The government on Wednesday said it has launched a new initiative 'SWADES' to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the Indian citizens returning from overseas under the 'Vande Bharat Mission'.
SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) is aimed at making the best of skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic.
"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 skill-sets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies," an official statement said.
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.
Commenting on the collaboration, 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."
He said 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," the statement said.
It said 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.
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 has been created to gather required details of the returning citizens. The form contains the details such as details related to the work sector, job title, 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 May 30, 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," the statement said.
As per the skill mapping, these citizens had been primarily employed in sectors such as oil and gas, construction, tourism and 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, said the official statement.