Rasheeda Bhagat

Tribal youth drive away to a better tomorrow

RASHEEDA BHAGAT | Updated on July 02, 2014 Published on July 02, 2014

That run-of-the mill training initiatives jointly undertaken by corporates and State governments do change some lives dramatically has been proved by Vijay Bhai, a 26-year- old tribal youth from a village near Vadodara in Gujarat.

He is one of the 5,000-odd tribal youth, all of them from agricultural families with small landholding, who have been given driving skills by the All Gujarat Institute of Driving, Technical Training and Research, a not-for-profit society, that is being a no profit society registered under the societies act, and run as a PPP model by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL).

Vijay’s parents own three bighas of land and grow cotton and wheat, “but the income is not sufficient to support my wife and parents,” he says. Four years ago, he underwent a 45-day driving course at the Institute which has a 300-bed hostel facility near Vadodara. Along with driving, Vijay was taught road etiquette, basic English to enable him to read road signs, and road safety dos and don’ts.

About 77 per cent of the tribal youngsters trained at this Institute take up jobs as drivers at a salary ranging from Rs 5,000-7,500. One of Gujarat government’s priorities has been to impart employment-based skill development to impoverished tribal youth – the State has a tribal population of 14 per cent -, and the driving institute is one such scheme.

Like the hundreds trained with him four years ago, Vijay too first took up a job as an ambulance driver at a salary of Rs 5,500. But a year later, this enterprising youth got a bank loan of Rs 4.5 lakh and bought a Tata Ace which he now uses to transport fertilisers and other agri material for the farmers around Tajwa, about 20 km from Vadodara. After paying the monthly instalment of Rs 7,810, and his diesel bills, he is left with a profit of Rs 15,000. Only 11 more months are left to pay off this loan. Once his instalments are done, he plans to take another loan, this time for a Tata Magic, which he will use as a taxi to ferry passengers.

“There is very little money in land… but if you plan properly, there is a lot of money in this field,” he smiles.

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Published on July 02, 2014
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