‘Congress wants an education system where youth are self-reliant and equipped to face the future’
Congress RS MP and Kerala Mahila Congress president Jebi Mather underlined that Congress believes that education decides the future of the youth and through them, the future of the country
"If there is no talk of youth's expectations, we cannot talk of the future of a strong India. We will discuss the problems of youth, so as to be able to give them wind beneath their wing, whether they are members of the party or not. In the party and the country, the voice of the youth will be heard,” Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Punjab Congress chief and convenor of the youth and empowerment co-ordination panel at the Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir being held at Udaipur in Rajasthan, said on Friday.
Setting the tone for the panel, Warring reiterated that at the Chintan Shivir, almost 50% of those who have been invited are youngsters and 21% women. The party will discuss how they can ensure that the youth would get their rights.
He said that by the end of these sessions on May 15, the panel was hoping to come out with an action plan to ensure that more youth join the party.
A part of the deliberations of the committee will be on the education system being followed around the country.
Congress RS MP and Kerala Mahila Congress president Jebi Mather underlined that Congress believes that education decides the future of the youth and through them, the future of the country.
Outlining the uncertainty prevailing in the country for the children entering adulthood now, Mather said as a country we have reached a point where we need to think if the education is constructive or destructive; tolerant and secular or intolerant and communal.
“Do we want an India where scientific temper is respected or which has ignorance of science as the basis of education? Do we want an India where communal harmony is spread or a country which spreads hate speeches? Congress wants an education system where the youth is self-reliant and equipped to face the future. We want this to be reflected in the National Education Policy, but the NEP of the NDA government is run with a communal agenda. History is being changed in the textbooks and communal elements are being added,” said Mather.
The MP pointed out that school dropout rates and enrolment rates have declined. Congress brought in Right to Education until the age of 14, but “we need to discuss how to take it forward to higher education. By 2026, 65% of the population would be with 15-64 years, so the country should have skilled population to take advantage of the demographic dividend,” said Mather.
She quipped that the Modi government’s Skill India’s programme was just a PR exercise.
More than 50% of India’s population currently is below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35, but their concerns are not being addressed, added Ragini Nayak, Congress spokesperson. There is hardly any political participation of the youth of the country. Congress intends to discuss participatory democracy but “if youth isn’t part of it, can the democratic system work properly?" asked Nayak.
“The challenge for the Congress now is to provide a compelling vision for India, which is different from what the Bharatiya Jana Party or any of the regional party offers. A vision which reflects the aspirations of the country’s youth, a vision that is not just political, but encourages them to come out from the periphery to the forefront of not just electoral power, but also other walks of life. It is a challenge, but we believe, every challenge comes with an opportunity,” said Nayak
The panel said they believed that no youth in the country or their families will want their children to walk with their graduation certificate in one hand and a sword or lathi in the other. “The Congress wants to ensure that the youth of the country will have a graduation certificate in one hand and an appointment letter in the other,” reiterated Nayak.
Congress does not want to walk on the path of violence and the panel agreed that several youngsters had voted for Modi and BJP and many of them have fallen for the restrictive and discriminative vision of India being put forward by BJP. “We will break this hold that BJP has on the youth. We will tell them that Congress will work for them and their future. The prices of food grains are rising, fuel prices are skyrocketing. The youngsters will understand this after a while,” said Nayak.
“We want to start with youngsters. Political participation of youngsters in the country is an important issue. We talk about participatory democracy but if youth isn’t part of it, can the democratic system work properly?" Nayak added.
Congress leader Alka Lamba, who is member of the youth and empowerment co-ordination panel, said the panel has begun discussing unemployment raging amongst the youth. “It is the most important issue staring in the face of the youngsters now. It is a crisis created by PM Narendra Modi and his faulty polices including demonetisation and GST,” highlighted Lamba.
Surveys have revealed that the crisis of unemployment raging in the country is at its highest after India’s Independence. More than half of the 90 crore Indians of legal working age, have topped searching for a job because they have not been able to find appropriate jobs.
The Modi government had promised 2 crore jobs yearly, underscored Lamba, so they should have been able to provide at least 16 crore jobs. “The Congress brought in Right to Education, Right to Food, Right to Information and Right to Employment through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in rural India. India now needs a comprehensive right to employment law for both urban and rural India,” added Lamba.
Adding to this, UP Congress leader Karishma Thakur maintained that whatever the background of the family, India should be able to provide its youngsters a stable future. “BJP is playing with the future of our children,” said Thakur.