The Opposition has tried to corner the state government on uterus scam. What is your stand on the issue?
Most surgeries were done to remove uteruses and claim insurance amounts under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). It’s a central government scheme, as part of which 1.28 crore families were issued smart cards to avail of treatment and diagnosis in more than 1,100 diseases. The cards were issued in the names of family heads.
In Bihar, 19.78 lakh families were issued smart cards and uterus removal surgeries were conducted on 16,000 women living below poverty line. The claim amount was Rs 30,000 each. The first unlawful case was detected in Samastipur and licences of eight private nursing homes were cancelled following reports of similar instances.
The issue of child labour is a major issue. Children are still found working in roadside dhabas and hotels and as domestic servants. What is the government doing to stop this?
The number of child labourers in the state has come down in the past few years because of various awareness programme carried out by our government. Besides, the state government has taken steps in constituting flying squad to eradicate child labour from the state. Members of the squads carry out raids to free children employed as labourers and file cases against their employees. Besides, we have proposed to strengthen the Integrated Child Development Scheme and issue ration cards among needy families with children.
on the ebb’
What new steps the government is taking to create awareness about child labour?
Awareness programmes will be carried out at the district-level with special focus on the weaker section of society. Moreover, at regular intervals, similar programmes will be held at the state- and district-level. The government is sensitive to the rights of the children and for that it has set up the Child Labour Commission. Besides, vehicles carrying posters against child labour plying on the roads creating awareness about child labour at the block- and panchayat level.
Migration of labourers from Bihar to other states has been a major problem. How is your department taking up the issue?
There has been a sharp fall in figures of people migrating to other states in search of jobs. This has happened because of various development activities. In the past few years, there have been several road construction projects — both national and state highways. The labourers who earlier had no option but to migrate to other states have got jobs in such projects. Besides, a large chunk of labourers is engaged in rice mills that have come up in the Bhojpur area.Better monitoring of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has also helped in checking migration.
We have come to know that big farmers in Punjab and Haryana are facing difficulties in getting labourers to work in their field as large chunk of Bihari workers, who earlier used to migrate, have have stopped going to these states.
But what will happen once these construction projects end?
I agree that construction work in any particular region will stop and people from that area will be jobless then. Keeping this in mind, we are running various skill development programmes for them. The labourers are getting skill development training at Industrial Training Institute and under modular employable schemes of the Union government. Similarly, the state government is running 40-50-hour training programmes for skilled labourers like electricians, carpenters and plumbers.
About politics... the BJP has distanced itself from partner JD(U)’s demand for special status. Why is it so?
Every party has its own agenda and programmes it is not mandatory for its partners to follow the same views. However, it doesn’t mean that the BJP is opposing the JD(U)’s demand for special status to Bihar. We all know that that if the Union government accords Bihar the special status, it will ensure more funds and all-round development for the state.
What is the BJP’s expansion plan in Bihar?
The BJP is working hard towards strengthening its base across the state, particularly at the panchayat level. The party regularly organises membership drives. We are trying to reach out to various sections of society, especially the Mahadalits and Other Backward Classes. The aim is simple, to reach out to the mass.
You started your political career as a student leader. But present day students leaders are not as disciplined as you might have liked them to be. How do you react to the change that has taken place since you were in student politics?
Yes. This is a cause of concern. In the past few years, the relationship between students and teachers has worsened. During our days, even if we protested against various issues, we respected our teachers. Whenever the teachers came out of colleges, we used to cordially greet them. But the situation is no more the same. The main reason leading to this trend is that students are now left with only classroom teaching. But when we were students, our teachers used to engage us in various various extra-curricular activities, including social and cultural functions.
What would you have been if not a politician?
If I were not a politician, then I would have been a university teacher or a doctor. It was my dream to be a teacher or a doctor.
About Janardan Singh Sigriwal.
He is one of the frontline leaders of the BJP from the Chhapra-Saran region. His political career started as an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad member during his days as thra college student.
Since then, Sigriwal is associated with the BJP. Born in a farmer family at Baniyapur in 1959, he did his matriculation from a village school and completed his masters in political science from Rajendra Mahavidhyalaya. He formally joined the BJP in 1980 and is a four-time legislator from the Chhapra-Saran region.
At present, Sigriwal represents the Chhapra constituency in the Assembly. He lives in a joint family and has three sons and a daughter.
Narendra Modi enigma
Why top BJP leaders in the state have not come up
to defend Narendra Modi even as JD(U) leaders have
been targeting him on various issues?
No comment on Narendra Modi. The Gujarat chief minister is a national leader. Though BJP leaders from Bihar are not openly come out in the open to defend Modi, the party’s central leadership comes out in his support whenever anybody attacks
the chief minister.