Dr Mukul Sangma
chief minister Meghalaya
Dr Mukul Sangma is a great believer of change and while it has been just over a month that he has taken over as the state Chief Minister, he is already talking about rolling out quality education and health facilities to trigger high growth. Speaking to Pravin Prashant of e-Gov, this young and dynamic face of Meghalaya talked in details on how he intends to use ICT for governance and development.
The kind of bandwidth needed to attract big players in the IT/ITES is going to be crucial and we are looking at this issue aggressively.
We are impressed by your vision since you have been talking about growth and only growth for eliminating poverty alleviation, bringing new jobs, better education and health. How do you plan to make this vision a reality?
We have a multilevel approach to realise our vision. We have youth with different levels. For creating job opportunities for the youth we need to have different programmes to enable them to connect to the job market. Regarding employability, we are talking about employability in the government sector, non-government sector, farming sector and also self-employment opportunities through combination of skills, education and motivation. This will differ from person to person based on the level of education, knowledge and the level of motivation. Handholding needs to be done in case there is lack of motivation, in order to sustain the prorgramme.
I am identifying the employment areas based on the present job market and accordingly training the youth to fit themselves into the job markets within the state, outside the state or outside the country.
There is a need for outsourcing of youth training for different schemes be it information technology, health and farming sector. We will have to explore the possibility of building up quality manpower in these sectors and export such manpower wherever there is an opportunity for our boys and girls.
Are you planning to allocate substantial funds for capacity building in Meghalaya for verticals like health, education, hospitality and information technology?
We are aggressively focusing on capacity building for youth in Meghalaya for verticals like health, education, hospitality and information technology (IT). The State Government is providing substantial funds for capacity building in the State and I am presently working on the amount.
We are finalising target for capacity building, which we plan to achieve by FY 2009-10.
We are also planning to create Meghalaya as the education hub and for this we are creating a pool of youth teachers and also creating competitive environment for quality education and attracting students from different streams to Meghalaya.
Under your leadership, Meghalaya is actively looking to attract investment for IT/ITES sector. How are you planning to be a part of the complete eco-system for IT/ITES deployment in the state?
Apart from infrastructure, which includes bandwidth availability, our focus is on availability of trained manpower. IT/ITES companies need large pool of trained manpower. Since manpower retention is a big problem, thereore, our focus is to cater to their requirements by linking our policies to creating Meghalaya as the education hub and also focusing on capacity building programme.
Recently, the Planning Commission has finalised an Annual Plan of Rs 2,230 crores for Meghalaya. What are your priorities for FY 2009-10 as per the Annual Plan?
Regarding Annual Plan there are two important things: First, the whole amount must be available fully and it should be fully funded by the Planning Commission. Second, the amount released to the state should be timely so that there is timely implementation of schemes by the state and even the fund utilisation is high.
In the present Annual Plan we are focusing on Livelihood Programme, which focuses on the capacity building and skill development training programme for pursuing self-employment on a sustained basis. These programmes includes: hospitality, IT/ITES, sericulture, weaving, garment making, pisciculture, horticulture and allied sector of agriculture. The Livelihood programme focuses on youth, marginal and small farmers with special emphasis on women. This Programme is expected to generate 15,000 sustainable employment in FY 2010-11.
Another focus is to encourage investment in environment friendly industries like IT and hospitality sector. We are also focusing on sector specific handholding programmes to encourage local entrepreneurship. We are utilising North East Investment Promotion Policy (NEIPP) of the Government of India for attracting investment from outside.
Another priority we have put is to sensitise the community to climate change and its adverse impact. We are going with integrated rain water harvesting, water conservation program wherein it is expected that every basin will be properly surveyed and appropriate project will be taken up to recharge the catchment areas, including improvement of the qualityof river basin production of fish, irrigational purpose, promotion of eco-tourism, which can provide sustained income generation for the community.
We will continue to focus on infrastructure like road, power and airport. We are following up aggressively with the Government of India for having an appropriate railway network in the state. Regarding power, we have the potential of more than 3,000 MWs and similar quantum from coal based thermal project. There are are a number of projects which are coming up in the State and it is expected that the State will have affordable and quality power supply.
How are you planning to tackle the bandwidth issue for IT/ITES companies?
The kind of bandwidth needed to attract big players in the IT/ITES is going to be crucial and we are looking at this issue aggressively. We are planning to have a Green industrial-cum-IT hub, which will be sufficient infrastructure for all kinds of IT/ITES activities.
How are you planning to use ICT in Meghalaya to provide better governance to your citizens?
I am planning to create an ICT environment so that citizens can draw maximum benefit in terms of G2C (government to citizen) services and it also improves delivery of services to the citizens. We are planning to use technology for efficient and transparent governance. Inclusive politics involving all communities of the State in various developmental programmes, which itself can be a mechanism to ensure transparency and more effective delivery mechanism for various government programmes. We are accordingly preparing a road map for development in an integrated manner for each constituency and we will monitor the milestone set to achieve this goal.