Role of National Youth Policy in Reaping the Demographic Dividend through Youth Empowerment
India lies on the cusp of demographic transition with youth in the age group of 15-29 years comprising 27.5% of the population. While most of the countries face the risk of an ageing workforce, India is expected to have a very favourable demographic profile in terms of youthful population. India is expected to become the 4th largest economy by 2025, contributing about 5.5-6% to the world GDP, only after the United States, China and Japan. The population of India is expected to exceed 1.3 billion by 2020 with a median age of 28 which is considerably less than the expected median ages of China and Japan. The working population of India, is expected to increase to 592 million by 2020, next only to China (776 million), pointing to the fact that youth will make a significant contribution to the economic development of the country. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity as well as a great challenge to India. However, in order to capture this demographic dividend, it is essential that the economy has the ability to support the increase in the labour force and the youth have appropriate education, skills, health awareness and other enablers to productively contribute to the economy. At present, about 34% of India’s Gross National Income (GNI) is contributed by the youth, aged 15-29 years. However, there exists a huge potential to increase the contribution of this class of the nation’s citizenry by increasing their labour force participation and their productivity. To facilitate this, National Youth Policy (NYP) is formulated to serve as a guiding document to empower the youth of the country to achieve their full potential, and through them enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations. The National Youth Policy for young Indians articulates the Indian governments’ aspiration for all young people to grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient. It aims to guide future government policy making to ensure that this aspiration can become a reality for all young Indians. The role of NYP should be such that it will provide an overarching framework in regards to both vision of the country for youth and steps through which vision is to be realized by the government of India along with concerned ministries. Therefore it is necessary that NYP should form bedrock of youth engagement efforts by the government. It should be the representation of an effective action roadmap for the strong and resurgent India.
SUBTHEMES FOR THE CONFERENCE:
Youth is a period of enormous change in how people relate to themselves, their surroundings and the greater world around them. At this time, most young people question their identity, values, and interests. In the present context, being a part of the youth community involves tackling some unprecedented challenges like improper education system, problem of underemployment or unemployment, changing job markets, technological advances, hanging economic future and changing social structures. For all of these reasons, youth need an improved support to navigate these challenges and fulfill their aspirations. The main focus of the provided subtheme is on current scenario of National Youth Policy in recognizing and harnessing the passion, expertise and potential that young people have to improve the lives of them & others, and its impact on society and nation. This theme invites paper on the rising aspirations of our youth & alignment of NYP in ensuring that these aspirations become a reality.
The vision of the Indian government for all young people is to grow them up safe, healthy, happy and resilient and to have the opportunities and skills they need to learn, work, and engage in community life and influence decisions that affect them. The Government of India (GoI) currently invests more than Rs 90,000 Crores per annum on youth development programmes or approximately Rs 2,710 per young individual per year, through youth-targeted (higher education, skill development, healthcare etc.) and non-targeted (food subsidies, employment etc.) programmes. In addition, the State Governments and a number of other stakeholders are also working to support youth development and to enable productive youth participation. The National Youth Policy 2014 (NYP 2014) seeks to define the vision of the Government of India for the youth of the country. It identifies the key areas in which action is required, where not enough is being done, so as to enable youth development and to provide an action framework for all stakeholders. This theme requires the analysis, review and noteworthy initiatives taken by the government and its alignment with NYP in reaping the demographic dividend.
The basis for national reconstruction in social, economic and political spheres depends on an efficient manpower. Though manpower is available in the country for handling various tasks but the need is to channelize and nurture it in the right direction. History bears out the undesirable fact that all great movements of nationwide importance have succeeded on the strength of massive youth power. National emancipation and reconstruction involves tackling the decayed traditions and superstitions, meaningless customs, caste and clan prejudices, elimination of discriminatory practices, prevailing illiteracy, and increasing corruption. These issues seem alarming and are bound to meet with denial, but perse¬verance & enormous efforts are required on the part of the government & youth as well to make headway because nation cannot successfully tackle its manifold problems of reconstruction unless collaborative & integrated initiatives make rapid progress. This theme focuses on highlighting the concerns and issues addressing the various bottlenecks within the existing governmental & non-governmental initiatives to ensure youth mainstreaming across sectors and policy areas.
With the attainment of political independence and the declared objective of building a welfare state, the citizens of India have entered upon a tremendous experiment in democracy, its meaning and content. Whether one is concerned with individual development or social reconstruction in training for democratic citizenship; planning at micro level is essential. A key challenge is that there has been no systematic assessment to understand the current status of the youth segment, the challenges they face and the inter-linkages between concerned areas. Therefore a mapping exercise must be undertaken to determine the demographic characteristics of youth of different segment, the scope of their activities and the impact that can be created on their development and engagement. Finally, an overarching framework needs to be developed in order to align the youth mass and to provide guidance on key issues. This theme focuses on understanding the key areas of empowering the youth by systematic micro planning and recommening the way forward to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend.