MANAS – Skilling for sustainable livelihood

Published By

Dinesh Singh Bist
IPS Joint Secretary & CMB
NMDFC & founding Chairman,MANAS, Ministry of Minority Affairs

National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has a twin mandate of promoting Economic and other Developmental activities, for the benefit of marginalized sections of Minority Communities in the country. In two decades of its existence, the Corporation has pursued its Economic Mandate vigorously, by extending concessional credit to its target group, through a network of its State Channelising agencies (SCAs), which are mostly State Minorities Development & Finance Corporations, and other Government organisations, nominated by the respective State Governments. It has achieved significant results in terms of disbursement of concessional credit of Rs.2900 crores approx., to more than 10.50 Lac beneficiaries over the period of 20 years (average per capita financing of Rs.29,000/- approx.).

2. However, the Economic Mandate has been pursued in isolation of its Developmental Mandate which broadly includes vocational education and training, skill development/market support and other related activities, for the benefit of Minority Communities. Like its economic activities, the Developmental activities of the Corporation were also undertaken through its State Channelising Agencies (SCAs), since 1998 itself. It was done on piecemeal and disjointed manner, without actually aligning it with the credit disbursement activity of the Corporation. There has been no synergy in the strategy and operation of NMDFC with regard to attaining both the mandates, in a mutually and supportive manner. From the point of view of attaining its mandate of disbursement of Concessional Credit, NMDFC has been working like a Commercial Bank. It has used the network of its SCAs, to mobilize, identify and disburse Concessional Credit, to the beneficiaries, from the target group, on the basis of eligibility for loans. They have identified beneficiaries from the target group on the basis of their ability to meet the necessary conditions, for taking credit, without any consideration to their personal ability, capacity and understanding of the main business activity for which the loan is being taken. No systematic attempt was made to assess their entrepreneurial and technical capabilities which are a necessary pre-requisite for setting up/expanding and business enterprise. Since this was never done, consequently, there was no plan to first improve their entrepreneurial and technical skills and then link it to credit.

While the present operational strategies of the Corporation, has led to attainment of its economic mandate partially, it has failed to achieve its developmental mandate. At the same time, economic impact of its concessional credit too has also been very weak, due to lack of integration of Skills Training with credit infusion for the beneficiaries. Consequently, the socio-economic returns, on the concessional credit provided by the Corporation, under its economic mandate, has not been impressive & visible, at macro level. Collectively, both these factors have been mainly responsible for the limited outreach of this Corporations beneficial activities and a comparatively low profile, at National Level, amongst its target group.

3. In order to remove present functional & structural bottlenecks in the operations of the Corporation, it is necessary to realign the twin mandate of the Corporation and make them mutually co-hesive and supportive. This will ensure synergy in attainment of both the mandates leading to reinforcement of each other, in terms of their impact, on the socio-economic development of marginalized sections of minority communities. Under the new approach, the Corporation must give primacy to its Developmental Mandate, over its Economic Mandate, at the policy and planning stage at least. The developmental activity must get focused on Skilling for Sustainable Livelihoods, through training in Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Programmes (E&SDPs), specially designed for different sections of minority communities, in different parts of the country. It should be implemented on the basis of a well conceived Plan, based on surveys of local market conditions, Skill Gap Surveys, for minority dominated areas. It cannot be implemented in a disjointed and arbitrary manner at local level, without clear directions and focus. This in turn requires that NMDFC, must itself undertake developmental activities (Skill Training) focused on Sustainable Livelihoods through E&SDP and not delegate it to SCAs, due to its past experience. Therefore, Corporation must create a Special Vertical, from within its own existing resources, which can undertake this task, directly by creating a platform for delivery of entire range of market determined E&SDP to its targeted group of beneficiaries. Once this is done, only then financial dimension should be introduced, by providing concessional credit, to the largest possible section of the trainees, who have been provided with required E&SDPs. This will help them in setting up their own enterprises or upgrading their existing enterprises, through this integrated package of E&SDP followed by concessional credit. Under this strategy, the Corporation will achieve its financial mandate, by first achieving, its developmental mandate, and also make its concessional credit more effective “ in terms of income and employment generation. Based on these considerations, Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) was established by NMDFC (working under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs) on 11/11/2014 “ 125th Birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of India. It is a special vertical of NMDFC, working as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for meeting all skill up-gradation/development needs of Minority Communities. MANAS provides an all India level training framework based upon tie-ups with Local/National/International training organisations on PPP model, for imparting training to the Minority population in skill sets that are in line with emerging market demands. The training programme is aimed at providing meaningful and sustainable livelihood options in terms of self-employment/wage employment opportunities to all its trainees, with primary focus on self-employment.

