Potential of Indian Youth: Today and Tomorrow

Potential of Indian Youth: Today and Tomorrow

India is said to be enjoying population dividends. Is it real? Are we utilizing the potentials of our youth optimally? In fact, today tapping the potentials of our youth is an important challenge facing the country.

India is said to be enjoying population dividends. Is it real? Are we utilizing the potentials of our youth optimally? In fact, today tapping the potentials of our youth is an important challenge facing the country.

No doubt, the youth in India is bulging. The population in the age-group of 15-34 increased from 353 million in 2001 to 430 million in 2011. A research study conducted by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN HABITAT estimates that population of Indian Youth is likely to reach 464 million by 2021 and then marginally decline to 458 million by 2026.The present youth shares some unique characteristics like relatively better education, better connection within and outside the country, internet connectivity and wider social networking.
The present generation is fortunate to have a larger platform. The present day youth is blessed with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs and Television Shows to be in the centre of attention. Another feature of younger generation is that they are clear about what they want to be. Basically they want to climb up the social ladder and do not hesitate to take dare steps. In addition, they are more vocal than previous generation.

Concerns of Today’s Indian Youth

The prevailing situationis not favourableto Indian youth. What are their main Concerns?
1. Education: No doubt, there is a rapid growth in the number of Educational Institutions in the country. However, it is not uniform across the length and breadth of the country. Further, it is not equally accessible to all the sections of the society.The youth are demanding better and skill-based Education. They want career-oriented education.

2. Job:Present-day youth struggle to get admission in prestigious educational institutions and parents spend huge amount of money on the education of their children.However, the skills and education acquired by our youth do not match with the job requirements. Therefore, after completion of the course the youth struggles to get good jobs in formal sector in the growing competitive world. At the same time, the youth cannotremain without job for long time. He has no choice and has to take up whatever job comes on his way. The lucky ones who get the job areunder-employed, under-paid and have to bear longer duration of work.
Inspite of some advantages, due to lack of communication and other skills, the probability of a youth remaining unemployed is much higher than that for an adult person especially in case of females. In fact, the youth are bearing the brunt of unemployment problem which forces them to migrate to foreign countries. They are the first victim of economic recession in the form of retrenchment

3. Corruption: initially every youth desires to leadan honest and ideal life. After seeing wide-spread corruption at various levels he gets frustrated.Frustration of youth was expressed in the form of massive support to the recent movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare. In addition to this, the youth took active interest in recent election and voted for the development of the country.

4. Values: In the past, age-old ethical values played a crucial role in the life of people of India. Feeding of poor people in the houses of wealthy persons in villages was a common scene. Rich people met at least apart of marriage expensesof poor households. Wealthy people considered that the wealth possessed by them as wealth of the society and that they were mere trustee of the wealth of the society.
It appears that even kings took up the construction of huge temple complexes to encourage the skills of sculptors and provide employment to unskilled workers and thereby ensure food security Due to the influence of western civilization and too much commercialization there is erosion in Indian value system. Recently, a successful garment businessman by name PankajParakh from Maharashtra celebrated his 45th birth day by wearing a shirt made of gold weighing four kilos and worth about Rs. 1.30 Crores. It is interesting to note that he happened to be a school drop-out (Indo- Asian News Service). Exhibition of wealth in such amanner sendswrong signals to highly principled and hard-working youth. They become impatient to earn huge money within a short span of time. They do not bother about the means of achieving their goals.
What are our Youth Doing?

Let us first focus our attention on educated youth. Only after coming out of educational institutions, the youth realise that the education acquired by themdoes not fetch them a good job. They start preparing for competitive examsconducted by various recruitment authorities. Many of them take regular coaching. Recruitment is cumbersome, long-drawn and time-consuming process. The process starts with the advertisement for vacant posts followed by written exams held after couple of postponements on unreasonable grounds. After a long gap the results of exams are announced. Personal interviews are held in a phased manner.
If there are no legal litigations then lucky few will get job and remaining candidates (who are generally large in number) prepare for yet another exam For many graduates (and even for post-graduates) preparing for competitive exams has become a full-time job. No doubt, it is a costly experiment both in terms of time and finance. It is very unfortunate thing that we fail to tap the potentials of our youth.

A section of youth considers that the jobs in India are not adequately remunerative and prepare themselves for jobs in advanced countries. This movement of educated youth to advanced countries in search of lucrative jobs started with medical graduates and then spread to engineering graduates and now to people with management skills. Lucky ones get good job.Many persons migrate to advanced countries on the pretext of higher education only to secure job after the education.Having landed in host country they do not hesitate to do all types of jobs. Sometimes they are condemned to lead a mechanical life. Most of them prefer to stay there and do not mind in facing all types of hardship but are very reluctant to come back to India. In the process they positively contribute to the development of the host countries by providing cheap labour, which is unrecognized and unnoticed.
Migration of youth has both short-run and long-run impact on the originating countries. In the short-run, parents of the children pay high tuition fee which is in a way capital drain from the originating countries. In the long-run, when the educated youth stay back and work in the host countries it will be a brain drain.

