WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2015 – The World Bank today approved a US$ 50 million credit for the Nai Manzil: Education and Skills Training for Minorities Project to help school drop-outs from minority communities complete their education and gain from market-driven training programs with the aim of integrating them into employment mainstream.
The project will support the Government of India’s national Nai Manzil (New Horizon) Scheme, a comprehensive education and skills development program for youth from minority communities, launched in August this year. The project will reach out to disadvantaged youth from minority communities and support their enrolment in open schooling, as well as provide hands-on vocational training to help them access suitable jobs. It will also provide post-placement support to assist sustainable employment for those students who opt to enter the labor market. Together, these interventions will aim to improve the employability and performance of minority youth in the labor market. The project will also strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) for project implementation, planning and policy development.
“India’s famed demographic dividend can be harnessed only if all young people from all sections of society can be equipped with the education and skills needed to make them productive members of the economy,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director for India. “This project reflects the government’s intent to give a second chance to youth from minority communities to acquire the education and training that they might have missed out on. We hope it will improve the employability and earning capacity of youth, particularly that of women, in these communities.”
Around 18 percent of the youth in India (i.e. those between 17 and 35 years of age) belong to minority communities. Today, 20 percent of these young people from minority groups are out of the labor force, which is higher than their representative share in the population. While youth in India have increased the number of years spent in the formal education system, youth from certain minority communities with lower levels of education are more likely to be unemployed. According to the National Sample Survey 2011-2012, Muslim youth for instance have the lowest labor market outcomes. They earn 25-30 percent lower wages, are 50 percent less likely to be engaged in the formal sector and have higher rates of unemployment.
A recent World Bank study of select programs in five states of India found a seven percent point increase in the employment rates of skills trained beneficiaries with a stronger effect for women than for men and a 21 percent increase in their wages. However, it also found that while skills training programs are important, education continues to shape employment outcomes and long-term productivity of the youth. Youth with primary education or lower receive 12 percent lower wages than those with secondary education, the study found.
“The objective is to prepare these youth to either re-join formal education or enter the labor market with better employment prospects. The project will also incentivize the education and training providers to provide placement support to these students, and track them for a certain period after they have completed the study or training program,” said Muna Salih Meky, Senior Education Specialist, World Bank and John D. Blomquist, India Program Leader, Inclusion and the World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the project.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – the credit is on IDA terms with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.
 Notified minorities in India comprise of the following groups – Muslims. Parsees, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Sikhs.