Dehradun : It was time the Uttarakhand government focused on enhancing employability of the youth by setting up vocational institutes across the state so that fast increasing forced migration from the hills could be checked, suggested Bhaskar Khulbe, secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The only way whereby distress migration from the hills and rural-urban migration can be checked is by increasing the people’s employability by creating opportunities through skill development,” Khulbe said. “If the state government manages to do that it won’t need central funds to boost development,” he added.
Khulbe, who hails from the state, was speaking at a seminar on ‘Raibar: Uttarakhand Calling’, hosted by the BJP government as “build up” for the state’s 18th Foundation Day falling on November 9.
Like him several sons of the soil from Uttarakhand holding top positions in different sectors under the Central government participated in the daylong seminar that was organized to assess the state’s journey in the past 17 years.
Among them were the Army chief General Bipin Rawat, the director general of Coast Guard Rajendra Singh, the CBFC chairman Prasoon Joshi, the Railway Board chairman Ashwini Lohani and the vice chairman of Rural Development and Migration Commission SS Negi.
Khulbe noted that not much has been done in Uttarkhand to check the forced migration. “For instance, there are not many establishments like Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) that can play a key role in ensuring skill development among the youth,” he said, suggesting that the state government set up ITIs across the hill state.
Khulbe suggested that the chief minister “select” a district, where institutes such as ITIs could be set up to enhance the people’s employability. “If such an initiative is taken, I will personally extend all help that would be required,” he said, adding that setting up vocational centres such as ITIs should form a part of the district development plans.
Negi, the vice chairman of Rural Development and Migration Commission, said the forced migration was taking place both from the hill and plain districts. “There are some 968 uninhabited villages in the state, of which quite a few (villages) were also in some of the three plain districts,” he said, adding that of the 10 hill districts, the problem of forced migration was acute in Almora and Pauri districts.
Later, speaking to reporters, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the government might consider incorporating lessons relating to farm, horticulture and tourism in the school curricula, a suggestion made by speakers. “Similarly, beautification of Doon would soon be initiated,” he said, adding that a panel of citizens headed by the chief secretary would be constituted “very shortly”.
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