Tata Affirmative Action Programme (TAAP) in Manipur

The state of Manipur has a high rate of unemployment, and according to official reports, there are 7,01,987 educated youth seeking employment. This figure represents 26% of the total population of the state which is alarming. The state has thousands of youth graduating every year who continue to seek the (elusive) government jobs which are unable to absorb the educated youth. Lack of avenues in government sector have led to many youth migrate and many struggle to find employment in the private sector which is largely industry based. Even with graduate degree as qualification, these youth fail to match the required industry demanded skills (attributing to out-of-date course curriculum and less exposure to industry) thereby categorising them as untrained and unskilled and therefore rendering them underemployed or unemployed.

Keeping this in consideration, Tata Consultancy Services (also popularly known as TCS, one of the leading IT companies in India) initiated the Tata Affirmative Action Programme (TAAP). The programme is a training-cum-employability program targeting mostly graduate unemployed youth from the underprivileged sections of the society. This programme emphasises upon bridging the gap between unskilled youth (who are educated and unemployed) and the ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) industry requirements by offering a 14 weeks (3 months) residential training program. The programme aims to provide the trainees with essential industry demanded skills and basic life skills so that they become job ready after the training with successful trainees getting placed in the TCS-BPS itself.

With the focus to impart training to 5000 youths of Manipur by 2020, TAAP will conduct a pilot programme which will train 100 candidates (in successive batches of 25) in the first year (2015-16). However, owing to lack of adequate infrastructure and frequent public strikes in the state, the first 100 candidate will be trained at Kolkata (3 months residential).

What make this programme special and different from other usual training courses offered is the direct involvement of the industry in skilling the candidates. This employability training programme is strongly pitched as a long term loan and linkage support programme in order to make it sustainable. A small percentage of cost will be charged to the students towards their travel, boarding and lodging facilities.

Depending on the response and success of the programme and to target more candidates, TAAP will be conducted in Manipur from the second year onwards. And in order to make the programme participative and multi-stake, TAAP will seek to partner with the state government departments, local bodies, NGOs, training partners in the next four years. Finally, keeping in line with the ambitious Manipur IT Policy 2015, TAAP envisages contribution to a promising outcome in terms of good performance and staff retention from the first year pilot which may also lead to increase in the number of intake of trainees from the state itself.

The TAAP programme is implemented by the Centre for Microfinance and Livelihood (CML), Guwahati in partnership with Tata Trusts, Mumbai.