MANAS, as a Special Vertical of NMDFC, has been designed on the basis of 2 decades of experience and core competencies of NMDFC, to service the need for concessional credit of the Minority communities of the country. NMDFC has a formidable network comprising of State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) and other partnering institutions which collectively provide a geographical coverage to 98.5% of the total minority population spread all over the country. It has experience in accessing the marginalised sections of the minority communities with the help of community/religious leaders and involvement of local community. Utilisation of this experience and expertise, makes MANAS a specialised institution, with core competency to access and network with six accessing of 6 notified minority communities, all over the country including the remotest corners of the country.

4. Through MANAS, NMDFC will strive to provide training in entrepreneurship including market determined skills training in various trades and vocations in order to provide them new skills, upgrade & up-skill old ones, to ensure an increase in the productivity & technological up-gradation of their self employment ventures/ business establishment. It is also notable that minority communities, especially Muslims are largely engaged in a family/household enterprises, having large component of disguised unemployment. They also have a tendency to generate employment for their own kin locally, once they are equipped with proper market determined entrepreneurial skills/technology and concessional credit. The Corporation, through Skill Development Programme of MANAS, will improve their entrepreneurial capability such as accounting, marketing etc. and their capacity to use latest innovations in technology, marketing, process / product documentation, its branding etc. leading to significant increase, not only in their own household incomes, but also in creating significant multiplier effect, in terms of employment and income, at local level. It will also make the impact of NMDFC credit, significant & visible to all.

5. Since the primary focus of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) is on Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Programmes (E&SDPs), list of potential beneficiaries for enrolment under E&SDP is accordingly further classified into the following categories, which are in the descending order of the priority :-

i) Those who are already self-employed (organizing/managing/operating) in some trade or enterprise and are willing to upskill/upgrade their own existing skills, for better productivity and management of their enterprise.

ii) Those who want to switch over from their existing trades/skills to a new ones due to market imperatives.

iii) Those who are willing to set up their own enterprises after taking required E&SDP from MANAS, preferably in the age group of 30+ having exhausted other avenues for livelihood like employment in Government/organized sector.

iv) Those who have already received EDPs training from various organizations like RUDSETTIS/RSETIs, NIESBUD, DIC of Industries Deptt. of various States etc. and are willing to undertake relevant skills training, and soft loans from NMDFC, to set up their own businesses/enterprises.

v) Those who are school dropout but after availing the training, are willing for self-employment failing which wage-employment.

vi) Others, with greater emphasis on women centric skills, for self-employment.

Therefore, the net outcome of E&SDPs of MANAS, has to be in terms of providing viable livelihoods, in terms of self-employment/wage-employment, for all trainees, with primary focus on self-employment, through linkages to Concessional Credit.

