The Indian government on Thursday launched a pilot programme aimed at empowering people with different skills and talents to work towards their dream of becoming doctors and engineers.

Under the scheme, a single citizen can apply for a certificate of aspiration (COA) in three years and is eligible to be trained as an engineer or doctor in five years.

This is in contrast to the previous government which required five years to earn an engineer’s licence in the country, which had a higher enrolment rate.

The pilot project, under which applicants must submit their CV in three months, is being tested in five states.

“I hope the pilot project will encourage more people to consider pursuing an engineering degree,” said Dr J.K. Bhatia, secretary of the State Council for Advanced Research and Training (SCARET), a government body that administers the SCARET programme.

“The pilot project is one of the first such schemes in the world to focus on empowering the aspiring citizens of India to pursue an engineering or doctorate,” he added.

“In the past, only one person in the entire country could have been awarded a COA in three and a half years, while another in two years.

Now, we have made it possible for more people.

I want to see the COAs being issued to more people in future,” said Manmohan Singh, who is also the prime minister.

The government has given the COA to a total of 6,823 people since it was launched in April.

The government has said the programme aims to make India an attractive place for the entry of professionals from all sectors, from IT and software companies to social workers and architects.

A pilot programme was also launched in Delhi earlier this month, where COAs are being awarded to a subset of students.

The COAs have been given a special status under the National Human Capital Policy to facilitate the creation of better and more productive Indian workers.

“This is an innovative way of improving the human capital of our country,” said Suresh Sharma, secretary, SCARETS.

“People should be given the opportunity to pursue their dream in a fair and transparent manner,” he said.