New Delhi: 2.5 New Vision Generation (2.5NVG), an inclusive business arm of Essilor – world leader in ophthalmic lenses, received recognition by the government’s premier think-tank NITI Aayog for its efforts to promote skill building in 14 Indian states through training unemployed youth in basic vision care. The Eye Mitra Program of 2.5NVG has been included as one of the best practice casein NITI Aayog’s ‘Skilling for Employability: Best Practices’ booklet. The booklet is a comprehensive repository of skill building initiatives from around the country and is in line with the government’s Skill India Mission, which completes two years since its launch in 2015. NITI Aayog has shared the best practices booklet with the Prime Minister and Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs. It includes 46 best practices followed by state governments, the private sector and civil society in the space of re-skilling.
Mr. Milind Jadhav, Head for 2.5NVG, India, commented, “We are truly honored that the government has acknowledged our efforts to address the basic vision care problem in India through our skilling program for rural youth, empowering them to become micro-entrepreneurs. The Eye Mitra programme has already changed the lives of over 3,000 Indian youth who are now more financially stable and contribute to their community’s basic vision health. The Best Practices booklet will serve as a useful tool for the public and private sector to learn more about the various skill building initiatives being implemented and the scope for other such valuable models to be developed.”
2.5NVG’s Eye Mitra program identifies young people who have passed preferably 12th standard and are keen to learn a vocation so that they can meet their ambition to become entrepreneurs. The program started in 2011 with a pilot project in Alwar (Rajasthan). The objective was to recruit and train unemployed youth and under employed young people so that they could set up their own optical care business to provide their local communities.
As on June 30, 2017, the Eye Mitra program has trained a total of 3,026 Eye Mitras in India, screened more than 61 lakh people for vision problems and equipped more than 13 lakh people with spectacles for vision correction. India currently has some 55 crore people who require primary vision care, which if left uncorrected can lead to permanent vision impairment and blindness. The prevalence of blindness is higher among populations having lower socio‐economic status. States like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir have a high blindness prevalence (2% and above).
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