NEWS

National Youth Policy

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Introduction
The policy makers of India had formulated the National Youth Policy in 1988. However the socio-economic conditions in the country have since then undergone a significant change and have been shaped by wide-ranging technological advancement.

History into the rights and responsibilities for the youth has been in existence since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. For India to occupy her rightful place in the Comity of Nations and to meaningfully discharge the manifold obligations thereto, it was imperative to ensure the effective pursuit of youth development pprograms which promote personality development and Qualities of Citizenship and enhance commitment to Community Service, Social Justice, Self-reliance, National Integration and Humanism. The national youth policy 2003, therefore, recognizes these inter-related values and principles as its basic premise.

The Indian Constitution has certain articles with the primary objective of safeguarding the basic rights of youth. Some of these safeguards are built into the Fundamental Rights and are enforceable in a court of law. For instance, right to education, right against exploitation, right to freely practice any religion so on and so forth.

Other guarantees are part of the Directive principles of State Policy which cannot be enforced but underlie government policies and programs.

Current Scenario:
The youth is associated with energy, impetuousness, ambition, independence, fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Every field, be it science, education, research, technology, literature, music or filmmaking, the youth plays a significant role in them. Youth forms the future and the hope for progress in right direction. The Indian economy is at tipping point. And the youth of this country will determine the direction the economy takes. India is a ‘young’ country with those between 13-35 years, accounting for 40.6% of the total population [Census 2001]. The major challenge before the nation in this direction is to have skillful and productive youth, have employment opportunities for the youth and to have spaces for participation in various spaces of life.

India has traditionally emphasized on various life stages with specific roles. Contribution by the great thinkers like Swami Vivekanand, Rabindranat Tagor, Mahatma Gandhi and Yashwantrao Chavan in identifying youth potentials and providing opportunities to the youth. International development efforts concentrated to the youth issues since 1986 with announcing World Youth Year. Planned process to look at youth development, response to the concerns of youth has got planned response worldwide since then. India has also made concise efforts towards youth development through National Youth Policy in 1998 which was revised in 2003(only if u need to put it)

Considering Youth Concerns:
India has moved from the traditional stable society, mostly agrarian, to a highly developed, industrial and space society. The traditional joint cohesive family has changed to a micro and in cohesive family. There is a change from rural to urban living. In such a society, where the youth come from various strata of the society, with diverse cultures, religions, economic status, language and lifestyles, the youth experience difficulty in adaptation to the changing roles and value systems. This results in alienation, withdrawal, interpersonal relationship difficulties, depression and even suicidal behaviors.

Indian youth, generally speaking is under the stress of:

  • Personal, social and psychological problems
  • Vocational and educational problems
  • Moral and religious problems
  • Adjustments in academics
  • Home and family crisis
  • Problems related to finance
 

Concerns of youth in Maharashtra:
Maharashtra is one of the most developed states in the country. It is the second most populated state [97million and 9% of the country’s population as per the 2001 census], and is projected to be 106 million by 2007 [office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, 2006]. The sex ratio of the state, in 2001, was 922. In 2001, 42.43% of state's population resided in urban areas. In 2001, 54.96 % of the labor force was in agriculture. In 2001, Maharashtra ranked fourth in the country on HDI with a score of 0.523. While analyzing the HDI at district level, Vidarbha (except for Nagpur) has been a major issue of concern and Marathwada gets highlighted. The districts of Mumbai-city and suburbs, Thane, Raigad, Sindhudurg, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Nagpur scored above the state average HDI. Maharashtra contributes 19% of India's industrial output, 15% of service sector output and 13% of India's GDP [Maharashtra Development Report, 2007].

In 2001, the youth population of Maharashtra was, 41,347,821 (42.68 % of total state population). As it is known the youth is not a homogeneous group and can be categorized based on location (urban, rural, tribal); shelter (those with shelter, homeless); economic class (upper, middle, lower); gender (male, female and other sexual orientations) and role [student, non-student, employed, unemployed, parent and citizen]. There is a significant proportion of youth, who are socially marginalized. Globalization has brought about changes in the youth’s perceptions, aspirations, functions and roles, which often accentuate the anxieties of youth.

The concerns that Maharashtra is facing can be seen in the education system, employment opportunities, health and environment. However, in social work we believe that never put a problem forth unless you could suggest a solution. So let us look into these issues.

Education: for the youth from Maharashtra:
When we talk about youth, the first image we think about is the urban college youth. While discussing about education for youth, we have to consider at the beginning that only 12% of the youth from the state could reach higher education and at any point of time only 7% of the youth are enrolled in higher educational institutions.

Still we consider education as an important component for youth development, because the discussion doesn't limit to those who are in the educational institutions presently but also towards those youth who are dropped out and also those who are going to be dropped out because of the compartmentalized educational system.

