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  • “The way to revolution through educated ones needs to stand out of the box”

Had education been only the runner for gross, it would had died an unobtrusive casualty but being the whole and sole pillar of debonair for generations to come its worth at net can never be projected. Be it in formal, moral or any other form, the veiled shine and masked gift of a being goes to toss until education upholds the candle till end of the tunnel.Education theatres its important role in the opening out of an individual, nurturing the intrinsic worth, broadening the mental picture and clearing the blurriness that might prevail otherwise, it is beyond doubt a combat force for all the tribulations. Understanding education in Kashmir requires traverse in the variance. It has been in crossroads as conflict takes its due toll on the same.  

The uprising from the school bags started after lopsided show of might against students in Pulwama, when students and their school bag literary became so heavily loaded critic for the state, that need for authoritarian vigil arose. The wrangle between the students and the paramilitary for seizure of the former’s freedom resulted in more than 60 students being injured. The occupying forces entered inside the campus and a full use of the might was on display that resulted in the further alienation of the already alienated ones. So students all over the region decided to resist and rest is known to one and all. From north to south via central every single institute of learning standed tall against the foyer and untenable use and might against the children.

This unfortunate pulwama incident where the state police trespassed into the campus and flexed their muscles acted as a tipping point for the contained anger of the children of conflict against agencies of the state. Ever since then Hundreds of school going children have suffered physically and mentally, their mental space has been dented to a far greater extent from where the counseling will hardly have any desired upshot. The bootlace and necktie role reversal from shining armor to slingshot, the book bag for enlighten to supporting the retort to the fury. They have put everything at stake and have no fear to hold back. Indubitable and powerful in uniforms, these school and college students have been in front of every plan of might be it pellets tear gas shells or bullets. The current generation of school and college students have grown up witnessing frisking, crackdowns, disappearances, summons to police stations and unprovoked killings, so the sentiment of being autonomous runs deep in this generation.

These protests were entirely bungled from the very start by the people at the helm of affairs, all they did was the same old chalked out plan to curb the dissent by the use of force. In all this mishandle, scores of the youth have been bruised by pellets and shells which has added much more to their baulk. The brutal use of force by the state against the future of the state has bankrupted the way to illumination. The youthful, opinionated children of conflict have been in the crossroads of conflict often delimited by the clatter of blazing guns and barred wires around. In its place for a resolution to grasp the estrangement from creating a split, the state acted in creating one between the Gen next and the state. The lack of political imagination of the elected govt has failed the populace and Govt of the day has taken shelter behind the security uniform. The mode of denial and managing the conflict rather solving has plagued Kashmir. The student protest was actually a break to make things better but the Govt of the day which has its scent as occupying force has lost occasion to espouse peace.

We were yet to come out of the miseries of the last summer which took away the sight of bright future and Govt of the day started to create new ways to darken the life of the children. That is a worrying trend as social order without inherited educated will die an appalling death. Youth has power to change thing at the centre but then with violence gripping damage is wholly of ours. We as a society can’t afford bloodshed as it smashes-up the capabilities of our young ones who could do wonders in resolving the Kashmir issue. High lightening the tyranny at gross through several other fronts will confront and corner the occupying forces. The pen is mightier than many thousand guns needs actual recognition among the future of the state.

Although the ultimate goal of the uprising among the college/ school going children remains in line with the other masses but their way can be much sophisticated and can bring wonders in resolving the long pending issue. They are the ones who have to contribute in sorting out the mess without any bloodbath and in line have to stop the hampering of their education. As forerunner of the valley their thinking towards deciphering the conflict should be out of the box, away from the traditional protests. Drafting novel Ideas and implementation of those strategic plans to get rid of conflict in the trodden terrain can help out. Let the sane voices in the rest of countryside get to know the ground realities IST hand rather than distorted facts from the TPR hungry new channels. The biased media has opened Pandora’s Box for the people of valley, atleast the various public medium if set up by students will make it happen for us to debate the ongoing leading which will certainly translate to the acceptance of the dispute by the occupying forces.              

On the other front the govt of the day which almost dashed away people to the non-negotiable point have to pass hurdles.  The mere enquires of Govt will bear neither has in past bore any fruits until action oriented tasks are placed on the ground. These investigating reports which are left for investigation sake need to put in proper action, book culprits who have trespassed and used might against the budding students to book. Pin your ears back to the grievances and address the dissent in the saner way rather than having muscular approach to everything.  Under no circumstances, should the future careers of the student community be allowed to get exploited or jeopardized in any manner.

