It is but common that the cliché ‘resource-crunch state’ is used more often to describe Arunachal Pradesh in official as well as normal jargons. Chief Minister Pema Khandu today, however, objected to the tag terming it as misleading.
“See around us, we have abundant resources particularly in sectors like agriculture, horticulture, tourism, hydropower, mines and minerals. What we have failed is to tap these resources for our economic development,”.
we would be insulting ourselves if we say we are resource-crunch,” he said and appealed all, especially senior leaders, thinkers, bureaucrats and academicians to ponder on it and collectively evolve a sustainable policy to harness these resources.
He explained while speaking at an award giving ceremony here this morning at Banquet Hall organized by the Purvottar Janajati Shiksha Samiti, an affiliate of the Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan.
Khandu said the tag has been used so often that it has become a habit and come to an extent that people use it with pride. For him, the tag is in fact derogative.
He reiterated that that trend of utter dependence on the Central Government to meet the state’s need must be done away with.
“We cannot depend on the Central Government forever. We have to harness and encash our own resources and remove the resource-crunch tag,” Khandu urged.
Talking about the education scenario of the state, the Chief Minister said the number of schools have to be rationalized. He observed that the government has established too many schools and is unable to meet the requirements.
“There are schools which do not have any students. We need to close down such schools and focus our energy on the schools that are running well,” he pointed while inviting NGOs and voluntary organizations engaged in imparting education to take over government-run schools wherever feasible.
Khandu put stress on quality rather than quantity.
“Thousands of students graduate every year but hardly one or two clear the UPSC examinations once in two-three years. This shows the quality of education we are providing to our youths. Literacy rate is increasing each year but the number of literates with quality education is decreasing. We must reverse the trend,” he said.
Underscoring the role of teachers, Khandu said the state government has initiated steps to take due care of the teaching fraternity. The state government recently granted gazetted status to all PG teachers and increased the number of teacher’s awards to 60 from 30 awarded every year on Teacher’s Day.
Drawing attention to the government’s recent decision to relax the recruitment rule for PG teachers for Maths and Science streams in the ratio 50:50 that drew objections from few quarters, Khandu said this is a one-time relaxation only to fill the vacancies created by lack of teachers in these streams.
“The fear that 50 percent of the posts would go to non-APSTs is unfounded and misconceived. Let me clarify that 50 percent of the posts are not reserved for non-APSTs but is open to all while 50 percent is reserved only for APSTs. If our local youths are qualified enough they may be selected from the unreserved quota too. In any case APST candidates will always be given the first preference,” he disclosed.
The Chief Minister also expressed his reservation on the ‘no detention’ clause of the Right to Education Act claiming it has hurt the quality of education.
He pointed with the assurance that none will be detained in the primary level, students take it easy on studies and hence get stuck at higher levels.
“I have raised the issue with the Union HRD Minister, who intern revealed that similar complaints were coming from many states. Hopefully, Central Government will come up with an alternate soon,” Khandu added.