Lack of interest from youths mars ‘Biju Yuva Vahini’ plans

Bhubaneswar: The State government’s plans to constitute Biju Yuva Vahini (youth brigade) seems to have hit a snag as not a single matric-qualifed youth from many Tribal Sub-plan (TSP) blocks of Odisha has shown any keeness to join the brigade which aims to promote youths at grassroots level to become part of various social and community engagement activities.

The government had earlier issued a guideline that matriculate boys and girls should be selected as office bearers of the Biju Yuva Vahini. With no matric-qualified youths from TSP blocks coming forward, the Sports and Youth Services department in a letter to all district collectors has instructed to withdraw the minimum educational qualification criteria.

“As the minimum educational criteria fixed for selection of Office Bearers (President, Secretary and Treasurer) of Biju Yuva Vahini is Matriculate (10th Pass) as mentioned in the Operational Guidelines (Sec 5.1 – Eligibility Criteria); it is now amended to waive off the minimum educational qualification for the Office Bearers in Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) blocks which will enable selection of office bearers and formation of Biju Yuva Vahinis in these areas” [SIC] read the letter.

It is being speculated that the youths in the tribal-dominated areas have perceived political undertones of the ruling-party behind formation of the youth brigade. Instead of wasting their time in the brigade they have decided to focus on their career, said sources.

“The youths are not interested in joining the Biju Yuva Vahini as they are worried about their careers. Their education and future is more important for them, therefore they have not registered in the Biju Yuva Vahini,” said a youth from Sundergarh, Manas Ranjan Tandi.

Few MLAs of the ruling-BJD in coastal and western districts of Odisha have pulled up their sleeves for formation of the youth brigade. They are organising meetings at the panchayat levels, informed sources. Earlier posters carrying BJD symbol were circulated inviting applications from youths but now the BJD is pushing own party members to join the brigade, said sources.

Opposition parties have alleged that the State government has formed the brigade for political gains.

“The intention of the Biju Yuva Vahini is to prepare a platform for the upcoming elections. They are claiming the selected youths as members of BJD rather than declaring the program a government scheme. It is an attempt to use them during elections,” said senior Congress leader Taraprasad Bahinipati.

“Educated youths are not interested to join this scheme of the State government. The BJD should learn from this that how much the educated youths are attracted towards the party,” said BJP spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra.

On the other hand BJD spokesperson, Raseswari Panigrahi said “Youths may be busy in their studies therefore may not have submitted their applications. There are many other highly educated youths who have submitted their applications. ”

The State government has plans to induct 8,000 youths in the Biju Yuba Vahini. As per the scheme youth clubs constituted under the program will be provided with a one-time financial assistance of Rs 15,000 each and the government has allocated a budget of Rs 450 crore for three years.