How did you come up with the idea for the PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI) and Gurukul?

Our idea behind PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI) came with a vision that if an IIT’an can get a loan for his IIT education then why the poorest of the poor can’t get a loan to earn his livelihood. At PARFI our aim is to become the largest social enterprise in the country contributing to creating a level playing field for Below-Poverty-Line students who are unskilled and typically have not passed the upper cut-off of class X. Our mission is to implement and scale self-sustainable models that enhance incomes of the underprivileged youth by imparting skills through training in a residential setup model and help get them to get placed in reputed company. This helps us to make the youth industry-ready, thus creating employment.

Take us through the skill training centres of PARFI spread across the country.

PARFI has so far been actively working with the Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu governments. After their success, the foundation is now in talks with other state governments as well and is looking to explore possibilities in the agriculture sector in states like Punjab, UP, and Haryana. In Jharkhand alone, PARFI has set up Gurukul across various locations including Gumla, Jamshedpur, Bundu, East and West Singhbum, Simdega, Koderma, Saraikela, Dumka, and Palamu. Till date, we have successfully trained over 8000 youth who are placed in various sectors including construction and manufacturing industries, among others. Recently we have announced the launch of “Kalyan Gurukul”, a multi-trade skill development centre, in Hazaribagh, to facilitate skilling and increase opportunities for employment for the economically backward youth.

Do you assist in placements also?

At PARFI we first contact an organization to ensure 100% placements. Later NABARD refinances loans to local NGO networks that source candidates from the weaker section of the society and disburses loans for enrolment into Gurukul. Post training, the candidates join the employer the already sourced placement opportunity in advance on an India or abroad basis. After joining the organisation, candidates pay a nominal monthly EMI through standard deductions from their monthly salary. This cycle creates a revolving fund for training newer candidates. So our placements are already 100% sourced from the companies before we begin our journey of training candidates.

Share your thoughts on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India program.

PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI) is already aligned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India program. Our foundation is getting an immense push from the ongoing national campaign for skilling and developing a huge employable manpower base. We are trying to address key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure, trainers, etc.

In your opinion, what are the steps that are imperative to bridge the gap between demand and supply of employable youth?

To address the skill gap of the employable youth, the government or the private players need to encompass all the stakeholders in the process and ensure collaboration between them which is backed by sound policy decisions on labour laws and policy alignment between the various ministries. Hence, we believe that skilling is the joint responsibility of both private and public sector and each should leverage their expertise to come together and create a holistic skill environment for the country’s youth.

Giving up lucrative corporate careers to pursue nation-building on a full-time basis, you all have been truly inspirational. What would you suggest to budding entrepreneurs?

People who join PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI) want to use their careers to have a positive influence on society and contribute towards creating a better world. My advice to budding entrepreneurs in the skill development sector is that they should think of themselves as Social Entrepreneurs who are here to enable positive social change through innovative and effective business models which tackle social issues and contribute to sustainable development.

 

Mr. Hari Padmanabhan, Chairman, PanIIT Alumni Reach for India Foundation (PARFI)

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