Bihar will be main focus for development and politics of mergers
Sweta Ranjan | June 8, 2015
The assembly elections in Bihar are round the corner and parties are gearing up for action. After few hiccups, Sharad Yadav announced that RJD-JDU and Congress will fight the assembly elections in Bihar together. BJP is doing all kinds of calculations to make a statement in this poll. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a prominent face of BJP from Bihar and Union Minister for Skill Development shares the party’s poll strategy and performance of the government at the Centre with Sweta Ranjan.
What’s your assessment of Bihar assembly elections? You have said BJP is going to win on its own.
I am 100 per cent sure. First twenty five years saw Congress rule no outcome. This was followed by 15 years of Lalu Yadav what we call the Jungle Raj and 10 years subsequently of Nitish Kumar. Bihar has seen lots of configurations. Now that we have our government at the Centre it is possible Bihar will go this time beyond caste and local caste based combinations.
The RJD and JDU alliance is somewhere threatening BJP?
You see, Nitish Kumar had prepared a base against Lalu Prasad Yadav but the day he shook hands with Lalu Yadav his entire credibility has evaporated. Everyone in Bihar knows that to survive in power he is shanking hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav on whose opposition Nitish established his carrier.
But the day BJP tried to shake hands with Jitan Ram Manjhi even the BJP’s credibility was lost?
No, that was a political process we never tried to do that. He is on his own there is no partnership with Jitan Ram Manjhi. Manjhi was a face which was brought by Nitish Kumar after saying he is not going to accept Narendra Modi in government at the Centre. He was an ati-pichchda face which was thrown out. Manjhi has his own crusade and also wants betterment of Bihar so we cannot say he is bad simply because he is opposing Nitish Kumar. That will not be appropriate.
Where so you see Manjhi now in the pic….?
Whether he is there or not he is fighting against Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar which is very important and people want such forces to come up against them.
Who is the face of BJP in Bihar…..or I should rather put this differently…who is the CM candidate for BJP in Bihar?
As far as BJP in Bihar is concerned we have an established leadership at the state level. We definitely feel that they can handle the situation in Bihar. So, in that situation I feel Bihar BJP is a group leadership and we have leadership in state which is capable and they have people with lots of credibility and leadership.
You come from Bihar, what are your plans especially for Bihar as far as skill development projects are concerned?
Well we are going to roll out many more centres in Bihar and I am wanting to set the framework. In each parliamentary constituency, I have an idea to set a skill centre, possible of a basic standard. My focus is Bihar. There is a mismatch which is a big challenge to us.
One year of your government. How do you rate the performance?
Legislations of both national and international issues like black money and on the international borde have been okayed. Then coal bill and many more legislations like land bill which is almost on the verge of finalization are some of the instances of our commitment.
Now let’s talk about your ministry. Skill India programme is PM dream project what major policies, initiatives and policies have been drafted or adopted by your ministry?
I am proud I am handling one of the most challenging ministries because when we talk about skill development and we refer it to other countries of the world we have lagged behind 67 years. This was the far thought vision of the Prime Minister. If you look at the skills across the world, right now China with the population of almost1.4 billion people, 46 per cent of the workforce is skilled. UK about 68 per cent of the work force is skilled, Germany 74 per cent of the work force is skilled, Japan 80 per cent of the workforce is skilled. Korea, which the PM visited recently 96 per cent of the workforce is skilled. India has a dismal 3 per cent of skilled work force. A country with the population of billion plus people, a dismal three per cent is a challenge. We have spent lots of money, resources and time but possibly the link between education and skills have not been established. The basic framework of skill development in this country has started five months ago.
But this is an old hat which you are wearing….
It may be an old hat or I should say I am not wearing any hat as there was no office, no ministry, no set up, no secretary….it was a blank sheet of paper as far as skill development at national level is concerned. When I stepped in here…all 24 ministries under government of India were working in their own way.
There was no national occupation standards. There was no standardization of job rules. There was no qualification pacts which is an essential ingredient at the national level. The first challenge was to create national certification and the process of certification and the process by which we had to train, mobilize people for training, assessment and thereafter certification which is a huge task.
You talked of certification but does it not create any sort of confrontation with other ministries like HRD?
No, the whole training framework of skills whether HRD or whether Ministry of labour had to migrate to National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) and through a cabinet decision all training henceforth in this country have to align with the NSQF. So NCQDT which was with the ministry of HRD and NSQC which was ministry of labour have been merged to become NSQF. There is now one framework so there is no contradiction. In course of time, the certification done by National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) will also be aligned to NSQF. We have already moved in that direction. Meanwhile we are rolling out Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Kendra, I am redoing the best of ITIs and the biggest challenge today is creating institutions which are symbolic, second are assessers- who are going to assess them and the third is trainers.