They, have a crucial role in the process which will lead in accepting, grasping and then resolving the proportions of the conflict by the concerned. If and when this is done, Kashmir will be at peace. If, not then, Kashmir, in all probability, there will prevail periods of deceptive calmness and sudden violence which will move across generations to come.

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‘Skill building’ and ‘knowledge’ are quintessential for economic growth of any country in today’s world. More so for a country like India where 13 million youth are estimated to enter the job market annually. There is another reason too which makes ‘skill building’ an imperative for the growth of country’s economy. While the labour force in the industrialized world is expected to decline by 4%, in our country it will increase by 32% in 20 years time. This is an indicator that India is poised to become a hub for skilled labour force.Skill development is, therefore, an urgent priority for the government.Taking into account the estimated requirement of skilled manpower in future the government has set a target of creating 500 million strong skilled manpower by 2022.

The challenge is huje considering that so faronly 4.69 per cent of total work force in India has received any formal skill training. This is much lower than even some of the developing countries and  far behind the  developed nations where  the percentage  of skilled manpower ranges from 52 per cent in USA to as high as  96 per cent in South Korea.

In order todevelop a robust policy framework and programme of action for scaling and speeding up skill development efforts, NDA Government set up aseparate Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship in December 2014. In addition, to fast track and upgrade existing skill development programmes, several new schemes have been initiated with timelines for achieving the set targets.

An ambitious skill development programmePradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana was initiated in 2015.. Later PMKVY was approved for another  four years on 2ndof October last year with  a target to skill ten million youth  with greater focus on improving placement opportunities through high quality training .Under this Scheme, Training and Assessment fees are fully borne by the Government. The scheme being  implemented through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) envisages linking  aptitude, aspiration, and knowledge of the skilled workforce it creates with employment opportunities and demands in the market.

 

Another schemePradhan Mantri YUVA Yojanawas launched in November last year which is being implemented in association with Wadhwani Operating Foundation as its Knowledge Partner. On line Entrepreneurship Education  will be provided to  about 15 lakh students across the country through 3050 Project Institutes consisting of Institutions of Higher Learning; Schools; ITIs and Entrepreneurship Development Centres, both Government and Private. The Ministry would also provide financial assistance to these institutions for different activities under the Scheme. The five-year Scheme is expected to witness setting up of more than 23,000 enterprises thatwillcreate more than 2.30 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the country.The Scheme providing for financial assistance to both Government and Private Institutions would cover 84,000 students in the current fiscal.

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower . It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. This is first of the kind scheme that offers financial incentives to employers. Under the scheme ,twenty five percent of the prescribed stipend payable to an apprentice would be reimbursed to the employers directly by the  centre . 50 Lakh apprentices are expected to be trained by 2019-20  under this initiative by working pro-actively with the industry including MSME.

 

It was in the 1950’s that Industrial Training Institutes were established under the Craftsman Training Scheme by the Centre  forimparting skills in various vocational trades to meet the manpower requirements for technology andindustrialgrowth of the country.In the period 2014 to 2017 , 3342 new ITIs  have been set up increasing  the seating capacity to 5,85,284.The ITI have helped lakhs of youth  earn their livelihood  through  employment or starting  their own work.

A scheme to up-grade Government ITIs into Model ITIs  was initiated in December 2014 . The  main objective was to develop a benchmark for industry oriented ITI which would serve as a model for other ITIs and would also raise dignity of ITI education. These Model ITIs were to establish links with the Industrial clusters in their vicinity to enable them  to function as a solution provider to the cluster group.Gunjan Gautam  who was trained motor vehicle  mechanicin 2014 from Govt. Modal ITI Nalagarh District Solan, Himachal Pradesh is now  a proprietor in dealership venture having branchs at Hamirpur, Nadaun and Jawalaji in Himachal Pradesh and over  60  Mechanics/Workers work  under his establishment.

 In all 25 ITI  were identified  for  upgradation as model ITI.

With regard to a scheme for  Up-gradation of 1396 Government ITIs through Public Private Partnership(PPP), a total of 1227 Govt. ITIs have been covered in 31 States and Union Territories.  Government has also initiated  several  other incentive driven schemes including awards for giving  push to skilling in India to match  international standards.  

