Date : 4th July, 2012 Place : Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar
On the Nirvan Diwas of Swami Vivekananda, Chief Minister addressed a young audience on July 4 at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar and launched eMPOWER campaign for providing quality computer education to the youth of the state. You can view the details on the event here.
- Technology becomes a part of social life as time changes and doesn’t require years to revolutionize the world.
- The entire world opines Asia will rule the 21st century, but no one knows whether it will be India or China?
- Well I would say India’s strength lies in its 65% of the population, as it is below 35 years of age.
- The need of the hour is to provide opportunity to the young and make them realise that the power to carve a better future for the country is vested in them.
- A drive to teach English to children has been launched and the number has crossed one lakh.
- The state government provided broadband connectivity to 18,000 villages.
Greetings to all the dignitaries and young friends gathered here today —July 4! 110 years ago, on the same day, India’s great son Swami Vivekananda left this world for heavenly abode. Swami Vivekananda once said his relationship with his body is very short-lived and passed away at an age of 39 years, leaving the world grieving after his untimely death. Swamiji had once said though he is here for a short time, but he will continue to remain present through his ideas. Several great leaders of India —Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and Arvindji expressed that younger generation also looks up to Vivekanandaji for inspiration. On his death anniversary, i.e. July 4th, we start an activity that will transform ideas into reality and the benefits will last for years to come.
Friends! Today’s programme is not just all about launching a new scheme. We have gathered here not just to make computer connections available all across Gujarat, but to make an attempt to connect the present generation with the future generation. Friends! The world has changed and if we defy those changes or don’t accept them, we will be left alone in the race towards achieving development. So not being a part of this race is totally out of question and will push the country into darkness. Friends! We have to vow to make India free from the clutches of backwardness and it becomes all the more important when we are celebrating Swami Vivekanandaji’s 150th anniversary. Every youth of this country dreams of carrying out his responsibility with the best of his efforts. With whatever quality God has endowed us with we shall put in our hard work and come out victorious in that task. This should be every youth’s dream today if s/he wants the nation to progress. We all will have to start afresh and get ready for a new beginning.
There was a time when great men like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and others had given a call for modern education and the society might have thought why the change was needed? But it is only because of those great souls that our society witnessed reforms. Ladies and gentlemen! After a span of 100-150 years, today we have technologies like Information Technology, Life Science, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology at our disposal. This ascertains one thing i.e. is technology today has become an inevitable part of our lives. Mankind too some an extent has become its slave and thus now it is impossible to imagine life without technology. Simply impossible! So when we say life seems impossible without technology today then why should India’s youth be left behind in making use of the same? How can India’s younger generation be not involved in technical aspects of an activity? It has to have its involvement in technology. Moreover the situation today demands accomplishment of any task in the most simplified way. It is required how to make technology easily available. Once a technology becomes accessible, people automatically learn how to use it. If you conduct a lecture in a classroom on how to use an ATM and withdraw money from it, I am sure students won’t understand the procedure. However, if you take the students to an ATM of a bank and carry out money transaction, I am sure the students will understand the procedure there itself. There are people around for whom mobile might have come as a surprise the first time they saw it, but now almost everyone, even the illiterates, own mobiles and know how to use one. Friends! I am aware of the extent to which technology today is taking over other things in lives. Once I went to a vanbandhu area of Kaprada taluka in Valsad district for inaugurating a chilling centre in a dairy. The area is entirely covered by forest and the chilling unit was built in a small room in the forest. Now as there was no place to conduct a meeting at the centre, the programme was held 3 km away on a school’s ground. Some 30-40 vanbandhu women, who collect milk, were present at the venue. The other programme was held 3 km away. We inaugurated the chilling centre and all the women at the inauguration had come dressed beautifully. While returning from the venue after the function, I saw nearly three-fourth of the women clicking photos from their mobiles. Vanbandhu women of an interior area of Valsad like Kaprada clicked pictures from the mobile phones!!! I got a bit curious and so approached them. I asked, “Ladies, what will you do after clicking these photos from your mobile phones?” They said they will get the photographs transferred to a computer and later get the printouts. A Vanbandhu woman, a mother or a sister, who distributes milk, has never attended school or gone to any college where she could learn what to do with photographs clicked with a mobile. But friends! She knows that the photo she is clicking from a phone can be transferred to a computer and later be collected in the form of a printout from the computer. This is how technology reaches out to people on its own. Technology becomes a part of social life as time changes and doesn’t require years to revolutionize the world around. Friends! If this is the trend being followed across the world, then why should we be left behind in catching up with it and moving ahead with our future plans?
