Monday 24 December 2007

Are we following the wrong path!

Written by Anil Singh

From the time Uttarakhand came into existence, the people of the state have seen many changes. Even if these changes are more visual in the urban areas, still one thing that reached even to the remotest corner of the state is HOPE.

A hope that the formation of the state will usher a new era in every desired activity. The light of prosperity will touch every household and elevate the standard of living of every resident of the state. There were strong reasons to believe the same.

The foremost among these were the unique flora and fauna, unique climate, and modest stock of untapped natural resources.

But after seven years and three governments, the state is struggling to achieve what it aspired to achieve at its birth. In other words the state is still faring below its potential.

That brings us--the people and the Government of the state, to ask ourselves, why?

Uttarakhand is a state where education is still concentrated in a few major cities. The rest of the regions still have to recognize the utility of education. Those who are physically fit, join the armed forces. Although the no. of people getting into forces has reduced significantly in the last two decades, it is still the most sort after profession for the hill youth. So people in the state still consider education as a mere step to get into the forces.

In addition to that the hard terrain and inclement weather also makes the education a real tough task. From the early age children have to help their elders in the agricultural activity and household chores, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their studies, As a result those who can’t make it to the army, find themselves unfit for majority of the modern day jobs.

Adding to this is the nature of land holdings. The land holdings in the state are very small except for a few in the plain regions. As a result, with each passing day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a family to survive on the piece of land they hold.

So it is quite natural for us to believe that whenever any new policy is made by the government, it has taken the weak education of the youth and small land holdings factors into consideration.

But from the way successive governments have functioned, it seems these factors though central are never given adequate attention.

The model the three governments up to now are following is that of rapid industrialization. For them more industries mean more jobs and greater well being. To fulfill this objective, SEZs have been established at many places and new industrial licenses are being given every day.

It is true that jobs are created when industries or to be more precise manufacturing units are set up, but what can be done if the education required for these jobs is not present. Apart from that what to do of the sharks of the job market—the so called man power consultants who force those who manage to get the job to work for below subsistence wages.

We-the people and the Government of the state, should realise that inviting industrialists to the state will never solve our problems. First the land resource in the state is scarce and can be put into better use; and second whoever comes to the state to set up industries is not coming to elevate the living standard of the people but because he or she is getting land relatively cheaper than other states.

That brings us to another question “If we discard rapid industrialization, then what else should we adopt?”
This question though simple needs serious thinking. So lets think something worth and share…

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