Goa policy roots for patriotism; Congress raises doubts
If Goa's sports and youth ministry has its way, youngsters in the state will soon get an extra dose of patriotism and nationalism and reinforce their love for their motherland. A draft state youth policy will also train them to use the social media 'ethically'.
The opposition Congress party has raised serious doubts about the Bharatiya Janata Party's draft Goa State Youth policy, which has been now made public and kept open for suggestions from the general public.
"Erosion of nationalist values in the minds of our youth is an issue of great concern. It is the inherent need of the hour to correct this scenario and inculcate values of nationalism, patriotism and the sense of belongingness to our motherland," the draft policy states, listing 'Nationalist Values' as the first thrust area which requires attention.
The draft at the same time also calls for creating a common platform for social intolerance and inclusiveness. The draft youth policy targets youth up to the age of 35 years who represent nearly 40 percent of the state's population, over a three-staged process ranging from one year to five years for social percolation of the policy's vision.
Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar's draft document also aims at creating "an environment that is conducive for inculcation of rich nationalistic values and patriotism among Goan youth".
The Congress, however, claims there's something foul about the "glib" nature of the policy's stated objectives, which it says have not been clearly articulated.
"It raises serious doubt because there have been saffronisation attempts made across the country by the BJP. The government should make it crystal clear what they are exactly intending to do," party spokesperson Durgadas Kamat told IANS.
The draft policy also aims at making youth "responsible" vis-a-vis the use of the powerful social media.
"Providing exposure to youth in responsible and ethical use of social media" is one of the key recommendations made in the document.
The measures, the policy document says, will help create an "evil free society", without clearly articulating the nature of societal evils confronting the youth.
"To create awareness about hazards associated with social evils and vices and reduce the same to minimal," is one of the objectives of the vision document.
The Congress claims that educated youth in Goa know the difference between "what is good and bad for them".
"Probably the BJP should teach its members how to ethically use social media. We have seen how the social media was used during the 2014 Lok Sabha election... Morphing of photos was at its height. They even uploaded morphed photographs of Narendra Modi sweeping the floor to convey his simplicity," Kamat said.
Efforts made to contact Tawadkar over two days did not yield response. The minister also did not respond to messages left with his personal secretary, seeking his comments on the document.
Early reactions from civil society to the draft youth policy appear to point to an element of an unpleasant surprise.
"After I read this line about Goa's draft policy for its youth: 'Erosion of nationalist values in the minds of our youth is an issue of great concern', I had to stop and restrain myself from puking. Why do I hear the drums of Hitler's Youth Squad all over again?" says social commentator and writer Selma Carvalho on her Facebook page.
The draft policy also makes a few well-applauded points, which includes sensitizing youth against crimes against women with an aim to creating zero tolerances towards offences against women.
The policy also calls for furthering the spirit of innovation, creating awareness about conservation of bio-diversity and environmental sustainability and imparting skill-based education.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 04-09-2014)