April 7th, 2012
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Youths attempt to bring about ideology change in Naxal areas

Maoist naxal issues New Delhi: Young  professionals and  graduates aged between 22 and 30 will work in the Naxal-affected region for two years to bring about a change in their thinking. This initiative is a part of the Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellows Scheme (PMRDFS) to be formally launched in Hyderabad on Saturday. A total of 156 youngsters will be part of the first batch of the project which will cover 78 districts affected by Maoists. The aim of the unique scheme is simple.

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the thought that led to this project is, “If the Maoists attract youth through their ideology, then the government has to counter that in a similar way.” “The scheme is one way of gaining back the confidence of people in the Naxal areas. It is necessary to create a perception change among the youth,” he added. As many as 8,600 applications were received for 156 posts, and the applicants ranged from social workers to IIM graduates to IT professionals, Mr. Ramesh said.

Union Minister of Rural Development Mr  Jairam Ramesh announced a scheme of PM’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDF) for deploying young professionals in each of the IAP districts to assist the District Collector on 13th of September, 2011. The fellows will basically function as development facilitators, assisting the Collector and his/her colleagues by actively pursuing a district programming approach. They intend to build a set of supportive actions such as building the capacity of district and block officials; triggering district-wide social mobilization processes particularly among the youth; achieve a ground swell of support and build strong relationships with the Panchayats.

“A Collector has a lot of responsibility, and the Fellows, with their experience and training, will help in the development process that includes planning and monitoring,” Mr Ramesh said. The Ministry is set to spend Rs 60 crore on the scheme, with stipends amounting to Rs. 53 crore and the training cost Rs 6.5 crore. The Fellows will be paid Rs 50,000 in the initial two months of training to be organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and then Rs 75,000 for the rest of the fellowship period.


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