Family, as an informal system for inculcating education for life and living, the formal education system is a major socializing agent in the life of children and youth. The education levels in Maharashtra are higher than in India as a whole, and the gender differentials in enrolment are relatively narrow. Maharashtra ranks fifth in the country in terms of literacy and yet, there are certain groups such as seasonal migrant children and youth who lack assured access to the formal education system. There is almost universal enrollment in primary education but high rate of drop out at secondary and tertiary stages. This policy recognizes that various sections of youth mentioned in section 12 are still out of the purview of higher education. It is also seen that there is a status divide created by the language medium of instruction.

Today, we need an education system, which not only creates the subject experts but human resource, which can utilize the knowledge for the social well-being. One of the major components of the higher education should be flexibility in the course selections. There is also a need for

  • Equitable access to education with special focus on vulnerable youth group through scholarships, free ships and hostel facilities.
  • Imparting constitutional values through education
  • Education courses should promote scientific temperament, experience-based learning, environmental consciousness, increased learning of vocational trades and respect for indigenous knowledge systems.
  • Inclusion of Life Skills Education
  • Equivalence in the various educational systems and standards across the state.
  • Sexual harassment redressing committee and SC/ST Cell as mandated by the law.
  • Provisions for youth to appear for higher Education in all regional languages including Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi should be encouraged with availability of reference and study material. The education system in Maharashtra must take into consideration the youth from all backgrounds.
  • Incorporation of new subjects in school curriculum as Agriculture, Management, Communication Skills, Legal Literacy, citizenship and Community Service with practical aspects.
  • Provide opportunities to the youth to appear in competitive exams for government, semi-government and private sector in local languages.
  • Distance learning and open education for providing access to higher education and recommends that state should encourage distance learning and open universities/institutes with the significant component of practicum.
  • Lastly, the need of the hour is establishment of a center for personal counseling, career guidance and grievance redress in every educational institution.
 

When I travel to various schools and colleges in Maharashtra, I come across many instances where the students have an avid love for education and are brilliant students, but don’t have the financial resources to pursue higher education. Thus, there is a dire need to give scholarships to the economically weaker sections so as to give them an opportunity and a level ground to compete at power with the other students.

The government has been doing a lot of work in this respect, but a lot more needs to be done at a faster pace.

However, with growth in the youth population and limited opportunities for admission in schools and colleges, and specifically in professional courses, the youth are under great pressure to perform. This issue throws light on how our population is actually being an impediment rather that a resource to our youth/nation.

Education is an absolute must for every person, however pressurizing the youth to a point wherein he has no choice but to end his life is something that the education system makers should look into.

Education should be a means to an end; it should be an enriching and empowering process. Not an end in itself. The objective of education is not merely helping in procuring a job, but instilling in us integrity, honesty, sense of commitment towards society and the nation. Let us look at bringing about a Knowledge Revolution, right from the grass roots which brings to us knowledge, livelihood and prosperity.

This issue could be looked into by providing the youth with:

TRAINING AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

At present, formal education system is largely knowledge based (cognitive-skills) with minimal scope for acquiring new skills (psycho motor / specialized) and development of professional attitudes. It is observed that career pathways and means of possible livelihood are usually de-linked from the formal education. Further, in the present era of globalization managerial skills, holistic approaches, multidisciplinary skills, inter-sector applicability skills, personality enhancement skills have emerged as common professional skills essential for quality human. We had wide experience and learning from major skill development programs as Community Polytechnics, Indian Technological Institutes (ITIs), we need to have an overall mission for the skill development for the youth from Maharashtra.

The establishment of "Maharashtra Skills Development Institute" linked to the proposed National Skills Development Organization and National Knowledge Commission of Govt. of India.

  • Restructuring and upgradation of ITI (Industrial Training Institutions), DIC (District Industrial Centre) and MCED (Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development) with focus on equipping youth with entrepreneurial and “market-relevant skills”. The state should explore public private partnership, in the proposed restructure, including need-based curriculum development for these institutions to enhance better livelihood opportunities. There has been a classic example in the ITI at Khed, where a corporate intervention has provided skilled training and development to the children thereby enabling them to be independent. This model can be replicated to generate more and more young talents.
  • Provision of appropriate stipend to youth
  • Skills and entrepreneurship development courses to be inclusive and useful for illiterate, semi-literate and differently-abled youth.
  • Youth who have successfully completed training and/or skills development course, should be formally recognized and supported in self-entrepreneurship and forming youth self-employment groups, by banking and other financial systems, to ensure credit access at affordable and reasonably low interest rates including promotion of micro finance and micro credit.
  • Creation, maintenance, regular updating and dissemination of the data base of trained youth, at district and state level for utilization by prospective employers.
  • Spread of computer education to the grass root level of the society
 

