Empower the youth first

  • IASbaba
  • September 8, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 1,2,3:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Human Resources
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Empower the youth first

Context: It is argued that if India wants to achieve the goal of self-reliance we have to start with empowering the Youth

Status of Youth in India

  • Definition: The 2014 National Youth Policy (NYP) defined youth as persons between 15 and 29 years. 
  • Major Proportion in Total Population: This segment of the society accounted for 27.5% of the population as per NYP, 2014.
  • Government Expenditure on Youth: According to the NYP report, the Central government spends about ₹2,710 per youth on education, skill development, employment, healthcare and food subsidies.
  • Investment as percentage of GDP: The total amount of Union government expenditure is pegged at more than ₹90,000 crore. Assuming that States spend an equal amount, the total investment in our youth would be under 1% of the GDP.
  • Opportunity Cost of investing in Youth: A World Bank report pegged the projected cost (read: loss) of not investing in children and youth at 4% of the GDP every year. Of this, the costs of unemployment account for 0.6%
  • Labour Force Contribution: As of 2017-18, youth participation in India’s labour force was 38.3%. 
  • High Unemployment: Drawing from the 2018 State of Working India Report, the youth unemployment rate is pegged to be at least 18.3% (3.47 crore youths). 
  • Unutilized Potential: About 30% of youth fall under the ‘neither in employment nor in education’ category and 33% of India’s skilled youth are unemployed
  • Needs Policy Attention in coming years: Around 50 lakh youth are expected to be entering the workforce annually.
  • Less Time to prevent Demographic Disaster: India has just a decade’s time to seize the opportunity and realise this youth demographic dividend, else it will turn into demographic disaster with high unemployment rate & underutilized potential

Way Forward

1. Government should launch Indian Youth Guarantee (IYG) programme at the earliest

  • It is similar to the European Union Youth Guarantee (EU-YG) but tuned to India’s context.
  • EU-YG emerged in 2010 at a time when youth unemployment rates were soaring above 20%.
  • EU-Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all its Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years, within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education, receive a good quality offer of
    • employment
    • continued education
    • apprenticeship
    • traineeship
  • An IYG initiative, with statutory backing, can function as a facilitatory framework for ensuring gainful and productive engagement of youth. 

2. Youth Component Plan

  • Such a plan earmarks a specific percentage of funds under a separate head on the lines of the Special Component Plan for the Scheduled Castes and the Tribal Sub-Plan
  • Objective of Youth Component Plan is to channelise flow of outlays and benefits proportional to the percentage of youth population based on sub-regional requirements.
  • Existing youth schemes and skilling infrastructure need to be dovetailed and streamlined while leveraging industry to enable an in situ empowerment of youth.
  • Rural youth employment can be instituted alongside MGNREGA as only about 4% of youth in the labour force have been impacted by MGNREGA


A focus on our youth is the first step towards self-reliance. It is time we summon the political will to guarantee our youth a viable future.

Connecting the dots:

  • Skill India Mission
  • Need for Urban Employment Guarantee Programme

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