New Delhi/Mumbai Dec 13, 2013: Students from colleges across Mumbai got an opportunity to visit the Parliament as part of Milind Deora’s unique Youth Development Program for the fifth consecutive year. The initiative focuses on deepening the students understanding of government process while attempting to bridge the prevalent disconnect they have with the system by actually helping them to participate in it. The winners of the Youth Parliament 2013 event, (also a Milind Deora initiative) held earlier in September in collaboration with the Bombay Stock Exchange made it to this year’s parliamentary visit along with some volunteers which included a trip to the Parliament Museum and the opportunity for the students to meet several dignitaries for informal and interactive sessions.
Students were first hosted by the Hon. Vice President Dr. K. Hamid Ansari at his residence who expressed the opinion that while it was okay to criticize the system it wasn’t okay to be cynical about it. He urged the students to be cynical about cynicism first. The students were then received by Shri Sachin Pilot, Minister of Corporate Affairs for a wide ranging question answer session followed by a visit to the NDTV studio where they were shown how the news is processed and presented to the viewers. They also had a lively exchange with Dr. Prannoy Roy, co-founder and executive co-chairperson of NDTV and Mrs. Sonia Singh, Editorial Director, NDTV on topics such as ethics in journalism and media biases.
The second day of the visit began with a visit to the residence of Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Law and Justice, Communications & IT where he spoke about his entry into politics. Knotty issues like CBI autonomy, role of the judiciary were also deliberated upon. Subsequently, students interacted with Shri Shashi Tharoor, MoS HRD where he reminisced about his time at the UN office and answered questions on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics in India.
The Delhi trip concluded with a visit to Indira Gandhi Memorial, where students had a brush with the personal and public life of the former Prime Minister including being at the very spot of her assassination. They described the trip as the experience of a lifetime many expressing wistfully that they wished it could last a whole week more. The sense of history and occasion that accompanies a visit of this sort is exactly what the initiative aimed to expose the participants to.