Sports Ministry starts youth development plan in N-E region

New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) In a major initiative, the YouthAffairs and Sports Ministry has drawn up a programme for theskill development and employment of youth which will startwith the North-Eastern region soon.

As part of the project, a workshop would be organisedhere on February 4 for the Youth and Sports Ministers andother officials of the North Eastern states to work out thespecific programmes for the region.

New Sports Minister Ajay Maken told reporters that theage group of 15 to 35 constituted about 40 per cent of thecountry''s total population and it was imperative to provideopportunities and skill development programmes for them.

"The aim would be to make the youth a vibrant forceagainst all existing streams of divisive, extremist andseparatist forces," he said.

Giving details of the scheme, Maken said the the countrywould be divided into four parts for the programme -- Jammuand Kashmir, North Eastern states, Tribals areas and the restof the country.

Maken said the projects, in collaboration with FICCI,will start with the North Eastern region while theNaxal-infested tribal areas will be taken up next inMarch-April.

"We have to draw up new schemes for the youth as some ofthe schemes have become outdated. These are specificprogrammes and tailor-made for each region. The focus will beskill development and employment through sports," he said.

"If we can generate skill development programmes andemployment, the insurgency-related problems could also beaddressed. Unemployment is a root cause for such problems," hepointed out.

Talking about the north-eastern region, Maken saidinfrastructure has to be developed in the region. "In northeast, there is natural talent for sports. We have to use," heexplained.

He said after drawing up the programmes, he willapproach the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry forfinancial assistance.

Asked whether he has earmarked a specific budget for theprogrammes, the Minister said the financial details will beworked out at a later stage.

"That is the second stage, we will work that out later,"he said.

Maken admitted that many of the youth development schemessuffered due to lack of proper evaluation in the past.

"These schemes have been prepared in such a way that ithas an in-built system of evaluation. All the futureprogrammes will have these in-built system of evaluation sothat we are in a position to measure the output," he said.

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