Employment:
In India, the growth of population has slightly declined from 2 percent in 1983 - 94 to 1.95 percent in 1993-2000. The employment rate has come down from 2.7 percent to 1.07 percent in the same period. The decline in the rate of growth of employment during 1990s was associated with higher growth rate in GDP, indicating a decline in labor intensity of production. The sharp decline in the employment raises the fear that economic growth in 1990s has been of jobless variety (GOI, 2003). The decline of growth of employment is also associated with declining growth of labour force. More over the number of unemployed and incidence of unemployment (unemployed as a percentage of the labour force) increased during this period. The unemployment rates are higher in urban areas than in rural areas. As against unemployment rate of 9.64 percent in 1983 in urban areas the rural unemployment rate was 7.96 percent (current daily basis). There was a significant fall in rural unemployment rate in 1993-94 to 5.61 percent, but urban unemployment was of the order of 7.19 percent. After 1993-94 the period of liberalization, the rural unemployment rate again increased to 7.21 percent while the urban unemployment increased marginally to 7.65 percent in 1999-2000. The growth rate of unemployment from 1993-2000 in rural areas is much higher (5.26 percent) than the urban areas (3.45 percent) (GOI, 2003). This shows that the rural areas are neglected in post reform period as compared to urban areas.

As we all know that employment is one of the major concerns facing the youth of today, being unemployed leaves the youth with a tendency to divert or take to anti-social activities.

Some suggestions that we can work towards are:

  • Develop a 5-year, “Maharashtra State Youth Livelihood Action Plan”, to be reviewed and evaluated every five years for efficiency and effectiveness of execution.
  • State should consider establishment of a special task force for the proposed plan. State should also explore involvement of social and private sector in the proposed plan.
  • Review of current 'Employment Exchange Center' program to ensure ease in availing of vacant positions.
  • Explore employment potential at village level making effective use of technological advancement to create livelihood opportunities for youth.
  • Special effort to provide local livelihood opportunities for youth to avoid forced migration due to unemployment.
  • Promote "earn and learn" approach at every university and college level and encourage desirous youth to start working part-time while in college, if required by restructured courses.
  • Proactively regularize employment opportunities in temporary, low-skilled and low-paid jobs including youth working in the unorganized sector.
  • Mobility for youth with diverse job profiles across different sectors.
  • Career counseling and guidance centers at tehsil level which may be linked with all the departments and ministries and private sector for provision of information of respective schemes and programs.
 

Health:
Health is a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely absence of disease or infirmity. Youth are characterized as enthusiastic, vibrant, impatient, restless and indulging in risk taking behavior; thus susceptible to a wide range of morbidity and health deviations. This requires holistic approach towards health comprising universal access, equitable distribution, local community involvement, use of appropriate technology and accountability to youth.

Considering the fact that the youth form a major part of the population among those who commit suicides, which has recently become a major problem, the social and mental health need to be addressed through counseling, awareness amongst parents, teachers, educationalists on urgent basis.

Youth is a period of life, which is heightened, in its emotional aspects. While there are other health issues such as AIDS, which is reported to be a critical problem among the youth in major metropolitan cities and drug addiction; high rates of anemia in female adolescents. Accidents are also steeply rising - (about 15 to 20,000 accident deaths and 15-20,000 permanent handicaps in youth every year which is projected to increase to 30,000 deaths and an equal number of handicaps every year by 2000); suicide (15-20,000 suicidal deaths every year by youth and 15-20 lakhs attempted suicides); smoking alcohol and drug abuse (10% of male non-student youth were estimated to be smokers). The youth do not know where to go and seek medical and counseling help for their health and emotional concerns further aggravating alienation and suicides among the youth.

These issues can be effectively tackled by:

  • Effectively implement the National Rural Health Mission, especially considering the needs of the youth.
  • Encourage youth as motivators, peer educators, link workers, health messengers, facilitators, coordinators at all the levels in implementation of national health programs to develop volunteer base for relief and rehabilitation during disasters, epidemics and regular health services.
  • Ensure baseline health data collection as 'Health Census', including risk behavior patterns of youth, at village level and its regular publication for better planning and implementation of health programs
  • Reproductive rights of female youth are protected and they are enabled to take decisions regarding their reproductive health.
  • Regular studies to map nutritional status of youth, especially young women and adolescents and take corrective measures including strengthening the Public Distribution System.
  • Programs for mental health of youth and establish counseling centers at PHC level as well as virtual counseling centers. State should establish de-addiction and rehabilitation centers at tehsil level.
  • Train school and college level teachers in health promotion and disease prevention activities including identification of physical and cognitive disabilities, early warning signs of ill-health, common psychological deviations and suicidal tendencies.
  • All public utility places including workspaces facilitate mobility and access for the disabled.
 