Indian youth either knowingly or unknowingly contribute immensely to thenation building process of the host countries. From theoretical angle, growth rate of any economy is the sum of growth rate of labour force and the growth rate of technology. It maybe noted that most of the advanced countries are experiencing stagnancy in their domestic population and in the absence of inflow of our youth in those countries; the growth rate of labour force would be near zero which would bring down growth rate of their economy. In short, our youth instead of participating in nation building process of India are actively participating in nationbuilding process of host countries. This contribution of our youth is generally goes unnoticed. Even if it is recognised, it is not duly acknowledged
Who should be blamed for this tragedy? Should the blame be put on the shoulders of the youth or their parents or on insensitive political leaders or on complacentadministrators?

What our semi-skilled youth with low level of education doing? Thereare a good number of persons in towns and metropolitan cities who manage to complete matriculation and acquire skills like car driving. With a dream of making fast bucks they migrate to foreign countries. Incidentally, bymigratingtheir social status in their native place improves which will fetch them good dowry. On the other hand youth, especially in border areas, who stay back and earn limited income are likely get addicted to drugs.In fact, Punjab has become gate-way to India from Pakistan for drug smuggling.It is said that nearly 80 per cent of families suffer from drug addiction. It appears that an addict spends one thousand Rupeesper day on drugs. Earlierpeople consumed liquor. Now there is a spurt in the sales of drugs. Some persons are peddling drugs to their friends and relatives and thereby make money. Half gram of heroin cost one thousand Rupees.

What about our uneducated and rural youth? In informal sector, especially in rural area, youth constitutes disproportionate share in unemployed persons. Due to economic and social constraints many of them are forced to remain in rural areas and are underemployed/ disguised unemployed. Sizeable rural youth move to urban area and with meagerearnings lead a miserable life, mostly in slum area without any basic facilities and with no medical and educational facilities to their children. Some youth with some ambition are likely to fall prey to smugglers and traffickers,who promise them to provide job with decent income and comfortable living conditions. Huge inflows of migrant labour and malpractices in recruitment have driven down the market wage rate in the host countries. The problem of migrant labour is aggravated due to poor working conditions and insecurity. Confiscation of passport, unlawful deduction from wages and additional hours of work make the lives of migrant labour miserable.

In short, they are being lured byunscrupulous agents and find themselves in harsh, unfriendly, undreamt environment from which it is difficult to come out. In their own way they contribute to the growth of those countries which is not recognised by any one. A good number of them meet their end and their relatives struggle to get back their body to their native place. They remain unsung heroes.

Can we afford to ignore this trend? Can we stop this movement?If yes,how can we stop? What is the solution to this problem?
Solution:Youth have played an important role in the development of every advanced nation. Therefore, it is the duty of the parents, elders and leaders to look into the problems of our youth and channelize their boundless energy for nation-building activities. Otherwise, their energy maybe dissipated in wrong direction creating chaos in the country.Our youth, whether in India or outside must be proud of India. In this context, it is worthwhile to consider the proposal to have compulsory military training to our youth for a couple of years. It will also make our youth more disciplined which is essential for all types of jobs.

Governments in both origin and host countries should develop an efficient recruiting system and exchange regular information. The policies must ensure safe migration with freedom, dignity, equity and security. It should be made mandatory to foreign employer to intimate Indian Embassy before employing any Indian. Further, the Indian embassy should keep track of Indians.

There is an urgent need for collection and analysis of data of migrant labours by age and by sex. This must be supplemented by primary survey to expand the knowledge base about migrant youth. Further, there should be in-depth research on linkage between youth employment and migration.
To fight the menace of drug addiction there is a need for opening more de-addiction centres and intensification of drug de-addiction drive.

Many self-employment and wage-employment programmes have been launched in Indiawith limited success. For various reasons their full potentialities are not realised. Involvement of youth in the implementation of programmes for distribution of job-cards, ration-cards, Aadhar cards etc, along with Officials would reduce the leakages to a great extent. Youth must be made to realize their power and responsibility. Youth must be encouraged in all possible manners to start their own business.They should become entrepreneur that is job-providers and not mere job- seekers. India has a great opportunity to meet worldwide demand for work force.
It can become an international out-sourcing hub for skilled manpower. However, only 2 percent of Indian work force has undergone skill training. We have to impart some communication skills, a good knowledge of English and some spiritual input. Spiritual input is necessary to drive home the point that means are as important as the goals and mad rat race will not ensure happiness. Our policies must attract youth like magnet.

In Globalisation Era it is difficult and not fair to prevent youth from moving out. Let them go abroad learn and work. Let them be exposed to external world. It will enrich them and make them more matured. Only then they start appreciating the merits of our rich culture. After adequate experience in foreign countries they must be motivated to come back to India and contribute their might in nation building activities. They should be made to realise that they are not doing any favour to India but only partially repaying their debt to their mother land. They need not permanently remain in India. If they so desire they must be encouraged to go abroad only to come back to serve the country with richer experience.

To prevent uneducated youth falling prey to unscrupulous agents our Government must keep track of persons receiving visa permits and our embassies abroad must monitor the movement of Indian immigrants by keeping regular contact with them..

Governments in both origin and host countries should develop an efficient recruiting system and exchange regular information. The policies must ensuresafe migration with freedom, dignity, equity and security.

There is an urgent need for collection and analysis of data of migrant labours by age and by sex. This must be supplemented by primary survey to expand the knowledge base about migrant youth. Further, there should be in-depth research on linkage between youth employment and migration.
These measures are likely to fetch real demographic dividends instead of ending up with demographic disaster.
A.Mahendran- RGNIYD and S.Indrakant- CSD
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