JHARKHAND EYES Top Spot as Education Hub

Jharkhand government is working progressively on higher education and skill development sector. Our government will give skill development training to more than 20 lakh people in the next five years, says Raj Bala Verma, Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand in an exclusive tete-a-tete with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN)

What is your strategy for the development of Jharkhand? We want to see Jharkhand amongst the top developed states in India. And I believe that industrial investment is a major necessity to bring such development. That is why we are trying to get more and more investors in our state. Jharkhand is rich in minerals and human resources, I believe, it is one such state that will attract investors not only from India but across the globe.
Jharkhand has vast industrial and physical infrastructure.We are focused in providing a friendly business environment and necessary infrastructure for the industries to establish and expand.
You have initiated road shows called Momentum Jharkhand. How has been the response? To attract investors in Jharkhand, we have done road shows in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. We are getting good responses from all the road shows. We have received several proposals. We have already signed MoU with several private companies.
Through our road show in Mumbai, we have signed four MoUs in health sector and in IT sector we have signed three MoUs. The state government is also working in the right direction. With 40 percent mineral resources, I think, Jharkhand is prepared in the investment sectors.

In Mumbai, you have launched six policies on six different sectors. What are the characteristics of these policies?
In Mumbai, we have launched policies on Information Technology and IT Enabled Services (IT/ITeS), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Startup (best start-up policy among seven leading states in terms of ecosystem incentives), Electronic Systems Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), Automobile and Auto Components (best in class incentives for OEMs and ancillaries) and Textiles and Footwear.
We have given special incentives under all these six policies. In startups policy we have given opportunities to the young entrepreneurs. We have given special importance on the handholding and mentoring of the young entrepreneurs.
As far as Textiles and Footwear Policy is concerned, we have abundant raw materials and silk along with presence of a good number of quality handloom weavers and looms. We also have adequate skilled manpower at reasonable price. Several incentives under Jharkhand Industrial Park Policy 2015 are also applicable to textile sector.

Jharkhand is lagging behind many states in higher education and skill sector. What is your take on this?
It’s true, higher education and skill are the two major sectors, and we are really concerned with. It’s a fact that we are behind in these two sectors but under the leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister we are trying to overcome the problems and take the state ahead in higher education and skill development sector. I am happy to inform you that our state government will give skill development training to more than 20 lakh people in the next five years. We are opening new colleges and universities in our state. In the last six months, we have opened three new private universities which includes Amity and Pragyan.

Jharkhand building strong relationship with private sector and experts…

Jharkhand government seeks to foster strong relationship with private sector and experts for transforming the state as knowledge power house of east India in the next five years, said Jharkhand Chief Secretary Raj Bala Verma at the 7th World Education Summit recently.
In a special address, she said the Indian higher education is going through a dramatic transformation driven by country’s economic and demographic change.
“This is very encouraging data. However, there are challenges also which we will need to address. These challenges mostly are the supply and demand gap,” she said.
Mentioning that the low quality of teaching and learning is another challenge pending to be addressed, the chief secretary said: “The system is beset with issues of quality. In many of its institution a chronic shortage of teachers, poor quality teaching, outdated and rigid curriculum, lack of accountability, quality assurance and there is no separation of teaching from research.”
Highlighting the challenge of uneven growth and access to opportunities, Verma said: “Socially, India remains highly divided. Access to higher education is uneven, with multi-dimensional inequalities, enrollment across population groups and geographies.
“In Jharkhand, we are trying to address the challenges. The government of Jharkhand is also working towards provisions of quality, education to all its residents. We are trying to build Jharkhand the knowledge hub for higher education.”
“We have passed the Private University Bill, formulated to attract private players in universities. To promote quality technical education in the state, the government has constructed engineering colleges, 14 polytechnique and all these are being run in the private public partnership. The state of Jharkhand is in the process of also setting up a medical city near Ranchi.”
Verma said the Jharkhand government is also committed to leverage the ICT to improve teaching, learning processes in classroom, online training modules, smart classes, teachers in service and before service training. “These are the areas where the private sector can step Jharkhand in a big way.”
“The Jharkhand government is open to suggestions and ideas to improve. We look forward to partnering with the private sector. The state has taken decisive and firm action to facilitate participation and engagement of private sector. There is a single window facilitation to fast track the time and approvals of the private investment in the state,” the chief secretary said.

In February, you are doing Investors Summit at Ranchi. What are your expectations from such Summit?
We are all prepared to attract investors in Jharkhand. As I have told you earlier, we are giving special opportunities as well as incentives for the investors. We have created land banks so that the investors don’t face any problem as far as land requirement is concerned. We are expecting that investors from Indian and across the globe would definitely come and invest in the beautiful state of Jharkhand.
We have vast scope for mineral and mines based industries. In fact, we have already started getting good response in these two sectors. As far as Mumbai road show is concerned, we are expecting `60-70,000 crore investment opportunities including investment in power and cement plants.

What according to you at present is the biggest challenge for Jharkhand?
Getting investors in itself is a very big challenge. But we are prepared with proper strategy and planning. We believe that with the support of everybody we can overcome this challenge. To attract new investments, it is crucial for a state to communicate to the business fraternity.

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