Ladies and gentlemen! Today everyone is talking which nation or state will dominate the 21st century? The entire world opines that Asia will rule the 21st century, but no one knows whether it will be India or China? When competition is going strong between India and China, what are the factors in favour of India? Well I would say India’s strength lies in its 65% of the population, as it is below 35 years of age. Ours is a nation where the present and the future lies in the hands of the country’s youth. The need of the hour is to provide opportunity to the young and make them realise that the power to carve a better future for the country is vested in them. They should leave no stone unturned in shaping their dreams as well. Friends! China undertook a task 10 years back. The country aspired to rule the world in 21st century and so to accomplish the task the government of China thought of training its children in English and thus began an extensive campaign on the same. The government knew that it won’t be known as a world power unless it spreads its wings to other parts of the world too. The government was aware of the fact that power show only in China would not do any good to them. Thus the government worked in this direction accordingly. Friends! Gujarati is a global community. The state government launched a campaign via ‘SCOPE’ and as a result, the employability increased. Today if a person aspires to work in a mall and has studied till VIIth or VIIIth or Xth class, s/he will be hired for minimum salary, but the same person will be given more salary if s/he has undergone SCOPE training. A person trained in SCOPE will be good in soft skills. Friends! I want to say this with pride that during the golden jubilee year of Gujarat, a drive to teach English to children has been launched and the number has crossed one lakh. The drive is still going on.
Friends! We started a scheme called ‘Jyotigram’ to provide 24 hour electric supply to the rural areas of Gujarat. Several people thought that the government provided electricity so that the people in rural areas could enjoy television, but no! Millions of rupees were spent on ‘Jyotigram’ for a reason. After making available electricity to people residing in remote places, computer networks were installed. I would say computer hardware should be provided to schools, panchayats and other academic institutes among other workplaces. Gujarat government’s next target was connectivity. Friends! Most of you belong to rural background. The Government of India had declared in its previous budget that it would conduct a pilot project where 3,000 villages will be provided broadband connectivity. India has six lakh villages and out of those, the Indian Government’s pilot project planned to cover just three thousand villages. Now at this moment, I will say with pride that Gujarat government accomplished the same task four years back and instead of providing connectivity to just 3,000 villages it provided broadband connectivity to 18,000 villages! We provided the rural people modern day infrastructural facilities. Friends! Till yesterday, a bus conductor used to give ticket manually to the passengers. But, time has changed as now he issues ticket using a ticketing machine. All he has to do is press a button. The state has witnessed progress in every walk of life. Today we can see change everywhere. Children of poor families are getting jobs; they are not being exploited anymore; they possess an additional education or vocational certificate along with graduation degree and of all the things, they now earn more than before. The ‘empower’ scheme is a part of the campaign. Friends! The Indian government had thought of providing broadband connectivity to 3,000 villages, a year back. One and a half years have passed since the budget and so, I think an enquiry should be made to see why the beneficiaries have not yet been given what they were promised. The state government passed the budget in March end and today on July 4th we are launching the scheme.
Illiterate people feel embarrassed when in a group sometimes out of compulsion they have to talk about their educational qualification. Similarly, in the coming days if you are not computer literate, you will be considered an illiterate by people around you. I do not wish to see any young man or woman of Gujarat remain illiterate in the eyes of the world. Youngsters should be confident enough to answer any question posed to them. But my question to you all is from where will a poor child receive his education? If he wants to learn and a fraudster charges him Rs1,500 to 2,000 for an academic course, but later goes missing and never returns, what is the child supposed to do in a such situation? The underprivileged kid willing to study just got duped by a cheat. If a girl child or woman wants to learn, where will she go? All these questions forced the state government to come up with a solution. Thus, came into existence, an extensive campaign where people were and are taught at a nominal fee. Friends! What is the scheme like? Is it free for scheduled cast, or scheduled tribe, or OBC or women? What about those who can’t afford it? The answer to all these questions is one has to pay only Rs50! I am sure it increases a person’s worth as a professional in the market as one gets a certificate after completion of the course.
Friends! Few people might be surprised to know the secret of this scheme. I had told the government officers that the state has provided enough broadband connectivity and installed computers in villages and so now I want to see whether all these facilities are connected with the main stream or not. Thus, I insisted that the registration for this ‘empower’ training programme be done online and I am happy to tell you all that today by 5 pm, 1,04,000 people would have got their online registrations done. The more important is the fact that 84% registrations are from rural areas and 16% from urban areas. This shows that we have hit the aim. The scheme aims at spreading the idea to each house of every village. People in the cities are able to take advantage of the scheme because of the availability of facilities. The enthusiasm shown by 84% people residing in the villages proves that the scheme has been a success. Also, out of 1 lakh registrations received, 66% have been sent by males and 34% by women. Friends! It is indicative of a bright future and the fact that housewives, daughters, mothers and sisters of rural Gujarat have understood the importance of education in life, is indeed great news in itself. The advertisement of the scheme came today in the newspapers, but a mention about the scheme was once made during the budget. The news basically was spread by word of mouth as the state government didn’t launch a big campaign for it, but still we received an overwhelming response.
