Released convicts to help establish industries soon

Nagpur: The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (MSME-DI), Nagpur, is planning a small start to rehabilitate convicts who have served their terms of imprisonment to help such people set up industries after being released from jail.

The MSME-DI, which comes under the MSMEs Union Ministry, has written to the state’s director-general (DG) prisons to share data on prisoners who have been released in the last year and are living in Nagpur and nearby locations.

“Usually it’s very difficult for former inmates to get back into the mainstream after the sentence is complete. The stigma means they can’t get jobs and because of that they are also susceptible to committing crimes again. In such cases self-employment may be the best option, “said MM Parlewar, MSME-DI manager. This would be the first-ever department-related scheme purely for the rehabilitation of former prisoners from an industry.

“The idea was conceived in Nagpur, and at the same time, I also registered for PhD research on the topic — rehabilitating prisoners by helping them establish industries. Plans are in place to start the initiative as a pilot project in Nagpur. Once it succeeds, the model may be put forward in other parts of the country, too, “Parlewar said.

Parlewar plans to put the research thesis itself up as a proposal paper before the ministry to adopt the model elsewhere in the country once it succeeds in Nagpur.

MSME-DI shall select potential candidates from the lists provided by the department of prisons. It may initially be a limited number of prisoners but that number would eventually increase, he said.

There are some inmates who may have taken up work during sentencing involving specific skills. The process can start straight away for them. Skill development training would also be imparted to others, he said.

Funds can be arranged through banks or other schemes of the government. There are plans to arrange it through sponsors in the event that the promoter has to bring in some initial capital, he said.

The idea is to start with cottage industries for inmates, as not much capital investment would be needed. In addition, the skills gained during the prison term may also be used in such industries, he said.

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