By Anand Singh
Ghazipur, Feb 16 (IANS) Eastern Uttar Pradesh, which has remained neglected for decades, has got a fresh boost in the form of an agriculture-based Centre of Excellence that aims to provide employment to over 25,000 people every year from 2023 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) campaign.
On Tuesday afternoon, the foundation stone for the Centre of Excellence was laid by Sanjay Rai, in the presence of seer Shankracharya, Uttar Pradesh ministers Surya Pratap Shahi, Upender Tiwari and BJP Lok Sabha MP Manoj Tiwari in Ghazipur’s Sahedi area.
In a candid interview to IANS on the sidelines of the event, Rai said, “Mahatma Gandhi, Madan Mohan Malviya and Swami Vivekananad always emphasised on Gram Swaraj. They always talked about improving the employment opportunity in rural areas so that the economy of the villages improves.”
He said, “It is the reason why I decided to come up with the idea of Centre of Excellence that will provide skill training to youths and ensure employment to them in their hometowns.”
Rai, who is former Managing Director of Kandla Energy and Chemical Limited and Rai Corporation, choose his ancestral district to kick off one of Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious ‘Skill India’ campaigns.
Rai has earlier also built agriculture incubator centre at Delhi Riding Club.
Stressing that Ghazipur has around 4.26 lakh unemployed youth, and the district lacks proper training to youth and farmers which results in less opportunities for the farmers.
He said that the Centre of Excellence focuses on providing quality training to people in the district.
“We have formed four verticals for agriculture — integrated agriculture, diversified agriculture, animal husbandry and the schemes of the centre for street vendors.
He said that about 93 per cent of youth vouch for a government job, which is quite tough to achieve.
“In the last few years the dynamics of the industry has changed. We have seen the emergence of the e-commerce players. Agriculture products which were earlier sold on streets have now reached malls. So there are plenty of jobs like for inventory management, store management, delivery boys and many others. So we have come here to provide opportunities to the youth,” he said.
Rai stressed that he aims to provide employment to the youth after identifying their skills.
He said that if one opts for agriculture, then the Centre will provide him training, seeds, irrigation system, crop protection.
He said “we talk of providing solutions from field to fork, which means that we will provide harvesting technology, segregate the produce, we will provide packing and delivery to the customers. And this will help in providing more opportunities to youths.”
When asked how many youths will be given employment opportunities, Rai said that it will work in a “bell” curve.
“It will work slow in first year, this year we aim to provide opportunity to 200 youth which will convert to 2,000 next year and to 20,000 in third year. And our Centre of Excellence has capacity to provide employment to 25,000 people every year,” Rai said.
To a question, if he plans to bring similar Centres of Excellence in other parts of the country, he said, “We have decided to run the centre here in Ghazipur for 1,000 days. After the success of this centre we will take it to other parts of the country.”
“We are saying 1,000 days so that we can work on the challenges and after it is successful, I will hand it over to the Prime Minister,” he said.
To a question, if there will be any fees charged from the youth, he said that there is no fee involved in this.
Sharing the model, he said, “Those who are coming for training will not be paid any kind of salary. And while learning at the Centre of Excellence they will be working here and the products made by them will be sold in the market for the earning.”
Talking about introducing the new street carts for the vendors, Rai said, “We have come up with modern street carts, which are not only well equipped but also ensure proper hygiene. In the next six months we plan to introduce such street carts in Ghazipur.”
He said that the work for building the centre will be completed by September this year.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])