K.P. Singh

Doors of empowerment opening for SC-ST youth, says Asim Arun

The Uttar Pradesh Government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken many steps to provide opportunities for empowerment to the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the state. These include scholarships, avenues for education and much more. In an interview, Mr Asim Arun, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Social Welfare, SC & ST Welfare, talked about the initiatives.

Q: What are the most important issues concerning SC/ST sections?

A: The three issues of education, health and employment are equally important for long-term empowerment of people in these sections. In education, there has been continuous work through the Ashram Paddhati schools, Eklavya Vidyalaya, Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya. Under the PM AnusuchitJaatiAbhyudaya Yojana, or PMAJAY, launched in June, entrepreneurship is being developed among the youth of SC section. It is an ambitious scheme and has made tremendous contribution in empowering these youth.

Q: How has digital initiative helped in making life better for these sections?

A: The digital initiative includes mainly direct benefit transfer or DBT and Aadhar seeding, mainly with the objective of ensuring that no eligible person is left out from receiving the benefits, and no ineligible person should wrongly benefit. For those having no access to a smartphone, we have encouraged Gram Panchayat Sahayaks, who are young boys or girls, who reach out to them and help with the digital work.

The CM Abhyudaya Yojana is about developing online content for candidates appearing in competitive examinations. It was launched during the peak of Covid pandemic to help students train for competitive examinations, and it has been a huge success. The government is upgrading it and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Ji has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for it, to develop better online content and learning systems, handing out tabs with net access to meritorious students.

Q: How do you rate the status of SC & ST sections in UP now, under the new government?

A: There has been significant improvement in areas of education, health and employment among the SC section of society. Apart from this, there are different schemes to help the poor and target these sections, such as free ration, PM Awas Yojana, CM Awas Yojana etc., to bring about improvement in their lives.

Q: What are the areas in which the UP government making focused efforts?

A: The government has been making focuses efforts on education, entrepreneurship, for which a large number of scholarships are being given to encourage them to complete and continue education. A lot of focus is on skill development among them. For encouraging entrepreneurship, the SC Vitt and Vikas Nigam, is the state channelising agency for PMAJAY. Very large-scale projects are in pipeline for creating more jobs and entrepreneurship for the youth of this section.

Q: Please tell us about the PRERNA series.

A:The PRERNA series began with my interaction with a slum girl from Lucknow, from a modest background who continued her studies with scholarship, and is now in Germany. The objective is to share inspirational stories with other students, along with short video interview. I hope to continue this as and when I come across more such inspirational stories.

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