A group of young Indian professionals from diverse academic backgrounds has drafted a youth agenda, which they claimed is one its kind in the country. The document, Youth Agenda for India, is the result of months of study by members of Young Leaders Think Tank (YLTT), which is a partner organisation of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German non-governmental and non-profit organisation that works towards promoting social democracy.
"The key distinguishing feature of this document is its fresh approach for prioritizing youth issues in a country of limited resources and diverse youth population," said Sachin Kumar, a study team member and one of the authors of the report.
The study team undertook a unique exercise and methodology to develop the Youth Agenda for India - to be made not only 'for' the youth, but also 'by' the youth.
"The uniqueness of the document is its methodology which takes into cognizance the scientific aspects of research, re-modeled to maximize the outcome," said Mandvi Kulshreshtha, a member of the study team.
"Another distinctive feature of this study is the layers of validation - of issues as well as solutions - enunciated by the key stakeholders, i.e. the youth themselves."
The YLTT Youth Agenda for India (YAFI) identifies 32 issues related to learning or education, work and employment, citizenship and health that concern the youth of India. It presents possible future scenarios of these issues and suggests various curative and preventive measures to address them.
"Some of the recommendations that came out during discussion rounds have never been articulated in any study or policy document. If we are able to put in action even half of those recommendations, we can ensure socio-development changes benefitting all," asserted Mandvi.
Some of the high priority issues across all categories mentioned in the document include access to skills-based training, employment-driven training facilities, local employment opportunities, quality of elected representatives in politics, women's absence from the job market post marriage, rural to urban migration, need for infrastructure, level of school enrollment by gender, and more.
The YAFI document aims at reaping the demographic dividend of the young population of India by sensitizing policies that may help address the aforementioned issues from the perspective of the youth.
"Two-third of the population of India is under the age of 25. According to estimates of experts, by 2025 this demographic dividend is likely to increase manifolds in the age group of 15-59. With growing pool of fresh labour, India has the potential to steer the world in the economic and political arena," said the authors of the document.
The study findings were presented and formally disseminated early May among several stakeholders - UN Solution Exchange, policy makers, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Planning Commission - during a two day national workshop on Building Perspective on Youth Policy at Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. The RGNIYD, an autonomous organisation under the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, develops the National Youth Policy for the country.
"Youth Agenda is a good initiative of looking how demographic dividend is going to affect young people in the country," said P Siva Kumar, faculty, School of youth Studies and Extension, RGINYD.