6. There are two channels to mobilize and identify potential beneficiaries from the target group:-

a. State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) and other agencies of NMDFC will continue to identify & mobilize potential beneficiaries for entrepreneurship and skills training through MANAS & then provide concessional credit to them,

b. Based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, MANAS, through its all India collaborative framework of NSDC partners, other empanelled agencies, Trade and Industry Bodies and their affiliates, will also identify and mobilize potential beneficiaries from the Minority Communities, in need of integrated package of Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) / Skill Development / Skill Up gradation & concessional credit for self employment. This will be done on the basis of local market survey, assessments and Skill Gap Analysis, to achieve at a correct mix of selection of trades/skills and beneficiaries, at local level.

7. All these operations will be supervised and monitored by Programme Management Unit (PMU), having technology based platform for NMDFC, which will integrate all ˜4 tiers i.e. (i) NMDFC at Apex Level, (ii) SCAs at State Level (iii) NGOs (if working) at regional level & (iv) individual beneficiaries who can apply online for skills training and then for obtaining concessional credit also.

8. The strategy for Skill Development, in different regions & different trades for different minorities, for promotion of self employment can be fine tuned on the basis of proposed Skill Gap analysis, to be conducted by MANAS in collaboration with NSDC. It will do the extensive mapping of the required skill sets, identified on the basis of existing and emerging market demands, across different regions with concentration of minority population and assess different types of skill sets which are existing and needed by the Minority Communities, all over the country. In this process, rare and traditional skills of Minority communities can also be identified for their preservation and promotion, under Hamari Dharohar/USTAAD Scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA).

9. Beneficiaries identified through both the channels will be provided required entrepreneurial and skills training by MANAS by using its All India Collaborative Framework, based primarily on the Skill Development Architecture of Ministry of Skills & Entrenreneurship, Government of India. It primarily uses NSDC, its partners, its own empanelled partners, Trade & Industry Bodies & their affiliates, other leading Govt./Semi-Govt. Agencies and reputed organizations in the field of Skill Development.

10. MANAS will tie up with RUDSETI/RSETI of Ministry of Rural Development and other Institutes organizing Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) in various States. It will also ensure that all its training providers mandatorily incorporate specialized EDPs, related to specific trades/skills, to train the beneficiaries to manage their enterprises professionally & utilize NMDFC credit efficiently. After independent, joint certification of skills training of the beneficiaries, MANAS will recommend them to NMDFC for providing them concessional finance on priority basis. NMDFC in turn will accordingly direct its SCAs to provide them concessional credit by treating them as a notified priority category. The loan amount earmarked for such beneficiaries, will be kept in ESCROW account, to ensure its prompt delivery, without any diversion by SCAs.

11. NMDFC will provide concessional credit in Regions, where no SCA is active, by involving alternate channels for credit delivery. It will also carry out Insurance of the Loanees as well as the loans (the full amount to be recovered). It will examine the possibility of hiring professional, Government, Semi Government Agencies & other NGOs, who specialize in recovery of micro finance loans from SHGs. The modalities for this arrangement would be worked out in consultation with NSDC, Banks, NBFCs, NABARD, SIDBI etc.

12. MANAS will organize its appropriately entrepreneurial and skilled beneficiaries into viable SHGs by providing them funds from NMDFC, though the channel of local Government agencies wherever possible. MANAS will setup Programme Management Unit (PMU) to promote Skill Gap Surveys, market research etc. for effective monitoring and supervision to ensure quality standards of training. It will also set up a Development Unit to identify, protect and promote skills / crafts & trades of Minorities by providing them Research, Marketing, branding & other supports.

13. Quantification of Target Group :As per the 2001 Census, the total population of Minorities in the country was 19.37 Cr. On the basis of the poverty estimates announced by the Planning Commission of India in 2011, on an average 21.90% of the overall population of the country lives under the poverty line.


Category 1993-94
(Percentage of the Total Population)
(Percentage of the Total Population)
(Percentage of the Total Population
Rural 37.3 28.3 25.70
Rural 32.4 25.7 13.70
Rural 36 27.5 21.90

Source Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India

As per the mandate of NMDFC, the persons having Annual family income equal to double the Poverty Line Income (Rs.81,000/- per Household p.a. in rural areas & Rs.1,03,000/- per Household p.a. in urban areas) were eligible for obtaining the concessional credit and support under developmental activities of NMDFC.

