Bengaluru: The Karnataka social welfare department on Tuesday officially launched ‘Samruddhi", a programme that partners at least 30 private companies for skill development of youngsters from economically and socially backward sections. The new scheme aims to streamline grants given by the social welfare department to eligible beneficiaries and link them with industry to track the progress of such programmes, bring in transparency to distribution of funds, and avoid misuse.

The department has set aside about 20% of its budget or about 800 crore, to create about 10,000 entrepreneurs that could help the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) coalition government achieve its ambitious target of creating 10 million jobs in the next five years.

Mint reported the developments on 9 July.

“The entrepreneurship potential in our villages and small towns is huge, and our youth from traditionally oppressed communities only lack access and support. We hope to give our young citizens the access to success they need and thus economically empower them," said Priyank Kharge, the minister for social welfare, in a statement.

He said that though the government had data on the beneficiaries of similar grants in the past, there was no machinery to track the progress or utilization of these funds.

The department signed agreements with corporate houses like Bata, Paragon, Khadims, Ola, Big Basket and Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) among several others which would help skill the beneficiaries and invest up to 10% or more to help them set up shop across the state.

Beneficiaries can choose from about 200 specific skill sets and be trained by the private company.

The emphasis on socially backward sections by the coalition government coming at a time when the Congress is trying to win the backing of the community ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, where the two parties have joined hands to take on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Having fallen out of favour with the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the two largest communities in the state, a scheme specifically targeting socially backward sections could potentially bring back some of its eroding core support base.

Kharge said that grants of up to 10 lakhs would be given to deserving youth after successful completion of training. The government hopes the private company will provide the brand, training and design, and the department will help beneficiaries set up outlets, providing new markets for the former and better incomes for the latter.

“We have agreed to train about 40-50 people this year," said Niti Agarwal, a director in Black Orchids Pvt Ltd promoted Rollacosta, a food-based startup which has a presence in 15 cities across the country.

The Samruddhi scheme follows the Unnati and Airavata schemes which also targeted socially marginalised communities and helped provide them skill development and alternate means of employment.

Kharge said the scheme would open for beneficiaries later this month and he hoped that the first such outlets would be up and running by the end of the year.

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