Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government is making efforts to strengthen skill development activities and infrastructure. For this, a Rs 640 crore ADB External Assistance Project was approved for supporting skill development, an official here said on Sunday. Skill Development Policy Him Kaushal -- 2016 has been approved by the government to empower the unemployed youth in the age group between 15 and 45 years, a government spokesperson told IANS. He said the policy envisages enhancing learning and employment opportunities of the targeted groups to strengthen the economic growth of the state and bridge the gap of skill deficit between the state and national level. The state has also established Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam, which would act as an overarching outfit for implementation of the skill development policy and programmes. It would endeavour to achieve uniformity of qualifications, standards, training tools, accreditation for the state in alignment with national standards. Training would be provided by the government institutes and departments, private sectors and industries/industrial associations. Multipurpose training and marketing centres would be developed in rural areas at industrial training institutes in a phased manner and would be aligned as per the needs of the local youth. These centres would operate in a hub and spoke model with each centre and would be monitored by District Skill Development Centre. The spokesperson said special emphasis would be laid on local skills which are being carried forward by generations of artisans, weavers and artists. All the existing employment exchanges would be upgraded into model career centres for counselling and vocational guidance, he said. The government is also planning to start demand-driven and employment-oriented trades in the industrial training institutes which would increase students intake by 2,500 per year. The objective of skill development training programmes is to ensure that no person is left out of training because of financial constraints. The programmes would be accessible to all residents between the age of 16 to 49 years both below poverty line and above poverty line in urban and rural areas. He said guidance and counselling would also be provided to people with educational qualifications like class V and VIII pass to improve earning levels.