In order to quantify the target group for MANAS, few broad assumptions are being made (due to non-availability of the data for 2011 Census “ on minority communities and their income levels/poverty estimates etc.)

These assumptions are:

  1. Poverty estimates for minority communities are same as the poverty estimates for the total population, even though Sachhar Committee has established higher poverty levels for Muslims, than national average.
  2. Almost 40% population of minority community would falls under double the poverty line income limit (Rs.81,000/- per Household p.a. in rural areas & Rs.1,03,000/- per Household p.a. in urban areas)
  3. 80% of the minority population would be covered under the income limit of Rs.6.00 lacs p.a per Household as additional income criterion adopted by NMDFC recently, to identify its beneficiaries.


Religion Number %age BPL Population (21.90%) No. of Households
1 Muslims 138,188,240 71.33 30263225 6052645
2 Christians 24,080,016 12.43 5273524 1054705
3 Sikhs 19,215,730 9.92 4208245 841649
4 Buddhists 7,955,207 4.11 1742190 348438
5 Jains 4,225,053 2.18 925287 185057
6 Parsis 69,000 0.04 0 0

Total 193,733,246
42,412,470 8,482,494

Source : Religion, Census of India 2001, Census data 2011 yet to be announced

Based upon the average of double the poverty line figures (Rs.81,000/- p.a. in rural areas and Rs.1,03,000/- p.a. in urban areas) in 2011-12, the target group for NMDFC works out to 7.75 crores . Considering the average family size of 5, the number of minority population household works out to 1.55 crores. Over the last twenty years, NMDFC has assisted over 10.30 lakh households, which is 6.65% of its target population, a low achievement even in terms of number.

Further, the target group for the Corporation, has now substantially increased owing to the fact that NMDFC has introduced a higher income eligibility criteria of Rs.6.00 Lakh per household, per annum for identifying the beneficiaries. It is now estimated that under higher income (Rs.6.00 lacs p.a. per household) criterion of almost 80% of the minority population will be included in the target group for NMDFC i.e. 15.50 crores people will be a part of its target group. Assuming that only two-thirds (…”rd) of this target group falls within the working age groups (15 “ 60 years) of labour force, MANAS/NMMDFC will be targeting to providing integrated package of E&SDPs and concessional credit to approx. 10 crore people belonging to minority communities. Incidentally, this is almost 20% of the overall target of 50 crore people for skilling for the entire country by 2022, set up by Govt. of India.

14. Financing of the programme :“ Since the primary emphasis of MANAS is to promote skill development/up-gradation from the point of view of Sustainable Livelihood in terms of self-employment and establishing household enterprises by minority communities, the credit disbursement will now be a post training follow-up action, as a logical necessity. This approach will vastly enhance the socio-economic impact of NMDFC credit & realize its optimum social returns on cost free capital. It will improve Corporations finances as most of the trainees of MANAS are likely to fall in the 2nd Credit Line {Income eligibility limit Rs.6 lakh per annum per household} where rate of Interest charged is higher than the rate of interest charged for first credit line {Income eligibility limit – Rs.81,000/- per annum per household in rural areas and Rs.1,03,000/- per annum per household in urban areas). This will ensure greater returns to NMDFC / SCAs and it will in turn ensure greater capacity for them to recycle the credit volumes and upscale the training operations of MANAS, by integrating E&SDPs with concessional credit. The training cost of MANAS, for providing training in E&SDPs to this category of trainees, will be absorbed by NMDFC through the loan component, higher rate of interest earned on the loans extended to the beneficiaries and form Seekho-Kamao Scheme of MOMA. The quantum of loan amount has also been substantially hiked, both for Term loan and micro financing loan, by the Corporation, to make them viable.

