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150 tech hubs PM opened in Karnataka to be also accessible to startups

Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened 150 tech hubs at an event in Bengaluru, the state government has decided to open up its services to startups so they can work on and test their products before they hit the market.

Tata Technologies has transformed some 150 industrial training institutes (ITIs) into technology hubs in a PPP collaboration with the Karnataka government to fill the huge skills gaps facing the industry. While the whole project cost Rs 4850 crore, the Tatas and 20 other companies contributed Rs 4080 crore with a promise to manage it for five years.

The prime minister, who dedicated it to the nation on June 20, urged other states to adopt the model. The ITIs will train students in the most advanced skills, including in the emerging technology areas.
The institutes have advanced technology labs in areas such as additive manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, electric vehicles, industrial robotics with arc welding, product design and verification, advanced manufacturing systems, IoT, industrial automation, and advanced plumbing.

“The startups from all sectors and other small and medium-sized industries can use the advanced design, 3D printing and other facilities to work on, refine and test their products. We will charge them a fee,” S. Selvakumar, chief secretary of the Department of Skills Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood, told ET.

This will be of great help to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out, as well as other small industrial units, especially in smaller towns, he added. The ITIs are spread across the state, and the government plans to modernize another 30 institutes this year.

They are designed to offer 23 short term and 11 long term courses and together they will produce a lakh plus skilled workforce each year. Short-term courses typically last 3 to 4 months and help professionals improve their skills.

Tata Technologies announced in a recent press release that it worked with 20 global industry partners to implement the project, which included curriculum development using its own knowledge of manufacturing domains in advanced technology areas, conducting training programs, and equipment and software -Support provided .

The company has also deployed 300 training staff together with industry partners. Tata Technologies aims to improve the skills of the grassroots workforce in line with the future needs of the industry and to provide participants with a platform to help them find internship preferences.

“We train all our teachers. We have set up four studios in different parts of the state. All institutes are connected to each other via satellite. Last year we admitted students for two courses and this year we will admit six courses in all ITIs,” said Selvakumar.

In November 2020, Tata Technologies had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Karnataka government offering to upgrade and modernize 150 ITIs and support them over a five-year period. The skill development department, he said, set up its own Udyoga society to generate its own income for its own subsistence.

The ITI upgrade project lasted only about 18 months, with Tata Technologies providing equipment and technology and Nirmithi building Kendra’s other infrastructure.

“Our workshops and technology labs are used 12 hours a day. Fees from students as well as industries using our labs will be our main sources of income to cover operating costs,” Selvakumar said.
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