Interview: NSUI leader to MLC, Venkat Balmoori focuses on jobs, PHC in every village

Venkat Balmoori, youngest MLC in Telangana says there are 45 lakh unemployed youth, a backlog of last 10 years

By Kaniza Garari  Published on  25 Jan 2024 4:03 AM GMT
Interview: NSUI leader to MLC, Venkat Balmoori focuses on jobs, PHC in every village

Hyderabad: Thirty-one-year-oldVenkat Balmoorihas become the youngest Member of the Legislative Council in India.

A doctor by profession, he is also state president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and a member of the All India Congress Committee. A resident of Hyderabad, Balmoori has 88 police cases pending against him for the agitations he carried out in the last 10 years against the Bharat Rashtra Samithi government.

In an interview with NewsMeter, he discussed jobs, youth empowerment, free and quality education, and basic health issues in rural and semi-rural areas. Excerpts:

NM. For the last 10 years, you have championed student cause. Now, you have been elected MLC unopposed. What are your priorities?

VB. I am the youngest MLC in India and will be representing the youth of the state. Students and unemployed youth in the state have suffered for the last 10 years. The prime responsibility of the Congress party is to focus on free and quality education from kindergarten to post-graduate level. We want to have more government universities and a sports university in the state. For unemployed youth, the Congress party has promised 2 lakh jobs in the government sector in the first year. The total number of unemployed youth in the state has touched 45 lakh.

NM. 45 lakh unemployed youth is a huge number and the jobs available in the government sector are limited. How are you going to strike a balance?

VB: Yes, it is a huge number. Our manifesto has clearly stated that 2 lakh jobs will be provided to youth in the government sector. Our priority will be to fill these vacancies. The focus is to clear the backlog which is pending in different departments of the state. The other priority will be skill development. This will help them get jobs in other countries or also start on their own (entrepreneurship). Those in the age group of 18 to 40 years are going to be the prime focus. Financial assistance will also be provided by the government under various schemes. Chief Minister Revanth Reddy is also working on a plan where the industries and service sectors can be set up in districts where the youth of districts can get employment.

In the last 10 years, the backlog has only increased. Due to this, the number of unemployed youth has increased. The same problem is across the country too as the central government too is not employing youth.

NM: Apart from government jobs, what are the other means that are being looked into for increasing employment opportunities for youth?

VB: We are also looking at small-scale industries, small business enterprises, and local establishments which employ youth. Manufacturing industries will be the focus. Skill development is important for youth to get jobs. For example, my mother is from Karimnagar and the sale of metal chips for manufacturing in the district is very high. These are imported from South Korea. If this particular industry is promoted in the district, youth will get huge opportunities. These avenues are being explored by our government. The recent visit of our chief minister shows that industrialists are looking at Telangana to set up their units. Our focus will be education, jobs, farmers, and hospitals because this is what matters the most to people.

NM. What about hospitals as Bharat Rashtra Samithi government had set up medical colleges and hospitals in the state?

VB: I am a doctor by profession and I took eight years to complete my MBBS degree. What I have found is that there are hospitals for namesake! We need a fully equipped hospital with all the machines, diagnostics, doctors, and nursing staff in every district. Telangana now has surplus doctors, but they are not being utilized properly. The pay scale in the government sector for doctors is not good. Most of them are practicing in the private sector. For this reason, most of them are concentrated in Hyderabad and 100 kilometers around the city.

The need is to have a multispecialty government hospital in every district that can conduct heart surgeries, neurology, and trauma and administer proper anesthesia. Overdose of anesthesia is a concern in districts. A team of specialists is also required to deal with cases of snake bites as it is very common in rural and semi-rural areas.

There must be a primary health center in every village and it must be functional. Not only a doctor but a trained local youth will also help. This too will create employment at the village level.

NM: You have taken 8 years to complete your 5-year MBBS program. Why?

VB: I was involved in the student movement for Telangana. When I realized that the KCR government was not doing well, I started agitations against the BRS government. There are 88 cases registered against me. It took a lot of my time as I remained in and out of police stations.

NM: What about these 88 cases now?

VB: Most of the cases are for the agitations that were taken up against the government in the public interest. There are no personal cases against me. The cases are from 2015 to 2023. There is a legal team that is dealing with them.

NM: You have become a leader now. Usually, leaders don’t create a second rung of leadership. Will you do the same, or create a second command line?

VB: I am for the second line of leadership. Venkat Balmoori is not me or myself. It is about 1486 of NSUI office bears. Even NSUI office bearers have 15 cases pending against them. The NSUI members are all well-qualified. They are engineers, lawyers, and other professionals. The aim of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and K C Venugopal is to have young people in politics. Congress wants educated youth in politics as our view is very clear that we want ‘actual development’ for the nation. This is not with the Bharatiya Janata Party which wants to play politics on the ‘sentiments of the people’. The BJP has ‘corporatized education’. It is no longer ‘privatized’.

NM: You now have a responsibility as an MLC. How do plan to fulfill what your party has promised to the youth of Telangana state?

VB: I was a free bird a few days ago, but not now. There is now a huge responsibility that I have to fulfill and I am taking it up in a very structured and systemized manner. My success as a ‘youth leader’ is very important as I will set the benchmark for others to excel. Hence the journey has just begun for me I will give my best shot and work towards fulfilling the promises that my party has made for the youth of Telangana.

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