Human Resource, economics says, is the most important of all things required for an economy to grow. India, a joke says, is country where it is easier to find God than to find a place where there are no people. So huge is our ‘Human Resource; that we account for close to 17% of the world’s population and as per an estimate, every third child born in the world is born in India. In such a situation, the role of the HRD ministry becomes extremely important. With the news doing round that HRD ministry will not intervene in the tussle between UGC and DU, it becomes imperative to find out what exactly is this ministry going to intervene in, i.e. what are the major concerns facing our brand-new HRD minister, Ms. Smriti Irani.
The biggest concern is literacy expansion. Although the census estimates put literacy rate in India at around 75%, independent observers argue that the definition of literacy that the government employs (a person who has attained skill in reading and writing simple text) is quite rudimentary and thus inflates the actual figure.
Another concern is the plight of Polytechnic institutions. There are about 1244 polytechnics in India with an intake of 1,33,880 students annually. This situation in a country where an estimated 700 million people will join the workforce by 2020 is worrisome. Given the severe handicaps of our regular educational system, it is imperative that alternate skill development via polytechnics is encouraged.
This engenders the next issue, i.e. the plight of our conventional educational system. It is no secret that the infrastructure in terms of furniture, classrooms, teachers and even washrooms is conspicuous by its absence in most government-run schools; in a low income country like India-where the masses cannot afford expensive private education- government education provisions become extremely important for the children and to secure the future of the nation. After all, if our children aren’t properly educated they become a drag, not a resource.
A unique concern is education in conflict areas. Close to a half of the nation’s land area is currently marred by conflict (including Kashmir, the north-east and Naxal afflicted areas) and education and skill development of the populace take a back seat there.
Clearly, issues abound and the lady at the helm, Ms. Smriti Irani has all eyes on her that want to know how these issues will be handled. With a birth-date of March 24, 1976 the ruling number for the HRD minister is 6, luck number 5 and sun sign Pisces. Her numerological and astrological profile present a person who is quick to think and act in independent capacity and is extremely determined in implementing decisions. While these qualities indicate quick action on the aforementioned issues, her sun sign gives an idealistic touch to her ideas and such idealism has little place in politics. With the two seemingly contrasting traits at work here, it would be interesting to see where the ministry goes on these issues in the future!