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Politics on the resume: Bag your next internship with Srikakulam's MP Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu

There is no doubt that the youth of today need to be more involved in Indian politics. With more than 50 per cent of India's population below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35, the scope is huge and is not limited to exercising the right to vote alone. Every political party has student wings and think tanks of their own which can do with young energy. But for the youngsters who are still testing the waters, there are now internships in this field as well.

While politicians have ventured into this area before, Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu is the latest entrant of this club. This Member of Parliament from Srikakulam, a district in Andhra Pradesh that's bordered by Odisha on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other has always been an advocate for the involvement of youth in politics. And with his latest internship programme, he has involved 18 interns from across the country with a simple mission, "Not only do we want to develop Srikakulam with the ideas of these interns, we also want to sharpen the interns using Srikakulam. It's a two-way relationship," says the 30-year-old.

I want to find future leaders in a new way, through this internship, and engage them with the public

Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu, MP, Srikakulam

Kinjarapu has always been someone who likes to be familiar with the pulse of people - whether it was through the cycle yatra he embarked on during the beginning of his political career or now, when he takes the interns to Uddanam village, a name that has become synonymous with kidney ailments. And the interns too are experiencing, firsthand, the hardships that certain people of Srikakulam face. "Though there are many people who express their grievances, it isn't until one visits them and spends time with them that the intensity of their problem is known," he says.

The National Youth Award 2018 winner, Naga Sravan Kilaru not only screened the interns but currently helps in mentoring them too

This is one of the many lessons that the 18 interns have been learning since May 15 and will continue to learn until July 15. These chosen ones have been selected from among 210 applicants from 16 different states and 47 colleges. Many people used to approach Kinjarapu with the desire to work in the field of politics, hence this internship, which helps the passionate really understand what goes into policy-making and implementation. "We want to step away from the traditional politics where everything boils down to the elections. We want to involve as many youngsters as possible to generate ideas to solve problems," he says.

Ram Mohan is the son of late Kinjarapu Yerran Naidu, a politician from the Telugu Desam Party. He started this internship with the intention of involving youth. Selections for the internship started in March and were finalised by April this year

Kinjarapu strongly feels that whether it's social media, movies or the political mood in general, people have the urge to give back to the country. He noticed this trend even in the youth of Srikakulam, who migrate to find better job opportunities outside but still try to return to do their bit for their village. And it is in this trend that Kinjarapu sees hope for more and more involvement of youth in politics in the future. This internship, which he just might make a bi-annual programme, will certainly help matters and pump in some young blood into the field of politics.

Intern Diaries

Interns working under Kinjarapu share their experience so far:

I've been a part of the Gandhi Fellowship and have worked in the Naxalite areas of Maharashtra as well, but this is the first time I will be working directly under an MP and for me, this is the biggest achievement. I want to understand many aspects of politics, especially the ground reality of what citizens face. I find Ram sir to be a simple man who is sympathetic in nature. He is open to new ideas which is a big plus

Nanda Nandan Sarangi, 25, Bhubaneswar

I was in Europe and I had a great experience there. Now I'm here to understand education and scientific policy-making. I want to understand how policies are made and the kind of impact they have on the society. And working with someone as young as Ram sir, who I can relate to, makes me feel like this is a good opportunity to understand this particular aspect of politics

Sameer Guduru, 29, Visakhapatnam

I have always been curious to understand the process of policy-making and what kind of ground research it takes to make policies. This internship is helping me with that. To this effect, I have even applied for an MS in Public Policy and I know this internship will help me understand this field better. We are also preparing an editorial regarding railway zones and how Srikakulam needs some

Satya Sravya Tusapati, 22, Visakhapatnam

I have been preparing for the civil services exam and reading books about the government and its various departments. Through this internship, I get to understand their ground realities. I consider this internship my training to become a bureaucrat in the future. Currently, I'm going through the state and central government schemes. Soon, I will start making visits to the various government departments to understand how well the schemes are being implemented. I recently visited the Uddanam region with Ram sir and understood their issues much more deeply

Santosh Kumar, 26, Hyderabad

Expert commentary

What the experts have to say about bagging internships under political leaders:

Generally, the trend in India has been that the younger generations join student unions that are affiliated to political parties. This also helps political parties gain footing among youngsters and, eventually, draw its leadership from there. One of the best examples is senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy, who was a student leader at Osmania University, Hyderabad. Political internships too offer a great opportunity to experience the workings of government machinery and dynamics. It gives a chance to those who aren't born into a political family or aren't part of student unions to understand politics, positively and objectively. This is a good way to create better administrators and gives the interns a sense of direction as well.

Swaswati Choudhury, 58, former HOD of Political Science, St Francis College for Women, Begumpet

Today's politicians are aware of the importance of youth in politics and are encouraging them to take up positions of responsibility. These positions are not only restricted to mainstream politics but also cover policy formation, legislative research and so on. The youngsters working in these areas are groomed in handling modern day politics and this will help them become leaders of tomorrow. The youth are now looking at politics as a career. Some want to enter active politics in the future, but many want to understand the field and contribute. They all have a single aim - to improve the level of polity in the country and help India move forward. Many political leaders whom I have worked with over the years utilise the energy of the youth in solving critical issues in their constituencies and I have seen many young and motivated individuals make a mark for themselves

Gaurav Rathore, Co-Founder, PoliticalEDGE Consulting Pvt Ltd

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