Environment:
The environmental deterioration has caused a major concern for young people world over. The natural environment must be maintained and preserved for the present and future generations. For this environmentally friendly use of natural resources should be promoted to improve better quality of life. Increasing the participation of youth in environmental protection depends on strengthening opportunities for young people to participate in the formulation and implementation of eco-friendly policies and programs of the government and civil society. We must encourage youth to form and promote nature groups in villages, towns and schools and colleges to create awareness about environment. Promotion of healthy and green lifestyle for youth through different channels as teachers trained in environment and systems to counter Climate Change. Media and NGO’s with regards to the hazards impacting our environment can bring about awareness.

 

RECREATION AND SPORTS:
Engagement in recreation and sports is a key characteristic of youth hood. It is also important component for overall development of youth and thus major concern for human resource development. Above all, youth have rights to rest and leisure and access to opportunities for entertainment and sports.

Sports provide numerous opportunities to grow socially, emotionally, and physically. Furthermore, they also allow youth to learn and practice in a competitive environment. Encouragement of youth sports is also an issue of national pride, as we can churn out more sportsmen like Krishna Patil, who has become the first Maharashtrian woman to climb the Mount Everest.

Encouraging cinema and theatre are very important. Cinema is something that we relate to on a day-to-day basis. Simply because it is manifestation of our desires and dreams. As a common man we are influenced to a great extent by what we see. Cinema/ theatre brings out the sensitivity of people and thus I would request politicians as well to encourage this form of media to connect more to the people as we are the representatives of the people.

Instances of movies like Natarang and Harishchandrachi Factory are classic examples of Marathi cinema, which sends out a social message to us.

 

For the same we need to:

  • Ensure that all formal and non-formal educational institutions should have adequate facilities for sports and recreation and encourage traditional sports
  • Recognize the community youth groups as unit for entertainment and sports activities organized by state level program and support such youth groups
  • • Encourage and support should be provided to youth groups for local theatre, street theatre, open theatre and cultural groups.
  • Ensure additional support for the promotion of sports and games in remote areas, with special efforts to increase the participation of female and disabled youth in sports. (Yashwant Yuva Krida Puraskars for female and disabled youth)
 

Conclusion:

CITIZENSHIP AND PARTICIPATION

Youth are the key citizens of any state hence they should participate in development of the state. Youth are valuable members of the community so should not only be engaged in activities and programs that encourage and develop informed decision-making, skills development and leadership abilities but also should be encouraged to contribute through meaningful participation opportunities. Ultimately, it is important to develop and enable youth to become responsible parents and spouse and engage as responsible citizens.

Representation of one-third seats for youth in all local self-government institutions and various co-operative. Youth have developed understanding and awareness in promoting volunteerism, adopting democratic principles through 'Citizenship Programs'.

Encourage democratic processes at the colleges and universities levels to promote youth participation and nurture youth leadership.

“Youth Councils” should be evolved and supported by government at tehsil, district and state level. The purpose of these youth councils is to participate in formulation of government policies and the implementation of the same.

Participation of the local resident youth in quality control of civic works taken up at ward and village level should be insisted upon. There should be a clearly defined active role for youth in managing basic public utilities like playground, public-park, common-land, overseeing of waste management and maintenance of electricity lines, water supply pipelines, and sewage and drainage systems. Youth participation in disaster management and provide required training. Fellowship to youths to actively engage in research, social action program and experiential learning.

Youth Commission for redressed of youth concerns and take proactive actions.

We need to realize that a lot of efforts need to be put in from the policy makers so as to give the youth of the nation what they deserve. At the same time this policies need to reviewed so as to serve the changes that take place within the economy.

Lastly to conclude the onus to help the youth doesn’t alone lie with the government. As active citizens we should join hand with the government and non-government organization so as to provide the youth their long overdue concerns and bridge the urban rural divide that exits within the society transcending the gender inequity as well. Youth should be given the right to make decisions concerning themselves and not be forced to succumb to pressures from family, community and society at large.

Remember, that youth is a talent, a perishable talent.

The youth of today is the driving force of tomorrow. It has some responsibility towards its country, which it must acknowledge and practice. It is said that by 2015, 55% of Indian population will be below 20 years. This shows what kind of prospective power rests in the younger generations. We have to see that they are empowered through the right education and the proper spirit is nurtured. Then there will be no looking back on the communalism, resentments and violence of today. So, it is now time to let go of the ties that are tying us down to hate and intolerance. The dream of our nation can be converted to a reality if the youth join hands and pass on new legacies to the future.

Yashvant Chavan Saab, was a role model in the state of Maharashtra, he was MLA at the young age of 27 years. Pawar Saab, and the NCP party have always encouraged the youth to come to the forefront. Pawar Saab is a prodigy who was himself an MLA at the age of 27 years and a Chief Minister at an early age. So here we have a platform for the youth to come forward, take this opportunity and build on it.

Thank You,
Supriya Sule