Ladies and gentlemen! It is certain that success doesn’t come for free and one has to have skills to succeed. We neither belong to affluent families nor did our ancestors leave a hefty amount of money for us. All that we have got is our talent and thus have to earn a livelihood out of this only. Now when we know that this is the only capital we have got, then we should try and increase it by all means. If we are able to boost the proficiency, we will succeed in achieving our goal of life. Friends! At the time when we came to power in 2001, there were only 442 units of technical education colleges in Gujarat. Today the figure has reached to 1700-1800. Also, there were only 11 universities in the state when we came to power. Today, there are 42 universities. For whom we have done all this? All these facilities are for the youth of Gujarat and all those sitting here today. There was a time when parents from a middle class family could never think of sending its children to a diploma or degree engineering college as the family would not have enough resources. What would they do to get the children into a college? They would often tell their children, “We can’t manage for your admission fees so you better pursue BA or B.Com and later look for a job as a clerk”. This way many dreams would come crashing! Friends! In past 10 years, we have built up our technical know-how so much so that in 2001 there were only 23,000 seats for diploma/degree engineering and today we have nearly 1,23,000 seats. The state government offers opportunity to every individual who wants to study. Even a child from a poor family is assured of a secured life. S/he will no longer have to depend upon others for earning a livelihood. Friends! There are children who have to quit their studies in the middle because of unfavorable circumstances at home. Sometimes, because of bad company too, children discontinue their studies. However, later as they realise the importance of education, they then join ITI. These students would then either go onto become a turner or a fitter or a plumber or a welder. Now, after spending considerable period in the profession, the poor fellows feel that this is the end of their dreams and there is nothing else that that they can do in life. Friends! Our government decided that no youth in the state should ever feel that his or her dreams can never be achieved. I will make him dream again and encourage him to start afresh a new life. Well, whatever happened in the past is not going to be repeated as we now assure the youth of the state a better future and friends! To achieve this, the state government has taken a bold step. If a student left studies after class 8th, and later completes two years of ITI, s/he would be given a certificate of class 10th. Similarly, if a student left studies after class 10th and later completes 2 years of ITI, s/he would be considered equivalent to a class 12th pass-out. Not only this, if s/he wants to go for diploma in engineering based on this, s/he can do so. And from there, if s/he further wants to join degree in engineering, s/he can do that also. Previously this would not be the case with students who left studies in the middle. Friends! I would say that all this has changed and for good.
Friends! I would make a request to all those present in the auditorium today and those pursuing ITI and youngsters sitting in remote education institutes that don’t stop dreaming. Hurdles might come your way and at times you might have to face failures, but in spite of all this, I will always ask you to pursue your dreams till you achieve them. Friends! Our state is committed to providing opportunities to the youngsters so that they are able to realise their dreams and fulfill wishes of their families. I would like to say here one thing that is God has given the same power to you and me. Never let this thought rule your mind that you have been endowed with less power than others. Friends! Dream, and be determined to make your dream come true.
This campaign has been launched from the state budget to coach and ready technical manpower in the state. This will be an added advantage to the state as it will speed up the rate of progress. Recently some 16,000 people were recruited in the Gujarat police, but at a condition that allowed only people with computer knowledge to apply for the post. Friends! I have pleasure in telling that today in Gujarat police there is an entire force of computer literate officials working at constable level. This way, the whole of the department has become technically sound and in coming days if things go on in the same manner, I am sure the state will progress fast! Friends, I have full confidence in the younger generation today and the state wants to move forward with such self-belief and strength. The youth of Gujarat is capable of getting desired results. Friends! Gujarat’s future looks promising and on this occasion I would say that you all are a party to it. Young Friends, I am always with you in realising your dreams. I am ready to work hard to make you achieve your destination. Our government is ready to walk that extra mile for realizing your aims, provided the youth takes a step ahead and walks with us hand-in-hand! Friends! I was not so fortunate when I was of your age. Nobody guided me and I had nobody to look up to for inspiration. Today the entire government is with you at every step. With this expectation from you all, please repeat after me…
Bharat Mata ki jai..!!
Friends! Close your fists and say with full strength.
Bharat Mata ki jai…!!
Vande Mataram… Vande Mataram… Vande Mataram..!!