S Mumtas, a third-year BA English student of St. George's College in Aruvithura, is flooded with congratulatory messages. One of them is from Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauding her. The messages and applause are for her excellent speech at the National Youth Parliament.
She got the opportunity to participate in the competition held at the central hall of Parliament after winning first place in the district and state-level competitions organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra.
Her speech was on the topic of ‘universal basic income plan’. Following the speech, the Prime Minister tweeted that Mumtas was both eloquent and expressive in her speech. Mumtas had also represented Kerala in the 2020 Republic Day Parade as she had excelled in the NSS. She was selected as the best NSS Volunteer of MG University (2019–20). She is the daughter of E Shaji and Rasheeda and hails from Pathanamthitta.
The initial competitions started on December 28. The best speakers in each district were selected first under the leadership of Nehru Yuva Kendra. Mumtas stood first in the Pathanamthitta district. Later, the first and second place winners from each district competed at the state level. She came first at the state level, too. Those who bagged the first three places got the opportunity to speak at the Youth Parliament. Mumtas says she could perform well in New Delhi also.
Mumtas says the participants had four topics to choose from for the talk which were made known two days before the competition. She selected the topic ‘universal basic income plan’
She spoke about the benefits to the grassroots if the project is implemented in the country. During COVID, if everyone got a basic income, then there would be significant change in the current situation of the country.
One had to prepare oneself for the talk by gathering information from the internet and books. Mumtas says this was how she prepared for the district and state-level competitions. But for the competition in New Delhi, teachers also helped. The topic for the state-level competition was 'women's self-empowerment’.
Mumtas says she has been actively taking part in speech competitions since she was the fifth standard and that is how her self-confidence increased. She says she received many awards while studying in school. She, however, did not compete at the university level.