By Bhanu P Lohumi
Focus to be on integrating sports, tourism, agriculture, horticulture and skill development
Shimla: With focus on youth development, the Himachal Government is contemplating to roll out a comprehensive policy, integrating sports, tourism, agriculture, horticulture and skill development to widen the scope of employment and self-employment opportunities.“Unemployment is a major concern which has to be addressed urgently. The government is open to innovative ideas, contributing to the all round development of the state with active participation of youth,” said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while talking to The Tribune.
Thrust would be on youth affairs and sports and the new policy being drafted would serve as road map for sustainable development by establishing connect between youth and sports activities. This would be reflected in the budget also, he maintained.
“Traditional games like kabaddi, kho-kho, hockey, wrestling, etc, which are also part of our heritage, will be encouraged and popularised and the youth icons who have brought laurels for the state in sports, entertainment, academics and other fields may be invited to become brand ambassadors.
“The new youth and sports policy will be finalised by May 31. The government is also mulling setting up a sports university”, Jai Ram Thakur said.
He added that measures like constitution of sports council with more powers and funds, filling of 112 posts in Youth Services and Sports Department, increasing the sports welfare fund and making sports activities an essential part of co-curricular activities would also be undertaken.
Himachal has the potential to emerge as “model in skill development” with active participation of youth at all levels. Thrust would be on upgrading and honing the skills of the youth to make them self-reliant so that more self-employment avenues are opened for empowerment of youth, he said.
He said the government would chalk out a plan under which brand product for every district would be identified and promoted under Skill India. Himachal being a “youthful state” with 35.25 per cent young population against 34.80 per cent at national level will make all possible efforts to derive maximum benefit from the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
The scheme envisages providing an umbrella framework to all skilling activities being carried out within the country, to align these to common standards and link skilling with demand centres. The state government has introduced a Skill Development Policy to guide the reform and scaling up of skill development efforts in the state on the same analogy. So far, 1, 85,326 persons have been benefited to the tune of Rs 156 crore, the CM said.Sources in the government said Rs 640-crore Asian Development Bank-funded skill development project is near finalisation. While the previous Congress government earned the sobriquet of “government of retired and tired officers” for appointing a large number of superannuated officers, the focus of the present government is on development of youth and most of the key functionaries, including ministers and other officials appointed by the government, are young.
Key features of the policy
- Traditional Indian games will be encouraged
- Rs 640-crore Asian Development Bank-funded skill development project near finalisation
- Government mulls setting up of sports university
- Himachal is a ‘youthful state’ with 35.25 per cent young population against 34.80 per cent at national level
- Hence, govt will make all possible efforts to derive maximum benefit from the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
Source: The Tribune