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‘Kshamta' infuses confidence among soldiers

R. Ravikanth Reddy

Project aimed at arming them with skills in demand by industrial, services sector

- Photo: M. SUBHASH

Novel initiative: (From Left) Col. Chandan, Lokesh Mehra of Microsoft and Brigadier P.S Nair during a discussion of Kshamta project at Artillery Centre.

HYDERABAD: They can fire guns with ease targeting terrorists and with the same élan kill the virus hitting the computers. They can confidently speak in English though it was never part of their education or upbringing.

These men in uniform serving the nation are an empowered group these days, thanks to ‘Kshmata' - a combined initiative of the Indian Army and Microsoft. The Persons Below Officer Rank (PBOR), as they are called in Indian army, are now experiencing a new life and ready to start their second innings confidently due to the professional skills they have acquired through the Kshamta project.

As part of the project, the jawans are being trained in IT skills where they pick up knowledge in computers and its applications apart from gaining English speaking skills that they never got a chance to learn in school.

“The programme is aimed at arming the soldiers with skills in demand by both the industrial and services sector, thereby equipping them with a viable chance for a second career post retirement,” says Brigadier P.S. Nair, Commandant, Artillery Centre, Hyderabad. He says most of the PBOR soldiers retire by the age of 40 and they need to start a new career.

“Kshamta is one of the numerous initiatives aimed at empowering the soldiers, with the primary aim of enhancing their capabilities and competence to handle both professional and personal aspects,” says Lokesh Mehra, Director, Education Advocacy, Microsoft. So far, 2,000 Master Trainers have been trained across the country and they will in turn equip others with these skills.

“It has created lot of confidence among the soldiers,” agrees Col. Chandan, Director, Projects, Army Headquarters, New Delhi. “About 50,000 soldiers retire at middle age every year and we don't want them to be employed as just security staff,” he says.

A confident and smiling soldier from Punjab said he can now talk to his wife in English, who is a graduate, though he finished 12th class in Punjabi medium and joined the Army immediately. Kshamta is a 110-hour training programme consisting of 30 hours of the Microsoft Digital Literacy Skills Programme and 80 hours of spoken English training.

About 30 soldiers, who completed their training, received their certificates at a programme organised at the Artillery Centre, Golconda on Wednesday.

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