Youth: A Change Agent
Sustainable Development Goals: 8
- SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
India is at the cusp of demographic transition wherein 65 per cent of the population is in the working age 15- 59. This offers a unique opportunity to become the skill capital of the world to meet the skilled manpower requirements of ageing economies by appropriate skilling in consonance with the standards accepted across countries.
As per the National Youth Policy, 2014 all young persons in the age group 15-29 years constitutes youth population which is a diverse group with varying needs, aspirations and requirements. The youths as per 2011 Census comprises of 28 per cent of the population contributing about 34 per cent of India’s Gross National Income (GNI). The contribution of youth to the GDP can be increased by increasing their labour force participation and their productivity.1 The need of the hour is to empower youth to achieve their full potential and to enable India to be the leader in supply of skilled labour force.
The demographic advantage that India enjoys is not uniformly distributed across the country. There is a clear divide between peninsular India comprising of West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the hinterland states. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. While the peninsular states show a pattern closer to China and Korea, with sharp rises and declines in the working age population, the hinterland states remain relatively young and dynamic, characterized by a rising working age population for some time, plateauing out towards the middle of the century. Demographically therefore, there are two India’s, with implications for policy responses viz. a soon-to begin-ageing India (peninsular India) where the elderly and their needs will require greater attention; and a young India (Hinterland States) where providing education, skills, and employment opportunities must be the focus.
However, mobilizing the youth for vocational education/ skill development is difficult in these States due to lack of willingness to migrate, inability to pay for training, lack of employers endorsements, low literacy level, lack of awareness, among others. The question of empowering the youth necessitates a glance into the youth participation in the labour market.