A Candid Conversation with Jyoti Landge
By Piyusha V
Since 1967, Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) has provided skill-based training to citizens in rural India. They now have 304 centres across the country. In 2021, Haqdarshak partnered with JSS centres in Maharashtra and Rajasthan to provide support to JSS trainees to enrol for documentation, register for MSMEs, and submit applications for social protection schemes and loans.
In December 2021, I had the opportunity to interview the Director of JSS in Nashik, Jyoti Landge, who has been instrumental in developing a partnership with Haqdarshak. JSS Nashik has a particular focus on reaching out to women, and other minority groups, in the most remote areas around Nashik, and supporting their upskilling journey.
Over Jyoti’s 30+ year career, she has conducted numerous training programmes for farmers, young people, and women. Before JSS, she worked as State Skill Mission Officer 1 with the Maharashtra State Skill Development Society, Government of Maharashtra. During the partnership with Haqdarshak, Jyoti decided to work as a ‘Haqdarshak’ for 24 months, so she could develop a deeper understanding of the challenges women trainees face.
I sat down with Jyoti Landge to discuss the opportunities JSS creates for trainees, and how their collaboration with Haqdarshak supports their goals.
02/ The Conversation
What does a typical training programme at JSS look like?
We prioritise courses in areas that have market demand — so, we have courses in tailoring, beauty therapy, makeup, textile printing, bamboo handicraft-making, welding, and electrical repairs, among others. A course usually takes between 3 – 6 months, and has up to 20 trainees in a batch.
Our trainees are mostly married women and unemployed youth who could not complete their school education. At the end of a course, the trainees receive a Skill India Certification, which has widespread acceptance. Each course is also accredited by the National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC). Our curriculum is here.
How does the institute establish a connection with the local community?
We have a network of around 250 resource persons across 500 villages in 15 blocks. Our resource persons, usually locals, publicise course information within their communities. Then, we float courses based on local demand. Resource persons are also the ones conducting classes.
Every district’s JSS also has a parent body. For us [the JSS centre in Nashik], it is the Maratha Vidyaprasarak Samaj, which is connected to 489 academic institutions across Nashik. They provide us with infrastructural support and connect us with experts for our courses.
An awareness session organized on Birsa Munda Jayanti by JSS and Haqdarshak.
How do people receive your course offerings? Do you face any challenges in ensuring your courses reach those who need them the most?
Mobilising potential students has its challenges. Different concerns come up with different groups.
Upskilling women is our priority, but their older family members ask us, “inko zyada kyun padhaana hai (why do they need to be so educated)?”. To work with members of the transgender community, we first need to seek their Guru’s permission.
Our resource persons collect basic data from potential students such as their name, address, Aadhaar card number, income, and educational qualification. We use this data to gauge the demand for various courses. People are hesitant to share their Aadhaar details, but we need them to avoid people registering for more than one course per year.
We also organise events to generate interest among citizens and gain their trust. For example, in November 2021, we held an event on Birsa Munda Jayanti which was attended by 40 women from Barsinghwe. Along with competitions and prizes, Haqdarshak also provided free support to attendees for e-Shram registrations and Health Card applications. We don’t usually have the budget for food, but Haqdarshak helped us with that too. Such events go a long way in shaping positive perceptions.
How did the collaboration with HQ develop?
At JSS, we can train a woman to tailor, but cannot help her set up her own shop. We have large training targets, around 1,800 people annually. But what happens after the target is met?
I have seen our trainees get stuck after their training, because they don’t know who to approach for help to get an Udyam registration [required for MSMEs]. Many of our trainees are illiterate or semi-literate, and Community Service Centres (CSCs) do not always respond to their needs. We realised that our trainees need support even once the course ends.
Haqdarshak has been our helping hand in post-training. Our resource persons, and even I, have worked as ‘Haqdarshaks’ and fulfilled the documentation demands for Shop Act Licences, FSSAI, Udyam, and e-Shram registrations of our trainees.
What motivated you to train as a ‘Haqdarshak’ too?
During my field visits, I realised I had very little technical knowledge about the documentation process that I could share with our trainees. Our resource persons train as HDs, and as a leader, I felt the need to learn how to make documents too. Learning how to make the Shop Act, Udyam, and FSSAI licences, among others, allowed me to impart authentic information to trainees during fieldwork.
Have there been any unexpected outcomes of this collaboration?
Yes, there have been two valuable outcomes.
First, JSS does not have a system in place to follow up with its trainees post-training. When we have reached out to past trainees, we would have to call them individually, and ask about their documents, businesses, etc. But now, Haqdarshak has been maintaining records on trainee progress, and sharing them with us, as well as the District Coordinator of JSS. Even CSCs do not always share statistics on targets achieved. This has earned us a lot of praise at the national level from the Department of Adult Education in New Delhi.
Second, the success stories of our beneficiaries now talk not only about their Skill India Certification but also the documentation they have received. This adds value to their business and increases their confidence. We can also say that JSS now provides post-training support by mandatorily registering them for entrepreneurship documents. We have created 230+ MSME documents for trainees so far.
These two aspects have made our partnership with Haqdarshak special, as they have extended JSS’ activities to benefit its trainees.
What do you look forward to in the near future? Are there any areas or initiatives you wish to take up?
We plan to organise awareness campaigns about all the services Haqdarshak provides during every batch of skill training at JSS, Nashik. We also share WhatsApp messages in the trainee groups, to spread the word. I have been sharing our success with the directors of JSS across India so that they can also build an association with Haqdarshak.
Public-private partnerships between institutions that complement each other’s roles can go a long way in closing gaps in delivery, and ensuring citizens have smooth and timely access to benefits. If you are interested in collaborating with Haqdarshak, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.