The Consulate General of Japan, Masayuki Taga, has stressed on skill development projects and vocational training as very important for a person, his/her family, the community and the country as a whole.

“In order to do anything, one requires skills, and without skills, no one can work on anything,” Mr Taga said as he inspected the construction of a Vocational Training, Information, and Counselling Centre at Upper Cart Road on the outskirts of Kalimpong town.

The centre is being built by the Hill Social Welfare Society with Rs 51,85,000 given by Japan under the country’s ‘Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects.’

The Hill Social Welfare Society (HSWS) is working for the welfare of marginalised communities since the year 2000 in Kalimpong by organising various kinds of vocational training for distressed/ deserted women so that they can generate better income.

“I like this,” said Mr Taga, as he checked flowers in pots on the office premises of the HSWS at Primtam Road, and added, “Floriculture is useful for people when it comes to creating jobs.”

“This is also good for the overall attraction of a place,” he said, even as he expressed hope that the Society would help the poor people in Kalimpong by providing them with trainings on floriculture.

On Japan’s grant assistance programme, the visiting official said funds under the ‘Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects’ are granted to organisations after they apply for it.

“We check the papers of the organisation and do the screening later. We check the overall eligibility, then communicate with the organization before we go for inspection,” Mr Taga said.

“We select NGOs on the basis of their needs and various other aspects. I expect the Hill Social Welfare Society to fully utilise the funds for the training centre and most importantly, fully utilise the centre which will be completed soon,” he added.

When reminded that the employment scene in the Hills is not very good as compared to other parts of India, he said things are getting better and that the unemployment scene is gradually improving.

“Moreover, with skill development projects like the one taken up by the HSWS, the youths here can do much better,” he said.