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Discovering India: Know India Program
The Know India Program is a wonderful three-week program in India that introduces college-educated youth of Indian origin to the culture and heritage of India. A Siliconeer report.
The Sun Temple in Konark, Orissa.
Is your kid going to college? Has she/ he just graduated? If she/ he is between 18-26 years of age, don ’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime. Check out the Indian government’s Know India Program (http://knowindiaprogram.com) , a three-week trip to India which will give your child an unforgettable, up-close experience of the rich culture and heritage of India.
And the best part of it is it that it costs as little as 10 percent of the airfare. If selected, and provided a participant completes the program, the Indian government will bear the rest of the expense including traveling, room and board.
“The 14th Know India Program concluded on 17th April 2010. The participants enjoyed the program and learned about India and its rich cultural heritage. The program did turn more eventful than usual towards the end due to the return flights of some participants getting cancelled on account of the flight disruptions over Europe,” Ashok Kumar Sinha, consul for community affairs at the Consulate General of India in San Francisco, said in a recent announcement.
“The participants were taken full care of during this period and accommodated in the same hotel where they had been staying for the program in Delhi and full support was provided to facilitate their early return to their homeland.”
An Indian villager farming in traditional style.
The Indian government is planning to conduct three more Know India Programs in this financial year, Sinha added. The following is the tentative schedule of the Know India Programs to be conducted during 2010-11: 15th KIP in August -September 2010 in Assam, Meghalaya; 16th KIP in December 2010 - January 2011 in West Bengal, Bihar; 17th KIP in March- April 2011 in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh.
“It has been our experience in the past that while most of the participants are able to adapt well to the program, still there are some participants who are either not medically fit or mentally or physically not equipped to be able to face either the vagaries of the weather or the seriousness that the program requires,” according to Sinha. “There has been an instance where one participant wanted to go back by the return flight on the day of arrival itself and was terribly homesick. As the Government of India is spending a huge financial amount on these participants which includes 90 percent of their international airfare, due care may be taken while considering participation in the program. The program necessarily involves visit / stay in rural areas and accommodation may not necessarily be AC in some places and the program may require a certain amount of discipline.”
Willing candidates must include a one page essay along with their applications stating why they would like to attend the program.
The program is open to youth of Indian origin (excluding non-resident Indians) between the age group of 18-26 years as on the first day of the month in which the program is expected to commence. It is open to PIOs from all over the world.
An impression of the Indian Parliament on a 50-rupee Indian bill.
The total number of participants in any KIP may not exceed 40. The applicants should either be studying in the under-graduate level or should have completed under-graduation or equivalent.
The applicants should be able to converse in English. [They should have studied English as a subject at the High School level or should have English as a medium of instruction for under-graduate course]
The applicant should not have participated in any previous KIP or Internship Program for Diaspora Youth. Students and those who have not visited India before are encouraged to apply.
The content of the program may include: presentations on the country, political process, developments in various sectors; interaction with faculty and students at a prestigious university/college/institute; presentation on the industrial development and visits to some industries/factories; visit to a village to better understand the typical village life; exposure to Indian media; interaction with NGOs and organizations dealing with women affairs; visit to places of historical importance/monuments; taking part in cultural programs; exposure to yoga; call on high dignitaries, which may include president of India, chief election commissioner of India, comptroller and auditor general of India, and ministers in-charge of overseas Indian affairs, youth affairs and sports.
“I solicit the support of the entire community in giving adequate publicity to the Program,” Sinha said. “Preference would be given to select those participants who have not visited India before, who are students/ not working and not from the same family which has benefitted from this program in the past.”
More information on the program is available on the Web at: http://knowindiaprogram.com/.