SANKALP: An opportunity for pharma MSMEs to get workforce trained on GMP
Govt has recently approved the financial assistance for 7,500 workmen employed with pharma MSMEs to re-skill/upskill on 360 degree aspects of good manufacturing practice (GMP)
SANKALP, a programme of the Ministry of Skill Development with loan assistance from the World Bank, is aiming to improve short-term skill training qualitatively and quantitatively through strengthening institutions, bringing in better market connectivity and inclusion of marginalised sections of the society
Under its Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) project, the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has recently approved the financial assistance for MSME pharma units to get their manufacturing workforce trained on good manufacturing practice (GMP). SANKALP, a programme of the Ministry of Skill Development with loan assistance from the World Bank, is aiming to improve short term skill training qualitatively and quantitatively through strengthening institutions, bringing in better market connectivity and inclusion of marginalised sections of the society. The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry has approved the financial assistance for 7500 employees and workmen employed with MSME companies in pharma clusters pan India to re-skill/ upskill on 360 Degree aspects of GMP. Nominated employees can therefore avail of these online upskilling modules, fully funded by the government.
SANKALP was launched on January 19, 2018 and will be in force till March 2023. There are three programs offered under the SANKALP Project for re-skilling and upskilling of MSME workforce in the life sciences sector. These include 360 Degree GMP for production machine operators, 360 Degree GMP for manufacturing assistants and 360 Degree GMP for packaging assistants.
The central government's initiative in this regard comes after the relentless efforts of the Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council (LSSSDC) which had submitted a representation to the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry seeking financial assistance for MSME pharma units to get their manufacturing workforce trained on GMP following feedback from the pharmaceutical industry associations about the financial inability of the MSME pharma companies to use 360 Degree GMP programs in paid model.
LSSSDC is an industry led, national level vocational education awarding body, which has been working relentlessly for bridging the skill gap in life sciences sector including pharma, biotechnology and contract research. In 2020, LSSSDC in consultation with industry leaders and experts, have developed and launched Good Manufacturing Practice Training Programs covering 360 Degree aspects of GMP requirements for employees and workmen working in key job roles in a manufacturing unit.
These programs were based on the skill gap trends identified in various regulatory audits like USFDA, UKMHRA, WHO and State FDAs over the last three years. During the pandemic of Covid-19, realizing the advantage of technology intervention, these programs were developed as online modules which provided the flexibility of implementation keeping the quality and standardization of programs intact. LSSSDC had partnered with nominated Indian industry experts and a German Federal Agency, GIZ, for development of these programs.
Of course, the Central government's skilling programme and its partnerships with the pharma industry will bolster access to high quality industry ready workforce. It will accelerate implementation of a digital workplace strategy capable of driving the new dimensions in employment opportunities. This skilling programme will be reoriented to promote sustainability and employability. In view of the continuous changes worldwide in areas like newer infections, virus mutations and other diseases, it is absolutely necessary that continuous skilling of people is needed to sustain newer needs and remain employable.
This becomes very essential in the pharma sector because India is steadily becoming global pharmacy for all essential medications. It is on the basis of representation of LSSSDC that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship under its initiative SANKALP has approved the financial assistance for pharma MSMEs helping them get their employees trained on GMP. It is obvious that the LSSSDC understood that the medium and small size employers are not able to meet the rigorous re-skilling and up-skilling demand for its operator and assistants level workforce due to a financially stressed economy.
To participate in the SANKALP Project for re-skilling or upskilling of MSME workforce in life sciences sector, interested companies need to provide valid Udyam Certificate to LSSSDC; ensure access to LSSSDC team for basic employee data required for enrollment and allow LSSSDC to take Aadhaar based attendance during the training program; ensure no salary deduction for employee/ worker during the upskilling program duration, and wherever possible provide computers for delivery of upskilling program to its employees/ workers. Overall this SANKALP project is an opportunity for MSME pharma units to get their workforce trained on GMP.
(The author is a freelance journalist with varied experience in different fields)