What was this activity about?
Capacity building and human resource development are key features of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), which has assumed an important position in the Indian development cooperation canvass. The ITEC programme was launched in 1964 by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for capacity building. In 2011-12, it offered 6500 training slots for nearly 270 courses to 161 partner countries. These courses are being offered in India by 47 different institutions, regarded as centers of excellence in their respective areas of work.
The ITEC programme in the CLMV region was very different from its many other training programmes in the sense that it was dovetailed with other programmes of the MEA under bilateral assistance programmes. During the visit of an Indian delegation to CLMV countries for providing vocational training in 2003-04 a specific request came from the region to rather establish training opportunities for entrepreneurship development. This fitted very well with the Indian commitment towards the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), an initiative of the ASEAN Secretariat for reducing gap between the advanced ASEAN members and the new members from the CLMV region. As a part of this initiative, ASEAN Secretariat called upon its partner countries including India to take special measure for bridging the gap among the ASEAN members.
Government of India provided assistance for establishing Lao-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (LIEDC) at Vientiane, Lao PDR, in 2004. The establishment of the centers was facilitated by India with initial funding for necessary infrastructure and training for development. This initiative became epicenter for similar centres in the CLMV region. Subsequently, similar Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDCs) came up at Hanoi, Vietnam (in 2005), Cambodia (in 2006) and Myanmar (in 2009). These centers have not only helped creating conducive environment for entrepreneurship development in their respective countries, but also helped each other in several different ways in introducing entrepreneurship training programmes for specific niche areas.
The capacities of these centres have been developed through ITEC programmes at EDI, which has emerged as champion for developing entrepreneurship related programmes. The EDI was established in 1983 by the leading Indian financial institutions like Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) and State Bank of India (SBI) with active support from the State Government of Gujarat. Later, the Ministry of External Affairs of Government of India included EDI in the ITEC programme and entrusted it with the responsibility for launching various entrepreneurship development programmes and later the EDCs in the CLMV region. Indian Prime Minister recently announced setting up of five more EDCs in the African region which would also be led by the EDI.
Some of the EDCs have made efforts for generating additional resources for instance, the LIEDC is hosting additional training programmes financed by the World Bank, SDC, GTZ, ILO, UNDP, EU and other multilateral agencies. The training programme with the World Bank had huge response. They received more than 200 proposals out of which nearly 100 were selected for financing by the World Bank at the business skills development programme. This helped LIEDC in terms of additional revenue and capacity creation for handling larger programmes.