India is one of the youngest nations in the world . More than 62 per cent  of its population  is in the working age group  of (15-59 years), and more than 54 percent of its total population below 25 years of age .Its  population in the 15-59 age group is expected to expand  over the next decade .This is  in contrast to developed countries like USA, Europe and Japan   where the average age  would be in the range 45 to 49.  As pointed out earlier. India could reap this demographic dividend in  a big way but the  challenge is  to equip its workforce with employable skills and knowledge  for the economic growth of our country.

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*Author is a New Delhi based independent Journalist and writes regularly in Newspapers on social sector issues. Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.

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Man behind the machine must also be well oiled. This has been the mission of the NDA government since last three years.  When weapon systems and equipments worth millions of dollars are acquired, Jawans and Officers taking care of them for their effective use during combat, must also be hale and hearty. Ever since the NDA government assumed power, Government not only announced steep hike in pay and allowances and pensions but also took various measures to make their life easier. The nation cannot win a war if the fighting men are not assured of their welfare. A disgruntled soldier cannot be expected to sacrifice his life for the nation. Hence the NDA government has been talking and taking huge significant steps to keep their morale high.

 The biggest decision of accepting, for which the soldiers were agitating for the last four decades, one rank one pension (OROP) was announced by the government on 7 November, 2015 which will cost the government exchequer around Rs 8000 crores every year. This has ensured that pension anomaly that existed among defence services personnel of the same rank, having the same number of years in service is rectified. Till 30 November last year, under first installment and lump sum payments 19,64,350 personnel were paid Rs 3,985.65 crores. In the second installment 15,46,857 personnel were disbursed Rs 2281.63 crores.

 Further the government notified the acceptance of the recommendations of the 7ThCentral Pay Commission recommendation on 3rdMay, 2017. This will result in hefty hike in pay and allowances of the service personnel .For the first time the commission has substantially hiked the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air force personnel deployed in high risk duties.

For the good health of millions of serving and retired ex-servicemen, the government expanded the scope of Employees Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) by opening more polyclinics and referral hospitals in different parts of the country.  Several measures were taken to provide quality and affordable medicare to ex-servicemen and their dependents. As part of health care reforms, the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) has been completely digitized. A total of approximately 50 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under the scheme. As of now the scheme is being run through 28 regional centres and 426 polyclinics. A total of 1445 civil hospitals have been empanelled to provide cashless treatment to ECHS beneficiaries.

In order to empower the women and look after their welfare, the government approved the induction of women in the fighter stream, thereby making them eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF. Under this plan women are being selected as per uniform Qualitative Requirements at par with male counterparts. Besides, uniform QRs were also applied to both women and short service commission officers for grant of permanent commission irrespective of gender. 18 June, 2016 was the historic day for the Indian women, when three women fighter pilots of the IAF were commissioned at Dundigal. With this, India joined a select band of nations that have women fighter pilots.

As part of the PM’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, digitization of the recruitment process of Army personnel and Communication Networks have been undertaken in full earnest. A special software system –Army Record Officers Process Automation (ARPAN) 2.0, was launched. This has enabled more than 12 lakh junior commissioned officer and jawans to access their service records and employment details online.

  From July 01, 2015, Army recruitment has also gone online.A new website of the Directorate General of Recruitment has been launched for selection of officers, JCOs and Other Ranks. Candidates from all over India can now have access to information about career options in the Army, make suitable choices and apply online.

To provide better and comprehensive care to the army veterans the Army set up theDirectorateof Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) on 14 Jan,2016 at Delhi Cantt. The Directorate will provide a wide range of veteran care and support services and will act as a single point of contact for redressal of complaints of veterans, widows and their wards. The inauguration of the new Directorate coincided with the first ever celebration of Veterans Day.

For the benefit of millions of ex-servicemen and their family members the Defence ministry also set up a Pilot Project of the Army Skill Training Center on 22ndAugust, 2016. With the inauguration of this Center, the Indian Army has embarked on a new mission by bringing Army spouses and wards into the folds of the skilling landscape. Army personnel and their spouse and wards who attend training at ASTC will receive skill certificate from NSDC and will become eligible for employment or entrepreneurship under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna scheme.

 In view of the hardshipsand long separation of Jawans from their families while serving in forward and high altitude areas, the Ministry took steps to expedite the Married Accommodation Project (MAP) for Armed Forces personnel on priority basis. This will provide nearly 2 lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting. The third and final phase of MAP is under implementation for 71,000 more dwelling units.

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*Author is a senior journalist. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.