With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission. This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs which aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skillsets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies.
The collected information will be shared with the companies for suitable placement opportunities in the country. The returning citizens are required to fill up an online SWADES Skills Card. The card will facilitate a strategic framework to provide the returning citizens with suitable employment opportunities through discussions with key stakeholders including State Governments, Industry Associations and Employers. MSDE’s implementation arm National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is supporting the implementation of the project.
Commenting on the collaboration, Dr.Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “These are testing times and it is crucial that the entire country comes together and supports the Centre in its efforts to address the challenges posed by the economic downturn caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic. We are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of External Affairs to conduct this skill mapping of overseas returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission. Inspired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of security and growth for all, the data collected through SWADES Skill Card will help the citizens with job prospects and bridge the demand-supply gap.”
The spread of COVID-19 across the globe has had a significant economic impact with thousands of workers losing their jobs and hundreds of companies shutting down globally. Many of our citizens returning to the country through the Vande Bharat Mission of the Government of India may be facing uncertainty regarding their future employment opportunities. Lakhs of citizens have registered at the various Indian missions requesting to return to the country and so far, more than 57,000 people have already returned to the country.
Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Civil Aviation Minister, said, “When we started Vande Bharat Mission, we observed that a lot of our overseas workers returning to India due to job losses possess international skill sets and experience which can be of great value for domestic and international markets. We reached out to MSDE to create an online portal for gathering database of these workers. To ensure dissemination of information on SWADES Skill Card, In-flight announcements are being made by Air India and Air Indian Express that are operating flights under the Vande Bharat Mission. Airport Authority of India and other private airports have also put up banners/standees and digital signages to ensure that all our migrants returning from abroad can be informed about this initiative.”
Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs commented, “In view of the global emergency caused by the unprecedented spread of the Novel Coronavirus, we are committed to provide every possible support to our citizens stranded abroad and the challenges they are facing due to job losses. We shall actively promote the SWADES Skill Card initiative through our Embassies/ High Commissions/Consulates across different countries. The initiative will help in deployment of returning Indian workforce matching their skill sets.”
The online form available on www.nsdcindia.org/swades has been created to gather required details of the returning citizens. The form contains the details such as details related to the work sector, jobtitle, employment, years of experience. A Toll free call centre facility has also been set up to support the citizens for any queries related to filling the form.
The SWADES Skill Form (online) was made live on 30th May 2020 and has garnered around 7000 registrations till 3rd June 2020 ( 2 pm). Amongst the data gathered so far, the top countries from where the citizens are returning are UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. As per the skill mapping, these citizens had been primarily employed in sectors such as oil & gas, construction, tourism & hospitality, Automotive and Aviation. The data also suggests that the States which have shown highest returning labour are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.