Green Skill and Entrepreneurship Development


Green skills are technical skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes needed in a workforce to support a sustainable society, economy, and environment. Promoted by Government of India’s Green Skills Development Program, they can help fulfil the commitments made at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and help achieve the National Biodiversity Targets while complying with the 2016 Waste Management Rules. Census 2011 shows that 84% of Odisha’s households live in rural areas, with agriculture and allied activities as the main source of their livelihood. Consequently, agriculture (and allied activities including animal husbandry) is the primary sector of the State economy with 60% of Odisha’s residents relying on it for survival. This primary sector offers the most potential for generating green-skills-based employment followed by forestry and fishing, energy, services, and construction sectors.

However, Odisha has been seeing a shift from the agrarian sector with a noticeable fall in the number of farmers. This is accompanied by a reduced share of agriculture in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), from 62 % in 1950 to 20 % in 2017. Workers are leaving the primary sector due to reasons such as inadequate irrigation, lack of proper skills, impact of climate extremes, low market price for produce, and inadequate financial support. It is worth noting that wages for workers in the primary sector in Odisha aged 15–34 are 36% lower than the national average; 33 % rural households survive on less than Rs. 166 a day; 9 % rural workers are unemployed and 4 % do not have access to any income.

Not surprisingly, migration from rural Odisha to other states has risen three-fold in 10 years, from 55,000 in 2007 to 1.5 lakh in 2015. Migration for work is a good thing, so long as it is an informed choice, not a necessity. A CYSD-FVTRS study in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand however reveals that even after finding urban jobs, most rural workers return home in a few months, indicating that the change of place is driven by distress and not by preference. Hence, creating decent green-skills-based employment, especially in agriculture, locally, is an ideal strategy for sustainable growth.

Discussion Points:

  • What are the challenges and opportunities, in rural Odisha, to develop green skills in primary sector?
  • Which best practices can we adapt to ensure localized and integrated jobs?
  • How can more jobs be created for the State’s tribal workforce? What can be done to make their specific skills and competencies more employment-relevant?
  • What are the opportunities, especially in terms of existing schemes and policies, for skill and entrepreneurship development in rural Odisha?
  • How can work related migration be made a choice-driven phenomenon instead of being a compulsion-driven that currently it is?
  • How can green skills be used to provide employment to workers-with-disabilities?