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Rajiv Gandhi Adventure Scheme – to Celebrate Spirit of Youth

Rajesh Malhotra**

Adventure activities play a very important role in the development of important attributes and values related to personality development and character building among the youth. Adventure also provides a positive and creative outlet for the abundant energy, enthusiasm and imagination of young people. Over a period of time, adventure has acquired multifarious dimensions and manifestation which hold huge potential for development in India. By broad basing the adventure activities vast opportunities for wage and self employment and avenues for income generation can be achieved.

The major thrust of 11th Plan is to put in place a holistic and comprehensive strategy so as to enable the fullest development and realization of the potential of the youth in the country as the single most important segment of the population in the context of future socio- economic development and growth. To achieve this objective a review of the existing programmes and schemes has been done and with a view to bringing into them the required focus and orientation new components are being included and the already existing components are being expanded. The scheme for promotion of adventure which has been in existence in the past plan period is now being broad based. NSS (National Service Scheme), the flagship of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports , has today more than 3.2 million student volunteers on its roll spread over 208 Universities.

Objective

So far financial assistance was being provided to State Governments/Union Territories, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, NSS, various NGOs and groups of Individuals for undertaking adventure activities of their choice. No uniform standard was prescribed for delivery of training or services. Keeping in view the importance of adventure in channelizing the energy of youth and in building their character, it was felt that the activities undertaken should be standardized and certain benchmarks be fixed at the national level so as to ensure homogeneity. The Rajiv Gandhi Adventure Scheme was launched on June 26, 2009 with the objective of consolidating and standardizing the adventure activities for youth being undertaken by various agencies and institutions with the financial assistance provided by the Ministry.

Institutions

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) which is an apex body for adventure activities in India will serve as a leading institute. The adventure activities will conducted by recognized Adventure Institutes and Mountaineering Schools under the overall supervision of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) namely Indian Mountaineering Foundation; Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling; NIM, Uttarkashi; WHMI, Manali; Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering , J& K; National Adventure Foundation and Sea Explores’ Institute, Kolkata. Each adventure camp will be of 10 days duration (excluding journey time) and will comprise a batch of 20 to 30 volunteers. Through IMF funds will be provided by the Ministry to the National Mountaineering Schools for conducting the adventure camps. A course fee of Rs.500 per volunteer per day will be provided to cover the full cost of boarding and lodging, course material, equipment, special clothing, porterage, insurance cover, first-aid medical and communication facilities. The Adventure Institutes will also provide tents, ruck sack, sleeping bag, carry mats, wind proof jackets and technical equipments etc. For every 10 volunteers in a batch there will be one Programme officer (mentor attached as Liaison officer (lady Programme Officer in respect of girl volunteers). The entire boarding and lodging for the Liaison Officer during the camp period will be borne by IMF and other Adventure Institutes. On a pilot basis, 50 camps covering 1000 NSS volunteers have been planned. About 41 camps have already been organized by the Mountaineering Schools covering 820 volunteers.

The adventure camps are being planned in locations available in Southern as well as Eastern and Western parts of India to give the youth a much required exposure to the geographical features of our country. The new adventure camps include Rock Climbing in Kannur, Jungle Camps in Thekkady Sayadri in Mumbai, River Rafting in Rishikesh, Camel Safaris in Bikaner/ Jaisalmer sector. The Youth Hostel Ooty will be the centre for the southern chapter of adventure activities. The State Governments will be partners in planning adventure activities.

Selection

Volunteers above 18 years can enroll for the adventure activities. The volunteers are to be selected at the unit level by the college / university. To maintain the gender balance, it has to be ensured that 50% of the volunteers selected are girls. The slots have been distributed among various states depending on the strength of volunteers enrolled under NSS. It has been decided to expand the programme to give an opportunity to 2000 NSS volunteers every year and organise 100 camps in selected locations. It is envisaged to expand the programmes to cover 5000 volunteers in near future.

*Director (M & C), PIB, New Delhi Celebrate Spirit of Youth

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