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India offers online employment services during COVID-19

The Ministry of Labour and Employment, under its National Career Service (NCS) project, has started offering free online career skills training for its registered jobseekers.

This course on soft skills assists the learners in areas like personality development with modules on corporate etiquette, improving interpersonal skills, making impactful presentations, and other necessary skills demanded by the industry today, a press release has stated.

The training module is available in Hindi and English on the NCS portal.

The Ministry is implementing the NCS Project as a national employment service to provide a variety of employment-related services like job search, job matching, career counselling, vocational guidance, information on skill development courses, apprenticeship, and internships through an online portal.

There are around 10 million active job seekers and 54,000 active employers registered on NCS. Around 7.3 million vacancies have been mobilised through the portal so far. Around 1,000 employment exchanges including 200 model career centres across the country are integrated with NCS.

NCS has also taken a number of other initiatives to mitigate the challenges in the labour market due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown of the economy.

The release also added that online job fairs are being organised to bridge the gap between job aspirants and employers where the complete process, from job posting to the selection of a candidate, can be completed on the portal.

Around 76 online job fairs have been conducted by NCS during the lockdown period.

A special link for work-from-home jobs and online training has been created on the NCS portal home page.

NCS also offers the functionality of creating a video profile for applicants in partnership with HIREMEE, a platform which provides online assessment and hiring services. Jobseekers can showcase their ability to recruiters using short video clips. All the services on NCS are free.

The services come at a crucial time, as 67% of workers lost employment during the ongoing lockdown. According to a survey, urban India posted a loss in employment for 8 in 10 workers and almost 6 in 10 workers in rural areas.

The survey was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (Pune), Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, and West Bengal to gauge the impact of the lockdown on employment, livelihoods, and access to government relief schemes.

For instance, the Uttar Pradesh government will be signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with various industrial organisations, to provide for employment to over 900,000 migrant workers in the state.

The average weekly earnings for non-agricultural self-employed workers who were still employed fell by over 90%. For casual workers who were still employed, the average weekly earnings almost halved. 51% of all salaried workers saw either a cut in their salary or received no salary, the survey noted.

NCS is a mission mode project launched by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for establishing quick and efficient career-related services across the country, by revamping the existing nation-wide set-up of employment exchanges into IT-enabled career centres.

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