Agrand event ‘Transform Maharashtra’ was hosted on 1 May 2017, coinciding with the Maharashtra Day celebrations. This event was a finale to a state-wide competition conducted over several months.
‘Action for Collective Transformation’ designed this unique initiative, ‘Transform Maharashtra: Platform for Youth to Create a Roadmap of Developed Maharashtra by 2025’ with the support of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, who launched it on 26 December 2016.
‘Transform Maharashtra’ aimed to provide a chance to young college students from Maharashtra to design policy and offer programme level solutions in teams, that could be implemented by the government under 11 identified critical challenges being faced by the State currently, like urban poverty, digital divide, corruption etc. More than four lakh youth were engaged in this process and 2300 entries were received from 11,000 students from across Maharashtra. Three hundred students were also selected as ambassadors alongwith 2,015 other volunteers who helped increase publicity around the event to drive participation.
The winners were decided based on online votes and on criteria set by a judge’s panel. Over three lakh votes were received and the top three teams in each category and under each theme got an opportunity to present their ideas to the CM and were awarded on the occasion.
Involving youth in state building
The event by itself was a grand affair that provided a magnificent platform to young students from across Maharashtra to put forth their ideas. As it was held on Maharashtra Day it seemed like a perfect amalgamation of the development agenda of the government and its focus on youth as the channel for development of the State. The event focused on building up young people and their solutions through a collaborative process. The winners got to present their ideas to a large audience comprising students, professionals, eminent personalities, army leaders and political leaders of the State. Actor Akshay Kumar and industrialist Ratan Tata also graced the occasion and provided valuable insights to the development trajectory of the State. Their presence increased the buzz around the event and the interest of people in it.
Several interesting ideas were presented by the students. Ideas like ‘Connect the dots: Improving mobility in cities’ focused on physical integration of transit services towards improving transportation systems in India. Another idea, ‘Looking Glass: Zero Corruption Maharashtra’ focused on two prime areas of corruption; the awarding and execution of civil works contracts, and the management of cooperative housing societies. There were some brilliant ideas presented by award winners under the remaining heads as well. Solutions presented looked at irrigation issues in the State, rural education, ways to reform the judicial process, etc. What was striking was the detail and thought behind each solution and the highlight that such an event brings to the importance and need of building and nurturing our youth demographic dividend.
CM Fadnavis took this opportunity to reach out to the 8,000 plus students present, to encourage them on matters of development and nation building. Throughout the presentations by the students, he asked thought provoking questions while continuing to be extremely supportive.
Akshay Kumar spoke of his work towards building change and of his support for such government initiatives, including his recent work for the Army. He also urged the CM to focus on building toilets in the State and suggested innovative measures of solving the issue of open defecation by converting old ISD/STD booths to toilets, while alongside working on the mindset of the people. The State government has aimed to make Maharashtra open defecation free (ODF) by 2018-19 under the Swachh Maharashtra Mission. Ratan Tata also shared key insights and answered questions by the students. This event highlighted the State government’s commitment to ensuring that citizens are a part of the dialogue of change and state building.