However, many of the trainees, trained by MANAS, may not display entrepreneurial abilities or may not have necessary financial background, to avail NMDFC loans. Therefore, due to focus on Sustainable Livelihood outcome of the training, this category of such trainers of MANAS will have to be provided wage-employment. It is envisaged that the training cost of this component of trainees, who would be placed in wage-employment, may be covered by the Skill Development expenditure of various Ministries and Departments of Government of India, like Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment etc., from their quota of 15% funds earmarked for minority population. MANAS can seek reimbursement of its expenditure on this component of skills training, which leads to wage-employment, as a fallout from its overall E&SDP programme focused on Sustainable Livelihoods.

Most of the Ministries and Departments of Government of India are implementing their Skill Development/Upgradation Programmes, at All India Level through State Governments and other Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). 15% of the Budget, as well as the total number of beneficiaries, assisted under these programmes, have been earmarked for members of the minority communities. The information/data, based upon the individual beneficiary, district-wise/year-wise/trade-wise, belonging to minority communities is difficult to be obtained by the Ministries/Departments of Government of India, as they are dependent on the State Government and other Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs). The utilization of NMDFC/MANAS by these Ministries/Departments of Government of India, to act its Training agency, under their Skill Development Programme, will have the following advantages:

1. MANAS is a single platform for Skills Training at all India level, providing the entire range of skill development/upgradation programmes, required by different minority communities, all over the country, based upon the market demands. Therefore, it greatly enables the access of the minorities, to all the skill development initiative of Government of India, by making available a single and unified platform having all schemes at one place. It reduces time, effort & resources to be spent by the beneficiaries, in trying to search and then access multiple platforms, for different set of skills training under different programmes being provided by Government of India.

2. Since the mandate of MANAS/NMDFC is only to provide E&SDP to the marginalised sections of minorities all over the country, the routing of the programmes through MANAS, will ensure that the benefits of skill development reach the intended target group (15% earmarked for minority communities) as defined by the different Ministries & Departments.

3. Since MANAS is an organisation under the Ministry of Minority Affairs, it provides credibility and reliability, in implementation of the directions/guidelines/norms issued by various Ministries/Department for ensuring effective implementation of their skill development programmes. It operates on the basis of skill development architecture of Ministry of Skills on a standardized platform and procedures.

4. Since MANAS is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for acting as a collaborative framework for training, it has been able to set-up a credible and reliable Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) for monitoring/supervision framework which ensures :

a) Correct, accurate and detailed data for every trainee enrolled by MANAS on the on the 34 points SDMS pattern of NSDC, which is maintained on its data base and can be provided to the concerned Ministry in electronic form, ensuring authenticity of enrollment of trainees..

b) MANAS has evolved, appropriate technology based platforms, for receiving daily biometric attendance of trainers and trainees, as well as real time CCTV footage of the ongoing training programme, on its websites. The concerned Ministries/Departments can have access to these real time monitoring & supervision systems for ensuring reliability, credibility and quality of the training programme.

c) Certification by specialist agencies and MANAS jointly, to ensure credibility and quality assurance of the training by using temper-proof certificatesdeveloped in collaboration with NSDC.

d) Systematic tracking of trainees, in self-employment/employment ventures by tracking various parameters related to them like salary account, P.F. numbers etc.

From the above, it is clear that MANAS can be treated as State/PIA by different Ministries/Departments of Government of India, to achieve their mandate for the minority communities through MANAS.

15. MANAS has been established to meet all Skill Development/Up-gradation needs of minority communities which comprise almost 25% to 30% of the overall target group of 50 crore people to be skilled by 2022, by the country. Hence, its utility as a single window/platform for accessing all available programmes for entrepreneurship and skill development, being provided by all the stakeholders, becomes obvious for the achievement of the mission of skilling the country.


Copyright with founding Chairman,MANAS,Ministry of Minority Affairs
Dinesh Singh Bist