`Ek teer do nishaane’ is what I advise when it comes to solving two major problems facing Andhra Pradesh and India.
First target concerns education and lack of text books. Every year at this time (June-July) children and parents are excited about the reopening of schools with parents buying new dress, bags for the children and the young ones happy to enter a new class and interact with new teachers and tell their friends how they spent their summer vacation.
But the downside is the shortage of books. This despite the Right to Education Act, which gives every child the opportunity for free and compulsory education. Parents complain about not having textbooks because the printing has not been done on time. If this is the scene in the cities and towns, you can well imagine the plight in the rural areas.
Second target is unemployment among the people living with disability (PwD). We talk about inclusive growth but socially, politically or economically, we have not accepted it and taken it seriously. Unemployment and lack of opportunity for our PwD friends in India is a huge problem and Andhra Pradesh fares no better. To bring them into the mainstream, we need to create jobs and that has to be done and supported by the government.
So the arrow to hit two targets: So what can be done to address both the lack of text books and lack of opportunity to our PwD friends. We see every year text books are printed by the government press and the efficiency of government printing press is much less than desired. Why not outsource it to others or why can’t government open new printing press centres which are exclusively run by our PwD friends. Government through vocational training can train them and then recruit them for this job. In fact there are organizations that are already training our friends in these skills.
I want to clarify that I am not undermining or underestimating the abilities and potential of our PwD friends. They can do wonders and are efficient. This is one way to create employment opportunity for them. And it doesn’t have to be school textbooks alone. It can be extended to different areas of publishing. This will also help the government achieve the target of creating employment opportunity for five lakh people every year, as stated by the AP chief minister last week.
Does the government have the will to think out of the box?