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How Entrepreneurship Can Eradicate Unemployment In Assam

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Assam is the gateway to the South-East Asian markets. As Assam is rich in natural resources, there is a high possibility of a new avenue for business across the state. Despite enormous underlying possibilities, the market has not flourished as expected.

One of the recent stride taken by the state government towards the same was observed in the year 2017 in the month of October. The Assam Government initiated the ‘Advantage Assam’ programme with the primary aim to showcase the tremendous investment opportunities and highlight the geo-strategic perks offered to the investors across the country.

Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, propounded the programme as the largest ever investment promotion and facilitation edge, driven by the government to a large extent, with the sole motive to transform the state as one of the largest manufacturing hubs in the ASEAN region. The summit saw the influx of top industrialists, business tycoons, venture capitalists, angel investors, and others. Still, the region massively lags behind in the key aspect ‘investment & funding’.

As per a report, companies with an investment capital of more than Rs 10 crores had to prove their intentions to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. Revealing the present scenario, there has been a huge drop-down, in terms of ideas proposed by the investors in the past few years, and currently, is negligible in comparison to other developed states of the country.

According to State Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Department, 20 lakh educated, yet skilled youth and 3 lakh unskilled youths are unemployed in Assam. Image provided by the author.

The main highlight from this step was expected to be the rise in employment opportunities across the region. The keen eye of investors would have definitely caught the attention of private firms in the country and would have created a sphere for private entities in the region. Regardless of all efforts, the unemployment factor is said to have increased. According to the statistics presented by the State Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship Department, around 20,00,000 educated, yet skilled youth and 3,00,000 unskilled youths are unemployed in the state.

From the above-mentioned statistics, it is clear that there might be some legit cause that is leading to high unemployment rate in the state. The first cause can be identified as unskilled resources. Most of the educated youth are not highly skilled to perform specialised tasks. Another key cause is the hardcore dependency on government jobs. Against the unemployment ratio, government jobs are very minuscule in numbers.

A few of the educated youth make their way by clearing clerical examinations, and the rest by keeping their hands on. Thus, such a mindset towards public sector jobs makes the private sector less attractive. Furthermore, the youth of the state are not interested in doing small jobs. Their inclination for being famous lands them only in the search for attractively paying jobs, forgetting the fact that those require immense skills and learning.

One of the major reasons of high unemployment rate is unskilled resources. Most of the educated youth are not highly skilled to perform specialised tasks.

In context to this, the present scenario is changing. The saffron-led government has come up with the concept of ‘Start-Up India’. The Assam Government, in collaboration with the Start-up India team, is undertaking an outreach campaign in educational institutions to motivate youth for entrepreneurship.

Government officials along with the region-based small scale industrialists and professors of Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Assam are trying their best to promote the same and discuss the issues related to entrepreneurship among students – paving a better future for young minds and creating a start-up ecosystem.

Now, the core ideology lies in understanding the word ‘entrepreneurship’, which is crucial to eliminate unemployment. Entrepreneurship, in itself, is a broad term. It is not just about starting a new venture; in fact, is all about leveraging the entrepreneurship skill one possesses. Be it in terms of innovation, risk-taking ability or enhancing leadership qualities, most of the youth lag far behind in this. Hence, it becomes necessary to build a platform in order to enrich these entrepreneurial ideas into reality, right from the primary and secondary level of education.

In similar lines, Board of Secondary Education of Assam (SEBA) is supposed to introduce commerce as an elective subject for classes 9th and 10th, and this small but great process of sowing seeds of entrepreneurship in the minds of youth can reduce the unemployment rate in the state.

Featured image provided by the author. 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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