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“5 challenges before 5th U’khand Govt”

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By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 27 Mar: The new government of Uttarakhand faces five major challenges in the next five years. These challenges are in the fields of education, health, migration and employment, industry and governance. In the Uttarakhand@25 programme organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce, Uttarakhand, and SDC Foundation at VoW Cafe, subject experts gave tips to deal with these challenges.
Educationist and Chancellor of DIT University N Ravi Shanker said that the 250 top government schools can bring about a paradigm shift in the entire education sector. He said that 189 schools are being developed as Atal Adarsh Vidyalayas in the state. Apart from this, 13 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and 13 Rajiv Gandhi Navodaya Vidyalayas are also present in the state. With the involvement of several other well performing government schools, a network of 250 such schools across the state can act as a catalyst for enhancing the quality of school education.
Ravi Shanker added that ITIs and Polytechnics should not be made just a means of obtaining certificates, but skill development should be given to the students there with the help of industry.
Dr Rakesh Kumar, Chairman, Uttarakhand Public Service Commission, compared the data of 1947 and said that there have been substantial improvements in health-related conditions across the country, but there are still several existing challenges. Describing the need to focus on urban health, he said that with increasing urbanisation there is a need to pay attention to this sector.
Dr Kumar added that the system in on alert mode to deal with infectious diseases, which is a good thing, but non-communicable diseases are taking more lives than before. The present comprehensive policies and plans to deal with non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac attack need to be implemented better. He also stressed the need to make efforts to keep youth away from tobacco and alcohol.
Dr RP Mamgain, Head of the Department of Economics at Doon University, said that the hill areas of Uttarakhand could be developed by providing greater facilities across the 95 block headquarters of the state. With facilities like education, public health, government housing, agri business and IT services at the block headquarters, at least 500 people will get employment and the consumption of local products will also increase and the chain of development would reach the villages. The government could embark on the vision of creating 50,000 jobs at the block headquarter levels during the next five years.
Dr Mamgain said that the main reason behind Uttarakhand’s lopsided development is not making mountain-centric policies. Policies related to health, education, development and employment need to be made with a hill-centric mindset. Giving the example of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, he said that all revenues in this scheme are coming to the hospitals of the plain districts. He added that 50 percent of the graduate youth do not have employment in hill areas.
Hemant Kochhar, Chairman of PHD Chamber of Commerce, Uttarakhand, said that there is a need to make conditions conducive to industrial development in the state. He said that wherever industrial areas have been developed in the state, there is a great need to improve the existing conditions. These locations need basic facilities like better roads, truck parking, drinking water, food arrangements and basic toilets facilities.
Hemant Kochar emphasised on the need to develop skilled manpower, highlighting the need for greater coordination between academia and industry. He described tourism as the biggest industry of the state. With a big surge associated with tourist arrivals in the coming years, there is a need for improvement of public transport systems and other facilities. Hemant stressed on the need for labour reforms sharing the challenges associated with the 70% local staff regulation. He also recommended setting up support centres for industry and providing packages for film production.
Sanjeev Chopra, Festival Director at Valley of Words and former Director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration said that Uttarakhand has greater development potential than many other states and a substantial amount of work has also been done here. He said that, if the state has to develop all-round, then it is necessary that the development should start from remote areas and move towards the capital. He said that, if the government works with rules and adopts transparency, then many governance challenges could be solved. He advised the government to work towards making Uttarakhand the first BPL free state in the country.
Sanjeev Chopra added that world’s best models are available somewhere or the other in India and Uttarakhand should adopt these models. He described housing in urban areas as a major upcoming challenge and said that while making large scale housing plans, both affordability and quality parameters need to be kept in mind.
Anoop Nautiyal of SDC Foundation moderated the Uttarakhand@25 dialogue. Rashmi Chopra, Vishal Kala, Vikram Jeet, STS Lepcha, Sanjay Bhargava, Dr Mayank Badola, Anil Sati, Trilochan Bhatt, Sneha, Aman and others were present during the dialogue.