The 13th Edition of Meet at Agra, the International Leather, Footwear Components and Technology event was held from 8th to 10th November at Agra Trade Center. The Fair was inaugurated by Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India. On this occasion, LSSC conducted RPL Certificate Distribution Ceremony and launched Mochi Swabhimaan for the Agra cluster.
Shri P R Aqeel Ahmed, Chairman CLE & LSSC, appreciated the efforts from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and expressed his gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister for placing skills high on agenda. He also conveyed the criticality of skilling the youth to make them employable and how the leather industry is able to contribute to this cause. Addressing the huge presence of people from leather, leather products and footwear industry in the country at the event, he shared the urgency of skilling youth in India, and invited the industry to implement Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Shri P R Aqeel Ahmed, thanked Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India for showing keen interest in the leather sector and participating in the previous RPL certification ceremony held in Chennai on 22nd September 2019, where in 1500 trainees received their certificates. The RPL Certification event in Agra, held as a part of “Meet at Agra” was the second event to formally recognize the skills and knowledge of leather workforce and certify them through RPL assessments.
The event also saw the launch of Mochi Swabhimaan in the presence of Shri Kapil Dev Aggarwal, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Vocational Education, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh. Shri Anil Agarwal, Joint Secretary, DPIIT, Government of India, informed that the government has provided a special package of Rs. 2600 crores to promote the leather sector, out of which Rs. 696 crores has been earmarked for skill development.
Shri Puran Dawar, Regional Chairman (North), CLE & President, AFMEC, emphasized the need to collaborate and work collectively to capture the global markets. He reiterated the importance of Agra in the leather exports with the Agra Footwear Cluster making a direct exports footwear worth Rs.3378 crores during the year 2018-19. It caters to 65% of domestic consumption and 28% of total footwear exports, involving one-fourth of the population of Agra directly or indirectly. Hence, the Agra Fair acquired a special place as it provided international information on latest manufacturing technologies, emerging design trends, eco-friendly production and access to new markets.
Certificate distribution for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL certification under PMKVY recognizes the skills and knowledge acquired informally, and assesses them as per National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) levels. Besides formalizing the workforce, the RPL certification will help in mobilizing industry-ready workforce, particularly women, who form a large part of the leather sector.
LSSC organized a certification program under RPL – Best in Class Employers scheme in the Agra cluster and distributed certificates to the candidates trained under the HRD sub-scheme of the IFLADP scheme during the event.
While distributing the certificates to the RPL trainees, Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey brought out the historical significance of the leather cluster in Agra and said how it has been a key player in the Indian economy. He said that through the leather sector, we are able to showcase our skills and craft globally, receiving world-wide recognition. This has also increased the competition for skilled workforce that can meet international quality and hence, initiatives like RPL are highly crucial.
Distribution of Mochi Swabhimaan Tool kits
Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey launched the Mochi Swabhimaan initiative in Agra by giving away the first tool kit to the self-employed ‘mochis’ (cobblers). Shri P R Aqeel Ahmed distributed 10 sponsored tool kits and informed the recipients about how they can make use of it to improve their income and increase productivity. The kits were sponsored by Florence Shoe Company, AFMEC and CFTI, Agra. LSSC will play a seminal role in implementing Mochi Swabhimaan by seeking support from the industry through their CSR funds. This will help in empowering the cobblers with a better working environment through organized tool kit and umbrella set up. The mochis were given a demonstration of the tool kits through a mobile workshop.