New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan today said that in the next three years, his ministry plans to support the skill development of over five lakh youths in sectors related to environment.

The total allocation for the Environmental Information Systems (ENVIS) in this year’s budget was Rs 24 crore, an increase of 33 per cent from 2017-18. From this, training courses under the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) will also be funded, he said.

This will be apart from the regular functions of the ENVIS Centres in the country.

“An estimated 80,000 people under various skilling courses will be trained and motivated in 2018-19,” he told reporters, adding that skill development will be one of the major initiatives of his ministry this year.

The GSDP is a recent initiative under the ENVIS scheme for skilling the youth of the country.

He said that while in 2018-19 an estimated 80,000 candidates will be trained, in 2019-20 around 1.60 lakh youths would undergo training.

Similarly, in 2020-21, there are plans to train 3.20 lakh youths and the total target for the three years is to train around 5.60 lakh youths.

“This is one of the major initiatives. For this, a total budget of Rs 24 crore has been kept this year which is an increase of 33 per cent from last year when the budgetary allocation was Rs 16 crore,” Vardhan said.

Environment secretary C K Mishra said that those skill sets will be taken up which are in demand and the aspect of employability will be kept in mind.

He said that skilling will be done for waste handling, plantation, biodiversity conservation, and effluent treatment plants (ETP) and air pollution control equipment operations among others.

Mishra said that around 57 ENVIS centres all over the country have geared up for this.

The first GSDP course was formulated for skilling biodiversity conservationists (basic course) and para- taxonomists (advance course) of three months duration each, on a pilot basis in 10 select districts of the country (covering nine bio-geographic regions).

The Environment minister launched the GSDP and released the training course modules on June 4, 2017, on the eve of World Environment Day.

Under the pilot scheme of GSDP, 94 trainees successfully completed the basic course qualifying as skilled biodiversity conservationists and 154 students are enrolled for the advance course on para-taxonomy, which is expected to conclude in March, 2018.

With the success of the pilot, the scope of the programme is being extended to an all-India level.

It would cover other green skills, with identification of 35 such courses including pollution monitoring (air, water, noise and soil), ETP operation, waste management, forest management, water budgeting and auditing, conservation of river dolphins and wildlife management among others.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.