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Explainer: What is the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) ?

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The Government of India launched National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) in 2013. What is the mission about? What are its features? Here is an explainer.

As indicated by various agencies, India has a significant advantage of the growing economies because of the demographic dividend. To serve the dual purposes of generating employment and meeting skilled labour shortage, the Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) in 2013.  Through this mission, opportunities are provided to the youth to gain practical job training which will help in developing skills, thereby increasing their employability.

The objective of the mission as per official notification is as follows;

To offer on the job practical training to enhance employability of a person either pursuing his or her Post Graduation/graduation/diploma in any technical or non-technical stream or has discontinued studies after Class 10th to enhance his/her employability.’

In other words, NEEM is an apprenticeship program which helps those enrolled in educational institutes gain first-hand experience of working in an industrial set-up.

The mission is being implemented through the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulatory agency for technical & management education in the country.

Who is a NEEM facilitator?

 A NEEM Facilitator is a medium between the company and students. The company/industry and the facilitators sign an MoU. The facilitator offers skill development programs to the students as per the company’s requirements. Based on the performance, the employer may or may not hire the candidates. The mission does not guarantee employment and no grant is provided to the facilitator.

Any society or trust or company which is registered under Section 25 of Companies Act 2013 is eligible to apply for registration as facilitator. The company should have been in the field of business training for at least five years. Capacity to place students in registered companies and annual turnover in the previous three financial years as given below is an important criterion for any organization to become a NEEM facilitator.

Turnover (in ₹ Crores) per year for the previous three financial yearsTraining Capacity Per Year
25 and above5000
15 - 253000
5 - 151000

If the organization meets the above-mentioned criteria, the company or society can register with AICTE and become an approved facilitator. At the time of registration, a fee of ₹ 5,000 is to be paid along with a processing fee of ₹ 50,000. If any member of the company/trust is facing a criminal investigation by police, the company will not be eligible to apply.

The registration is valid for three years from the date of issue. After three years, the performance of the facilitator is reviewed. However, fresh registration as NEEM facilitators is currently on hold.

Who are eligible to be enrolled as a Trainee?

NEEM Trainee is a student or any person who has registered themselves under NEEM. They should have a minimum education up to Class X and between 16 to 40 years of age. The facilitators must pay trainees a stipend on par with the minimum wages fixed for unskilled category. The enrolled trainees should be supervised by the facilitator. Their working hours leaves, and holidays should be as per the company’s policy. AICTE will issue certificates to the trainees on successful completion of the training. Monthly reports and attendance should be uploaded by the company in the AICTE portal. 

The list of industry trades in which trainees can be enrolled is also provided in the NEEM regulations issued in 2017. These trades range from automobile industry, pharmaceuticals to food processing and financial sector. A total of 23 industries have been listed in the notification. Their details are below.

National Employability Enhancement Mission_designated trades

The training under NEEM should be for a minimum period of 3 months and can last as long as 3 years. The training must be compliant with National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF). This framework organises all qualifications in ten levels on the basis of knowledge, skill and aptitude.

What is the status of implementation?

A total of 43 facilitators across twelve states have been approved by the AICTE as on date. More than 4 Lakh trainees have enrolled under NEEM in these twelve states. The maximum number of trainees and facilitators are in Maharashtra followed by Karnataka. Maharashtra accounted for 56% of the total number of trainees and 44% of the facilitators approved as per a Lok Sabha answer in November 2019.

As per the same answer in the Lok Sabha, 21 NEEM facilitators were regularized, and 2574 trainees were placed in their trainee company after completing their training under the NEEM.

The mission is similar to the apprenticeship since trainees get a platform to work and earn while learning. Undergoing such practical training will help the trainees to be in a better position than those who only come with theoretical knowledge.

However, the uneven number of facilitators & trainees across states indicates that the mission was not promoted adequately. Also, no other data than the broad numbers is available in the public domain for anyone to objectively analyse the mission. Since the mission allows for the trainees to be engaged for up to three years, there is a possibility of the trainees being exploited since they provide low-cost source of labour for the company.

Featured Image: National Employability Enhancement Mission

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