Bhubaneswar, August 19: On the 70th birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Former Minister and senior Congress leader Shri Niranjan Patnaik on Monday asked the country’s youth to play greater role in nation building.
In his message to the youth of Odisha, Shri Patnaik said that Shri Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister at the age of 40 and provided vision of a new and modern India of 21st century that lingers on inspiring hope, particularly among the youth. Rajivji gave India a head-start in IT. If India is ahead of the world in the IT sector employing millions of our youths in better paid job, the credit goes to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. When he talked about computers, very few understood and the opposition saw it as a youthful fancy. Similarly, he proposed constitutional amendment for a three-tier Panchayati Raj system in 1989, but the motion was defeated by the opposition. Today the same political parties, who opposed the constitutional amendment claim to have become harbingers of grass root democracy.
“Rajivji had particular love for Odisha and placed the development of the KBK region in the focus of central government policy. The turnaround in Kalahandi after the Indravati project bears testimony to his contribution to the state. Among the ideals that Shri Gandhi held was the idea of India as an inclusive nation of many religions, tribes, castes, languages and culture. In 1947 we divided India and increasingly divisive forces are becoming ever so active. We can be unmindful of the consequences of divisive politics at the peril of the idea of India that Shri Rajivji stood for,” Shri Patnaik said.
“The BJD government that has ruled Odisha has not created jobs for youth in the organised sector. If our youth manage unskilled jobs at minimum wages because of Centrally-sponsored schemes like MNREGA, Odisha’s fortune can hardly alter. Odisha failed to leverage its mineral resources by implementing the many large investments for which MoUs were signed. The potential job losses will be huge. Most of our youths have to leave Odisha in search of skilled and better-paid jobs because the state government has totally failed to create employment opportunities. Only 10 % of our graduates today get graduate-level employment and at this rate we are heading towards a crisis when the system would have totally failed to meet the aspirations of our youth by failing to create opportunities for harnessing their productive potential,” Shri Patnaik averred.
Shri Patnaik also said that way back in 1987 Rajivji gave an impetus to social sector investment with the technology missions, specifically the technology mission on literacy, which has now evolved as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Technology Mission on Immunisation, which has become the National Rural Health Mission and on drinking water, which has evolved to cover water and sanitation in rural households. He understood that the country had to deal with key issues of human resource development on a mission mode. But, despite increased Central Government support, the social sector management in Odisha in the last decade has been lackluster and mired in gross inefficiencies. The recent deaths of babies in Burla Medical College are evidence of the poor state of health care in the state.
“Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s ideals, vision and the youthful leadership have become ever so relevant today and must inspire the youth to reject divisive politics and contribute to the building of a modern nation. That will be the best tribute that we can pay to him. We must rise above petty politics and pledge ourselves to his ideals for a prosperous, modern, inclusive and youthful India,” Shri Patnaik added.