Livelihood Initiatives in North Bastar, Kanker, Chattisgarh

I priyanka Yadav, PMRDF- kanker, chattisgarh , have been largely involved in skill development and livelihood activities in my district. Following are some of the major developments which have taken place in the last 1.5 years, in the field of livelihood and skill development

The district of Kanker has taken Many Initiative in Skilling of youth leading to better livelihood opportunities for them.

The two Initiatives namely Rural BPO and Livelihood College stand out among all others for their uniqueness and novelty factor.

Rural BPO/ Call Centre

 As the name signifies a rural BPO is Business Processing outsourcing centre which is functional in a rural area like kanker. This is similar to the BPOs/ call centers operated from the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai in all its operations.

In this model Business (Both Voice and Non Voice) are being outsourced to this centre and operations are being dealt here. A typical example of the work here is the outsourcing of the Customer care centre operations of companies like Airtel, Idea etc in Chhattisgarh to this centre. Thus people sitting in kanker are  able to reply to the client of any of these organizations from any part of the chattisgarh or the entire nation for that matter.

Zila Panchayat Kanker Has partnered with Rural Shores, a Bangalore based organization that has pioneered in the area of setting up Rural BPOs around the country.

The BPO is operational since August 2013 .


The objectives of the Rural BPO

  •  Employment for 200 Youth: Rural BPO will provide employment to around 200 people in various capacities in its full operation. At present 40 people are working in Rural BPO
  •  Skill Enhancement of youth: Rural BPO will upgrade the Skill set of the Youth of Kanker and make them more employable
  •  Reducing Migration: It will reduce levels of migration of rural youth to cities for better opportunities.
  •  Creating Employment opportunities for Women: It will create alternative means of employment for the women  who are not able to go outside in search of employment 

The Rural BPO is an attempt to create alternative means of livelihood for the rural youth of Kanker, thereby channelizing their vast energy towards positive and constructive avenues.

Here is the news paper coverage of the initiative


Utkarsh Skill development centre  – Kanker

The district of Kanker is one of the LWE affected; four of its blocks namely Bhanupratappur, Antagarh, Koylibeda and Durgukondal are highly LWE affected areas.  Growing unemployment in this area is resulting in youth getting attracted towards naxalism. There is a great need to divert youth from such anti National activity by engaging them constructively in nation building.

Keeping in line with the national mission on skill development, Kanker is also focusing on its young population.

 Utkarsh Skill Development Centre  

 Utkarsh Skill development centre  is functioning as a centre for training exclusively for MES (Modular employability skills) courses Under MukhyaMantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna  and skill development initiative scheme( SDIS)

It is a skill development centre for a wide range of skills.  To begin with, it will impart skills in the area of ICT, Fashion technology and Electrical Repair along with Personality development with a focus on soft skills development.



Originally 100 students were selected for a module of MES courses for the duration spanning 5 months in ICT and commerce.

Along with the regular students part time MES courses are being run in the morning and evening batches.  The total number of student trained in MES courses was 550 in the year 2013- 2014.

USP of the Utkarsh Skill development centre 

Placement linked training: Utkarsh Skill development centre has partnered with Pratibha syntax Pvt. Limited – an Indore based leading organization in Garment Making. The organization will provide customized training to the youth and give them 100% placement in Pratibha Syntex Pvt. Ltd.

Also Shiza Foundation has partnered to impart placement linked training in information technology, soft skills and Bussiness and commerce, they have designed a specific five month module taking different courses from the above sectors

Focal Center for skill development under Mukhya mantra Kaushal Vikas Yojna( MMKVY): The centre is  a focal point for providing training Under MMKVY and SDIS Using NCVT approved MES courses and modules. Other Governmental Trainings are also being imparted through this centre.

Career and Guidance centre: The centre functions as a career and guidance centre for youth across the district, they are provided guidance by the staff about various career opportunities.

The centre aims at providing standardized and quality training to the youth of kanker leading to better employment opportunities.

Since its beginning in August 2013, Utkarsh Skill development centre has provided employment to 80 youth, both men and women in the field of garment, IT and Business & commerce.


Priyanka Yadav, PMRDF Kanker, Chattisgarh 




The Uprising of the Silent Women!

Priyanka Yadav, PMRDF- Kanker, Chattisgarh 

It was a usual slow and lazy afternoon in one of the  small block of North Bastar kanker- Narharpur .

This day of January 1, 2014, finally turned out to be the most eventful  day in my life, for the event that followed. I am narrating a small incidence which might be trivial for some but for me that was a live social revolution taking place! Something I can never forget in this lifetime

We had organized a workshop on livelihood opportunities for Self Help Groups (SHGs). We invited all the stakeholders there; the participants included different govt. departments and the banks as well.

Much to my surprise and prior experience in other blocks, around 600 women SHG members from 28 Village organizations formed under NRLM  turned up for the event. Fortunately all the bank mangers of the blocks were present, as the CEO zila panchyat was also expected in the event. There were many problems with the bankers in the block and women had complained to me regarding the same during my regular field visits earlier. SHGs complaint of improper and rude behavior by the bank staff specially the field officers, unnecessary delays and formalities in account opening, withdrawal and passbook updation etc. The NRLM loan to SHG was a task to be achieved! We tried to solve these issues earlier on different platforms but the manifestation of the same was invisible on the field.


After all the discussion on livelihood opportunities by departments was over, I invited bankers to the forum. I chanced upon the occasion to be a good platform to confront the errant bank officials in public.  I made it a direct face to face interaction between the women and the bankers.

We asked bankers one by one to Introduce themselves and present their work and schemes etc. In the end I started asking the women about what issues are they facing with the bankers? Initially they were hesitant to say anything against “the Shahibs”, but when coaxed further they started with their long list of grievances. The complaints escalated into angry accusations and chaos! The bankers obviously had no answers to the genuine questions posed by the women; it was more of their attitudinal issues rather than systemic issues. The bankers (not all, some of the errant  ones) had no place to escape!!

Fortunately when the time was ripe, Mr. Bhim singh, CEO Zila panchyat( IAS) arrived in the hall and was surprised to see the situation. We explained to him why women were angry and why bankers were hiding! He was apprised of these issues earlier as well and he was himself angry on the bankers for repeatedly engaging in such behavior.


He listened to the women carefully and when he was convinced that the bankers were at odds with the public, he supported the women and said that he himself will sit on a protest outside each bank if the banks did not amend their ways! This got a thunderous applause from the women and they were assured that their complaints will be taken care of.

At this point of time, the regional office staff and the lead bank manger interjected and assured strict action against the errant bank staff at the block.

Now things are moving rather smoothly in the block and bankers are aware of the power of the Tribal, illiterate rural women!

This is the power of silent women, I smiled to myself!


[Priyanka Yadav is a fellow at District of Kanker in Chattisgarh. She is focussing on livelihood and skill building related programs and initiatives.]