The Indian Army under ‘Operation Sadbhavana (Goodwill)’ is reaching out to communities in far-flung areas of the Jammu region through a series of civilian programmes aimed at improving the lives of people. From engaging youngsters in sporting activities and debates on issues such as drug abuse, the Army is also organising medical camps and capacity building tours for students and farmers regularly under the operation. “The motive behind the civil action programme is to build a strong bond with the local population, to improve their living standards and keep them abreast with developments and the latest trends outside the state,” Jammu-based defence public relation officer (PRO) Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI. Giving the breakup of the Army’s public outreach programmes held since the beginning of 2018, the officer said the force has organised over 36 medical and veterinary camps, 32 lectures on health issues and 30 communal harmony meetings, besides over a dozen ex-servicemen rallies in the Jammu province.
Over 30,000 patients in far-flung areas, most of whom do not have access to quality medical facilities, were provided free treatment and medicines at the camps, he said. The PRO said Army veterinary doctors have also treated thousands of bovine animals. People in the region, a majority of whom are from the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities, earn their livelihood from cattle farming, he said. The force’s main focus is on the youth. They are being engaged in sports and debates to ensure their positive development, the officer said. Skill development programmes to enhance their employability, pre-recruitment training, youth festivals and creating awareness about cyber crimes are some of the other initiatives of the Army, he said. Lectures on the menace of drugs, global warming, conservation of water, wildlife and electricity, and sanitation and waste disposal management are being organised in educational institutions, the PRO said. He said awareness on women empowerment and importance of the girl child, besides ‘Swachh Bharat’ is also being spread. Several youngsters, including girls, are benefitting from vocational training in fields such as information technology, welding, plumbing, driving, garment making, cattle rearing and food processing, Anand said.
These courses are conducted by state and national level skill development agencies like the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), he said, adding that the technical sessions are held by experts from these agencies. On drug abuse, the officer said villagers and students are being sensitised about various aspects of the menace and its adverse effect on the health, family and society. Symptoms, treatment and rehabilitation are being given due emphasis during discussions, he said. To send a message of peace, prosperity, communal harmony and national integration in Jammu and Kashmir, youth festivals have become a regular event, Anand said. The Army has also presented gymnasium equipment, computers, books and sports items to various educational institutions to ensure students excel in the field along with their studies, he said.
The officer said the Army has also organised online interactive physics and chemistry classes for high school students during their winter break. In these classes, students interact with teachers from different parts of India. The initiative aims at empowering students, he said Interactions are also aimed at spreading awareness among the local population about the role of the Army in nation building and welfare activities. “Unity in diversity has been one of the greatest characteristics of our nation, which has bound people of all religions together in one bond of humanity. The Army is committed in promoting multi-cultural fabric of the nation,” he said. He said such events provided a great platform to the locals to interact with each other and Army officials, and also discuss issues of development in the region.