Senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Mahabubnagar town of Telangana, on Saturday called for more government intervention in education and health care sectors, instead of leaving them completely to the private enterprises.
He was interacting with the representatives from diverse groups and discussing the developmental challenges in Telangana, specifically in the areas of education and health.
“Health care and education are the prime responsibility of the government and should not be left solely to private enterprises. If done properly, this can create large employment opportunities for people in the fields of education and health care,” Gandhi said.
He said it was a tragedy that students were being forced to take up lower paying jobs instead of continuing their education.
During the rally, educationist and convener of Mamidipudi Venkata Rangaiah Foundation R Venkat Reddy brought to Gandhi’s notice that Telangana had been facing a huge education crisis in the last eight years.
“Public education is being deliberately undermined by cutting funding to government schools while encouraging the private sector. There is a deliberate neglect of government institutions, forcing parents to send children to private institutions,” Reddy said, adding that as a percentage of the budget Telangana had one of the lowest in the country.
Another activist Varsha Bhargavi spoke of how the state’s scheme of giving money to the parents of girls getting married was leading to a decline in their education opportunities. She suggested that the state should give the family an option to use the money for the girl’s higher education or marriage, as they chose.
A student Divya Sai told Gandhi that there was a two-year delay in fee reimbursement which had made it difficult for economically challenged students to continue their education.
Retired professor of University of Hyderabad and civil liberties activist G Hargopal also met Gandhi during the yatra. He told the Congress leader that Mahabubnagar was one of the most economically backward districts in the country, facing massive migrations.
“Even though the Krishna river is flowing through Mahabubnagar, there is paucity of water for farming leading to extreme poverty and migrations. Despite earlier promises the Palamuru Ranga Reddy project is yet to be implemented,” he said.
Gandhi said the Congress, if voted to power, would look into the completion of Palamuru Ranga Reddy project on priority basis.
A large number of tribal artistes also took part in Bharat Jodo Yatra and Gandhi shook a leg along with the artistes of Koya tribe at the lunch camp.