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YOUTH WELFARE CRUCIAL TO PROCESS

Scribes must take a few things with a pinch of salt. One of them is the celebrity promises. Often leaders, in the initial flush of enthusiasm, share their cell numbers with great aplomb, but seldom respond to or return the calls. Hence, the minister’s a long distance call was certainly overwhelming. Yes, that is the surprise Minister Kollu Ravindra springs, offering to fill in the gaps in an unfinished interview. A day earlier, he was in Vizag to inaugurate the Kommadi stadium and address a meet on “Implementation of Apprenticeship Scheme in Andhra Pradesh,” organised by APSSDC and CII. Interestingly, the meet took place close on the heels of announcement of the state topping the Ease of Doing Business index for States, So, it was an elated and confident Ravindra we had met and he zealously listed all the good things happening in the state, especially for the youth.
He may have his hands full with an impressive array of portfolios- Law and Justice, Skill Development, Youth, Sports, Unemployment Benefits, NRI Empowerment and Relations, but here he talks about youth affairs and sports.

EXCERPTS
Finetuned focus
When it comes to youth activities, “All work and no play” is not at all acceptable. It is imperative to get them exposed to adequate physical exercise and academics for their all-round development. So, we give equal importance to both the fields. The government floated Gandeeva Project to encourage the budding sport talents in rural areas. We shall select 100 persons from each village to provide special training in various games and sports.

Sports Cities
Visakhapatnam, Amaravati and Tirupati are to be developed as sports cities and each Assembly constituency will have a mini-stadium. Ten academies are coming up at various cities and towns. Among them are four unique water sports academies.

Facelifts & facilities
Appropriate infrastructure is imperative to train the youth. The Rs.2.40 cr-complex, standing on five acres of land in the outskirts of Vizag is one such initiative. We have allotted 400 acres in Amaravati exclusively to develop infrastructure. Efforts are on to develop Guntur’s Brahmanada Reddy Stadium on private public partnership mode. The Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh and Vijayawada Municipal Corporation are working in tandem to give a facelift to all the stadia in the district. We want to make the state fit enough to host national and international events.

Beyond cricket
We understand the national obsession for cricket. I myself am an ardent cricket fan and player too. But we realise the need to give equal importance to other genres and encourage sportspersons from them. We have set ambitious goals and are working towards them. For example, the first phase training will be given in hockey, football and cycling at the Kommadi Stadium.

Job-spinning industries
Ours is the sunrise state. We go for industrialisation in a big way. We shall attract investments from across all segments in order to create more jobs. The general belief is that the IT industry hogs all the attention. But believe me, we want to encourage enterprises from all sectors to invest here.

Skill development
Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu is keen on training the youth to provide them jobs in manufacturing and service sectors. We want the students to be absolutely employment-worthy by the time they emerge out of the educational institutions. To achieve that, it is not enough for them to acquire the theoretical knowledge which anyway the colleges and universities impart. They need to identify their aptitude and get trained in their chosen fields.

Unemployment allowance
We are going to implement an unemployment allowance scheme shortly for 10 lakh people in the age group of 21-35. We want to devise a scheme where the beneficiaries will be trained in various fields - half of them in horticulture, agriculture, sericulture and aquaculture.

Welcome decision
The central government has allocated Rs.10,000 cr for the apprenticeship scheme. But with dismay we notice that the states have availed only Rs.200 cr. out of it in the past two years. This speaks volumes for the lukewarm response the scheme got. I welcome the Centre’s decision to address concerns raised by us and other states on the implementation of this scheme. Hope it will be made more beneficial to the unemployed youth. 

Success stories
State bifurcation left us with very little resources and infrastructure. Yet, we overcame many challenges and created a great ecosystem. We could restore the glory of the Hud-hud-battered Vizag within a year; satiate the decades old thirst of Rayalaseema and register highest growth rate in agriculture- these are a few to name.

Tip to aspirants
We are in need of new blood and students should be involved in politics, without of course neglecting their education. There are plenty of opportunities out here and it is upto them to grab them.

Personal note
I take it as my privilege to represent my native place Machilipatnam, where I was born, brought up and educated. Though it became a municipality 150 years ago during the British rule itself, it has remained undeveloped. I am striving to resolve a few issues that are coming in the way of its progress.

Political arangetrum
Deeply interested in welfare activities, I always wanted to be in the political field. Hence, though I studied law, I never practised. I joined TDP and was chosen as the president of party’s Machilipatnam youth wing. Though I could not make it in 2009, I remained undaunted and contested again in 2014. I not only got elected but also bagged a cabinet berth with two portfolios- Handloom and excise, BC welfare and empowerment. Only in the last year’s reshuffle I am given the portfolios I hold now.

Family
My wife Neelima is the daughter of ex-minister Mr.Nadakuditi Narasimha Rao. She is familiar with the package a political leader comes with. She takes good care of my home and our sons Punith Chandra and Jishant Chandra.

 
 
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