Emphasizing that the Youth can be the game changer for Punjab, State Local Bodies, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the youth of Punjab has great potential but now it is high time to have a comprehensive policy and road map for giving direction to this bundle of energy.Batting for an effective Youth Policy, Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was addressing the educationists and students at the local VMS College in Batala durig inter college youth festival said, “The Akalis in the past ten years have left youth like rudderless ship. Time has come to change the things and give apt direction to the youth and change the fortunes of Punjab. Today majority of the population is young and we need to formulate a strong policy as per their needs to make them self-reliant and take this state forward.” The minister further said that the fact is that 58 percent population is youth and Punjab doesn’t have a Youth Policy. There is urgent need to deliver on this front and give youth of Punjab a road map.Stressing that there is a situation where Youth has degrees but not ample jobs, the Minister said that the youth of Punjab has changed the fortunes of the Western Nations by sheer hard work and direction there. Why this can’t happen here. We need to stand by the youth and create a congenial environment in Punjab to support them and make the best use of their potential, he added.
Emphasising that the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President has given a fresh breath to the Youth, Mr. Sidhu, said, “I would personally meet the Congress President and request him to observe March 23rd as the Youth Empowerment Day. I would also request the Congress President to come to Khatkar Kalan on March 23rd, the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.”Giving his vision for Youth, the Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “A policy must talk about cheap loans for higher education of youth, job opportunities, business options for youngsters and also ensuring that the promising youth is not stuck in ‘sarkari’ wrangles if they want to do a start up. We need to facilitate the youth as they are our future,” he stressed.The Minister also said that today we see long queues outside IELTS centers indicating that youth just wants to go abroad and we need to change this by creating ample opportunities for them here in Punjab.
We need to bring in maximum skill development centers, courses to make them self-sustained and rope in best of job opportunities. Also many youngsters are fleeced by travel agents and we need to stop this and ensure if some youngsters want to go abroad, government helps them, through right channels, added the Minister. Mr. Sidhu also divulged that today countries like USA, UK are spending more on youth policies and their education. Why can’t we replicate the same and ensure that no brain drain take place and our talent serves Punjab and the Nation, said the Minister. As USA, UK and some other developed nations spend 7 to 8 percent of their GDP on education, India spends around 3.5 percent and Punjab has no concrete figures, he added.The Minister also stressed that in the last Union Budget their were talks about setting up skill development centers all over the country, best of job opportunities and many other reliefs but still much of that stays on paper. The Minister further said that if we do not tap the potential of the youth now, then we will miss the bus. It is high time to channelize the youth and change the prospects of Punjab. Youth is immensely hard working, talented and has great fighting spirit but the only thing needed is giving them right direction.On the occasion, the students from various colleges showcased their talent in the cultural contests and brought various hues of the Punjabi culture to the fore. Among others present on the occasion included Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur Mr. Gurloveleen Singh Sidhu, SSP Batala Mr.Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, SDM Mr. Rohit Gupta, and Abhinav Sekhri.