INDIAN TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION (ITEC) PROGRAMME / TECHNICAL COOPERATION SCHEME COLOMBO PLAN (TCS CP)
The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was instituted on 15 September 1964 by a decision of the Indian Cabinet. While conveying their decision to initiate the ITEC programme, the Cabinet noted that "a programme of technical and economic cooperation is essential for the development of our relations with the other developing countries on the basis of partnership and cooperation for mutual benefit. It would also be a concrete manifestation of our resolve to contribute to the evolution of world community based on the inter-dependence of all its members in the attainment of their common goal for promoting the social and economic well-being of their people." Since then 15 September is celebrated as ITEC Day every year.
Under the ITEC, and the Technical Cooperation Scheme of Colombo Plan, more than 160 countries (which includes Bhutan) are invited to share India’s developmental experience acquired over six decades of her existence as a free nation.
The utility and relevance of ITEC/TCS CP programme has been reflected in the increasing number of participants. In 2013-14, over 10000 scholarship slots were offered under the ITEC/SCAAP programme; there are 47 trainings institutions in India which run more than 280 training courses in diverse subjects ranging from IT, public administration to election management, SME, entrepreneurship, rural development, parliamentary affairs, renewable energy to name a few.
Similarly, training programmes on security and strategic studies, defence management, marine and aeronautical engineering, logistics and management, marine hydrography, counter insurgency, etc., are organized for defence personnel in prestigious institutions like National Defence College, Defence Services Staff College, covering all the three wings of the defence services – Army, Navy and Air Force. The facility is also extended and availed by some developed countries on self financing basis.
ITEC / TCS CP courses equip the participants with not just professional skills but also prepare them for an increasingly globalised world.
The ITEC/TCS CP programme has several components. Apart from organizing training courses in India, it also covers deputation of Indian experts abroad, aid for disaster relief, gifting of equipment, study tours and feasibility studies/consultancy services. ITEC is a demand driven programme, therefore, assistance offered under ITEC is usually in response to requests received from friendly countries and the commitments made by India’s political leadership.
Apart from regular courses offered under the ITEC/ TCS CP, special courses and training programmes are also conducted /scheduled at the specific request of partner countries. In recent years, special courses have expanded to new areas such as election management (at the International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIDEM), New Delhi), government performance management (with Cabinet Secretariat), mid-career training of civil servants (at National Institute of Administrative Research/National Centre for Good Governance NIAR/NCGG), Parliamentary Studies (Bureau of Parliamentary Studies), urban infrastructure management (Human Settlement Management Institute), WTO related topics (Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), etc. Also, some innovative courses are offered under ITEC, including one on solar technology for semi-literate and illiterate grand mothers from the Least Developed Countries at Barefoot College, Tilonia.
ITEC/TCS CP has created a large network of alumni across the continents who have become ITEC torch-bearers in their respective countries and in the process, developed a powerful cultural bridge between India and the country concerned. ITEC alumni have carved a niche for themselves, with many of them becoming ministers, senior diplomats, academics, government officials and leading entrepreneurs. As a result of different activities under ITEC, there is now a visible and growing awareness among other countries about the competence of India as a provider of technical know-how and expertise. Over the years, these programmes have generated immense goodwill for the country.
In the Training years 2012-13, 2013-14 and till date in 2014-15, more than 650 Bhutanese from all walks of life have availed of technical training under the two schemes of ITEC and TCS Colombo Plan. These training courses have not only been availed of by officers and officials of the RGoB departments like Bhutan Telecom, BPCL, RICB, RAA and the various Ministries, scores of Bhutanese working in the private sector have also participated in the ITEC and TCS CP training programmes to enhance their HR skills leading to career development for them.
ITEC is celebrating its golden jubilee this year. It is an opportune time to reflect on the journey traversed so far, milestones achieved and the challenges faced. The knowledge and experience gained through the various training programmes offered under ITEC would enable India to further share its experience with Bhutanese nationals and help enhance their Human Resources in a more innovative and effective manner.