Tech touch-up for young face

Ranchi, Nov. 15: Youth is the winning mantra for Jharkhand that celebrated the completion of 12 years today and stepped into its 13th with the exuberant zeal of backing the aspirations of its young citizens with technology and opportunities to earn.

The Arjun Munda government celebrated Foundation Day, 2012, by declaring 2013 as the Youth and Skill Development Year.

"Every matriculate in the state will get a tablet. In the next five years, the government will ensure that as many as 25 lakh youths are trained in vocations," said chief minister Arjun Munda before a 15,000-strong crowd at Birsa Munda Football Stadium, Morabadi.

Logistics needed to transform these announcements into actual reality may be daunting. But if the Munda government manages to pull it off, it will finally give Jharkhand a running start. Brain drain will reduce to a trickle if the economy gets a youthful makeover, thanks to skills and jobs.

Munda is also canny enough to know that the youth are also most unforgiving. If he reneges on promises, he and his government stand to lose credibility before first-time voters.

But buoyed by the positive response of the Mukhyamantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana and Bitiya Varsh 2012, Munda, indeed, did not elaborate on his promises to the youth.

In his precise 10-minute speech, he only said: "The government aims to give work to every hand and make youths and students employable. The state is holding talks with the Centre on gifting tablet PCs to every student who clears the secondary exam. It will ensure the youths are computer-literate and tech-savvy."

An insider told The Telegraph that they had requested Union HRD and IT ministries to provide low-cost tablet PCs at subsidised rates, the cost of which would be shared by the Centre and the state.

"According to estimates, we will distribute tablet PCs to seven lakh matriculates of JAC, CBSE and ICSE. The Centre is likely to give one lakh low-cost tablet PCs," said CM's principal secretary D.K. Tiwary.

In successive years, siblings of a student who gets a tablet PC won't be entitled to any more computers.

Munda added that his government was working out details under state skill development mission.

A snag in the public address system and failure of floodlights for well over five minutes during Governor Syed Ahmed's address were reality checks. It reminded those present that smooth execution wasn't Jharkhand's forte. Speaker and BJP veteran C.P. Singh said as much. "The government needs to complete projects by setting deadlines."

Both deputy chief ministers Sudesh Mahto and Hemant Soren said the state had achieved "much" but many tasks were unfinished. In keeping with the youthful theme, Mahto added: "Around 65 per cent of the state's population comprises people less than 40 years of age. Keeping them in the mainstream is a challenge."

State coordination committee chairman and former chief minister Shibu Soren added there was need to "know and preserve our identity".

Aerial show by Captain S.P. Sinha of civil aviation department, Odisha-based Prince Dance Group's riveting act to a patriotic medley, Jharkhand Armed Police synchronised band and live tableaux of students of DAV Gandhinagar School, ISM-Pundag, St Anne's Girls' High School, ITI and polytechnics, stole the show.

A video on achievers, including cricketers M.S. Dhoni and Saurabh Tiwary, hockey player Asunta Lakra, actor Priyanka Chopra and archer Deepika Kumari, and theme music Yuva Varsh added to feel-good factors of the five-hour show spearheaded by Mumbai-based event management firm Ferriswheel.

Emcee Mandira Bedi played the perfect hostess, TV stars Sanjeeda Shaikh and Aamir Ali added sizzle. But Bolly singer Kay Kay gave the much required pep with his all-time hit "Yaaron dosti."