The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dreams crash for tech band
- Tribal youths face uncertain future after completion of computer course

Jamshedpur, March 18: They may have become computer savvy, but the fear of remaining jobless still haunts the 18-odd tribal youths who successfully completed training at Bharat Sevashram Sangha.

Six months ago, when the youths enrolled on the course, which was held under the Meso Project of the state welfare department, they were promised the moon. Sources said the state government had apparently assured them of 'all possible help' in getting jobs. Besides, they were promised computers and loans from cooperative and Gramin Banks to start small business ventures after their training. But the promises turned out to be empty.

Six months on, the youths are staring at an uncertain future. Nothing has changed since the time they enrolled on the course. Looking glum at the graduation ceremony on Thursday, Ramdas Hansda, a resident of Patamda, said: 'I am going back to my village empty-handed. When the training begun, we were promised plum jobs. But now all I have is a certificate to boast.'

Similar sentiments were echoed by the other youths. 'All we have got is the certificate. How will that help in this age of cut-throat competition. We were promised jobs in government offices. But where are the jobs now' they asked.

'I used to help my father til the land. But I wanted to do something different. So, I enrolled on this course. But now, it's back to square one for me. How will I explain my predicament to my parents who are expecting a lot from me' asked Chotelal Murmu of Dumaria block in Ghatshila subdivision.

Most of the youths came from a modest background to make it big in life. They were selected through a interview. Of the 18 youths, three each were from Ghatshila, Chakulia and Potka, four from Patamda, two each from Dumaria and one from Bahragora. The candidates were put up at the residential complex of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha during the training period. They were taught MS Office, MS Dos, D-base and desk-top publishing by computer experts.

However, Ram Sevak Sharma, commissioner, information technology, did not sound as despondent as the tribal youths. He said the primary objective of the computer training programme under the Meso Project was to make the tribal youths self-employed. 'It was started with this basic objective. Armed with the certificates, the youths can start a business of their own,' added Sharma, who is also secretary of the rural department. Dispelling fears that tribals are discriminated against during appointments to government offices, Sharma said the reservation policy of the state government ensures jobs for the Scheduled Tribes. On why the government was not recruiting the tribal youths, he said: 'There are no vacancies in my department. Besides, the government cannot become an employer. At best it can impart training to tribal youths to help them get jobs. The government has launched several employment schemes for tribal youths. They can avail of these opportunities. They can also become self-employed by taking advantage of these schemes, which includes opportunities for soft loans,' Sharma added.

But Sharma's optimism failed to perk up the tribal youths, who had come from different parts of East Singhbhum district, with dreams of a better future and all that they got in return was a certificate and uncertainty.

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