SRIKAKULAM: “My father is an auto-driver. You have promised to open skill development centres. How will they help us?” — this was a question posed by a student, MD Raisa Bhanu from Rajamahendravaram, to none other than Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The spirited girl’s query was straight to the point, reflecting the aspirations of many a student in the State.
As did another question from T Harika from Visakhapatnam on what the government was doing to attract IT companies. The Chief Minister, who visited the IIIT at MS Puram in Etcherla constituency in Srikakulam district, was at his candid best in fielding the questions from the students during the lively interaction he had with them.
“At the time of the division of the State, 98 per cent of the IT industry went to Telangana. We ended up with just two per cent of it. We don’t have tier-I cities like Bengaluru and Chennai. Only Vizag stands some chance. I strongly believe in it and we are taking steps in this direction. It is the IIITs alone that can offer skilled manpower for IT which is the reason why we want to change their face and ensure recognition of your talent,” he replied.
To Raisa Bhanu’s poser, the Chief Minister dwelt at length on the 75 per cent reservation for locals in industries provided by the government.“Industries require skilled manpower. A skill development centre will be set up in each Parliamentary constituency which will also double up as an incubation centre. Collectors will interact with local industries and factories and act in tandem with them to impart requisite skills to the students,” he explained and announced that each IIIT will have a skill development centre and transform it into an incubation centre as well. He expressed the hope that one day IT majors like Infosys, TCS and others will be part of the incubation centres and IIITs in the State will cater to the requirements of the country at large.
Another youngster K Pavankumar from Pulivendula voiced concern over rising unemployment and sought to know the Chief Minister’s solution for the same. Jagan was unusually candid in his reply. “Our every step should be aimed at providing jobs. To be frank, none may completely solve the unemployment problem. But we will minimise the problem,” he said and explained at length the measures his government was taking such as recruitment of 1.4 lakh people in village secretariats and 2.7 lakh vidya volunteers for door delivery of schemes. He put it in perspective, pointing out that these jobs will help in good governance. Further, he recalled once again the law mandating 75 per cent quota for locals in industries. “I strongly believe that it is only just to demand jobs for locals when we are giving lands for industries. It is a challenge and that is improving our qualification. This improvement comes from the course we take. Every course must be job-oriented,” he stressed and said the government has formed a panel to revisit the various courses to suggest suitable changes.
In the same breath, he promised to fill vacant teacher posts and ensure full fee reimbursement for students. A student Purnima raised a social issue, that of untouchability and wanted to know what the government would do to eradicate the same. Recalling the recent incident wherein a Dalit YSRC legislator was humiliated at a Ganesh pandal, Jagan felt the system has to change and said he was proud to say that his home minister was from the SC community. He went on to vow to take stringent action in all such cases of untouchability. Before winding up, Jagan vowed to build infrastructure in colleges and summed up the reason for his interaction with them thus: “My visit is to send a message that I will not ignore colleges.”
Earlier, he inaugurated hostel blocks and classrooms.