased access to skilling, quality assurance, monitoring, and others.”
The fellows have currently finished four academic modules and five district immersion modules. Apart from the work related to District Skill Committees, development of district skill development plans, career counseling, etc., the fellows across four states (Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam) with IIML have taken various initiatives to conceptualize and implement some unique projects in the districts including new development projects, enabling industry engagement, and spearheading entrepreneurship development.
Embodying the timeless wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi’s iconic mantra, “Be the change you want to see,” the diversity and broad spectrum of the on-ground initiatives that fellows have embarked upon are worth appreciating. Some of these include compiling an inventory of unique cuisines and crafts through initiative – Zayka-e Rampur, the development of a livelihood dashboard, facilitating the establishment of the first rural space laboratory in India, a Food cafeteria by SHGs, livelihood opportunities to the SHGs through allied floriculture activities through project-Pushpanjali, teacher training programs, promotion of local products and crafts like bamboo and pineapple, incubator support to entrepreneurs, training on life skills, collaboration with digital platforms and CSR organizations and others.
Also, fellows across various districts in four states have helped in the capacity building of SHGs on branding and marketing of their products which has augmented the existing livelihood opportunities.
IIM Lucknow rigorously trained these MGNF fellows with skills to work towards achieving the desired outcomes and creating an impact on the ground level. The academic sessions included various areas like management, economics, research methods, public policy, and others. The academic learning has been well complemented with practitioners’ insights from organisations like MSDE MoSPI, UNWomen UNDP, TATA, STRIVE, Head Held High, and others sharing their expertise and insights on topics of skill development and entrepreneurship.
In addition to this, various sessions on stress management and mental well-being have been an integral part of the program and much appreciated by fellows and other stakeholders. To help fellows work effectively on the ground, the institute has also taken some special initiatives like dedicated faculty mentor support systems and facilitating collaboration with CSR organisations and alumni networks, in areas like e-marketing of traditional crafts, career counselling and providing career transition support to fellows.
Highlighting how the fellows with IIM Lucknow are implementing their learnings at the ground level, Prof. Kshitij Awasthi, Program Director, MGNF – IIML shared, “The holistic approach of the program design has significantly contributed to not only building a sustained dialogue on skill development in districts but has also created a well-trained cadre of professionals in public policy space who have an understanding of skill development systems both at policy and implementation level.”
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF), a flagship program with IIMs as the academic partners. The program has over 660 fellows spread throughout the country with nine IIMs, including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jammu, Kozhikode, Nagpur, Ranchi, Udaipur, and Visakhapatnam, as academic partners.
Under this program, with IIM Lucknow, currently, there are 105 fellows spread across four states, including, 32 in Assam, 11 in Mizoram, 51 in Uttar Pradesh, and 11 in Himachal Pradesh. This two-year certificate program in public policy and management aims to strengthen the sustained efforts for skill development at local level through an effective and collaborative engagement of fellows.