Here We Go Again!!!
- by Amit Barui *
In what happened to be one of the
rarest occasions of my life, I had a direct encounter with Mr. Mani Shankar
Aiyer, the Honorable Minister of Sports & Youth Development. Mr. Mani Shankar
Aiyer was invited as the chief guest of an inauguration ceremony organized by
Smile Foundation India.
The ceremony was organized to
launch Smile's Twin e-learning program at the national level. The Twin
e-learning project aims at preparing urban under-privileged (adolescent youths)
with skills in English Proficiency, Basic Computing and Life Skills for
enhancing their prospect of employment in fast expanding emerging sectors like
retail outlets, hospitality and BPOs.
Students of IMI were closely
associated with Smile Foundation during the development stage of this project
and are still attached with the organization for customizing the training module
according to the specific requirements of the potential recruiters which include
Reliance Retail, KFC and Pizza Hut, to name a few. The course curriculum to be
used to train the youngsters has been indigenously developed by students of
IMI-PGPHRM Batch of 2008.
The inauguration ceremony was a
part of two days meet between the various partners of Smile including NGOs from
different states, government organizations, industrial partners and, of course,
IMI (represented by me). The main agenda of the meeting was to discuss and
develop a roadmap for the implementation of the project. On Day One, various NGO
partners of Smile sat together and discussed about ways to garner mutual support
for making the project a reality. On Day Two, Smile Foundation and its
confederation of NGOs sat directly across Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer and the
industrial partners and shared there expectations from each other in context of
Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer
congratulated Smile Foundation for successful implementation of the project in
39 centers across the country. He was all praises for Smile Foundation for its
well-timed initiative. He assured Smile Foundation of all the help required from
all three ministries headed by him namely the Youth and Sports Ministry, the
Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Development of North East States.
Mr. Aiyer further emphasized that
youth development is the crux of national development. Quoting facts from the
World Bank report, he said that 40% of the GDP growth rated in the South Asian
nations like Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia is dependent on the youth population.
In India, 77% of the population
is below the age of 35 years. The average age of Indians is 23 years which meant
that a bulk of population consists of young adolescents. A focused effort on the
development of this age group would put us on the track of emerging as one of
There have been a number of programs initiated by the government to address this
concern. Although these projects look theoretically very viable and productive
on paper, not many of them seem to be moving. The minister took names of several
projects and initiatives where the involvement of trained and educated youth is
required at the grass root level. He asked Smile Foundation to contribute a
chunk of its product (i.e., youths trained through the Twin e-learning program)
to these causes.
"We need the help of Smile and
its confederation of NGOs," said Mr. Aiyer.
During a small but worthwhile
interaction with me, the Minister thanked the students of IMI for contributing
for this noble cause. He patted my back, as a gesture of appreciation of sincere
efforts by our team. Mr. K. K. Verma, President of Smile Foundation, during his
public speech, acknowledged the contribution of student team of IMI, Prof.
Bhupen Srivastava and Prof. Mamta Panda for their invaluable contribution
towards the development of this program.
So Kudos to IMI! We are not only
being recognized in the corporate circles but also in bureaucratic circle as
well. Keep going...