October 11, 2019
An initiative by Chennai-based Prime Point Foundation aims to train aspiring politicians on the basics of the Constitution and parliamentary proceedings.
While institutions are busy churning out professionals like doctors, lawyers and engineers, there is little thought given to nurturing quality politicians.
But a Chennai-based organisation Prime Point Foundation is aiming to fill this gap by grooming a new class of politicians through an initiative called Next Gen Political Leaders (NGPL).
Amidst the rat race to produce professionals, bank officers, bureaucrats, Prime Point Foundation is planning to groom aspiring politicians and teach them what welfare is all about, the basics of the Constitution and Parliament proceedings.
NGPL Founder K Srinivasan, publisher and managing editor of `PreSense’, told The Covai Post that this initiative was inspired by his association with former president the late Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
“As part of the foundation’s activities and earlier discussions with Dr Kalam, it was decided to honour the best parliamentarians in the country with Sansad Ratna Awards. And it has been a decade since this was started based on studies and assessment by the Parliamentary committees. It is notable that the last awards ceremony was held at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai.
It is the Sansad Ratna Awards that inspired the idea of training aspiring politicians. Srinivasan admitted that there was a drop in quality of politicians, though there are exceptions.
“NGPL is an initiative that is evolving. It is attaining a dimension as we move forward. There is the need for making politicians know what happens in Parliament. If they get elected at some point in time, they should know what they are to say there, what they are to stand for, what the procedures in Parliament are. There are a lot of things they need to know before entering the august house,” said Srinivasan.
There is an age limit fixed for politicians to attend these NGPL workshops. It is 45, he says. There is a new generation of politicians who are set to step in to decide the future of the country and its people. That explains why this age limit has been set, he adds.
During the last Sansad Ratna Awards, young politicians had an opportunity to interact with some of the top leaders, including those who have won this award. Srinivasan named some politicians like N K Premachandran from Kerala and Supriya Sule who have been actively involved with the initiative and are part of the advisory board.
“It was a very fruitful interaction as the young crop of politicians needs to know a lot of the procedural matter, right from the local body, through the state legislatures to Parliament.”
When asked how these young talents are being spotted, Srinivasan said political parties have been asked to select their representatives for the workshops. Parties are allotted a certain number of delegates. All the major parties will send in their participants and so the training initiative is across the political spectrum, says Srinivasan.
He pointed to an instance when actor Kamal Haasan after launching his political party and learning about the activities of NGPL wanted the team to train his members.
Srinivasan was clear about his stand and told Kamal Haasan that NPGL did not hold workshops for any one political party and if the party wanted, it could send its representatives to the general workshops being held.
Srinivasan is publisher and managing editor of `PreSense’, founder and managing director of Sansad Ratna Awards Committee, chairman and managing trustee of Digital Journalists Association of India, convenor of Education Loan Task Force and co-founder and past president of Cyber Society of India.
Sridhar, president of the Tamil Nadu chapter of NGPL, says the response to the initiative has been tremendous and so far 100 young, aspiring politicians have been actively participating in the workshops.
NGPL is on an expansion drive and launched its Delhi chapter on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Priyadarshini, who heads this chapter, and a student of political science, says there is an urgent need to groom young politicians and imbibe in them the spirit of nationalism.
She said that since the chapter is functioning from the political nerve centre of the country, the challenges could be multiple. She added that Supriya Sule has volunteered to support the initiative in Delhi too.
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