[Gist of Kurushetra February 2021] Empowering Rural Youth Need, Challenges and Way forward

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: National Youth Policy 2014
Mains level: Reasons behind the need of youth employment

Introduction:

• India is a young country, with 70 percent of people below the age of 35 years. It is this young population, which constitutes a potential demographic dividend, which needs to be properly addressed and harnessed towards positive, constructive and purposeful activities by imparting quality education, skill-based training, access to Information and Communication Technology and urgent attention to improving their quality of life.

• Verily, our nation is sitting on a goldmine of raw talent, waiting to be nurtured, developed, and added to the growing human resource pool. It is estimated that by the beginning of third decade of 21st century, the population of India would have a median age of 28 years only as against 38 years for United States, 42 years for China and 48 years for Japan.

• In order to capture this demographic bonus, it is essential that our economy has the ability to support the increase in the labour force and the youth have the appropriate education, skills, health awareness and other enablers to productively contribute to the economy.

Why Youth Employment is needed?

• In our country, rural folks’ access to education and training is often limited by financial barriers (e.g. training and transportation costs) and nonfinancial barriers (e.g. scarce education and training infrastructure, inflexible training schedules).

• Especially for poor rural children and adults, the opportunity costs for education and training may be too high to give up their income-generating activities and unpaid duties that help sustain their families.

• Many rural people do not have basic education. This also hampers their access to technical and vocational training or other skills development. Moreover, unequal gender relations and traditional gender roles entail specific difficulties for rural girls and women in accessing education and training.

• Education and training is often of inadequate quality. Teachers and trainers may be unqualified, equipment and technology outdated, and methods ill-suited to rural contexts.

• In many developing countries, training systems tend to operate in isolation from the labour market and employers’ needs, so training does not always match skills demand.

National Youth Policy 2014

• National Youth Policy, 2014 was formulated which seeks to define the vision of the Government of India, for youth of the country and identify the key areas in which action is required to realise their optimum potential and through them enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations in the area of education, employment and skill development, entrepreneurship, health and healthy lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and governance, youth engagement, inclusion and social justice. The target groups identified in this policy are
(i) Student Youth
(ii) Migrant Youth
(iii) Rural Youth
(iv) Tribal Youth
(v) Youth At Risk
(vi) Youth in violent conflicts
(vii) Out of school/dropouts
(viii) Groups with social /moral stigma
(ix) Youth in Institutional Care, Young women.

The Youth belonging to socially and economically disadvantaged communities/groups, and differently-abled youth form the three priority groups among the target age group.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana:

• Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through National Skill Development Corporation has implemented Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY-2015-16) with a target to cover 24 lakh youth in the country. The employment rate of the scheme reflects, out of the total trained candidates, around 2.53 lakh only have been reported as placed.

• Based on the learnings, the scheme has been revamped and modified as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY-2016-2020) as ‘Skill Development Component’ of umbrella PMKVY to skill 1 crore people over four years period, with an outlay of Rs.12,000 crore. PMKVY is a grant-based scheme, providing free of cost skill development training and skill certification in over 252 job roles to increase the employability of the youth.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana:

• Ministry of Rural Development is undertaking the initiatives in skill development under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM): Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) is a placement linked skill development programme for rural youth between 15-35 years and allows skilling in a PPP mode and also assures placements in regular jobs and is being undertaken all over the country through Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) registered with the Ministry.

Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood scheme:

• Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood (SANKALP) vs yet another centrally sponsored scheme with a project of total size $ 675 million, including World Bank assistance of $ 500 million, aimed at creating convergence among all skill training activities, improve quality of skill development programmes through building a pool of quality trainers and assessors, model curriculum and content, establish robust monitoring and evaluation system.

National Career Service:

• National Career Service (NCS), a Mission Mode project set in motion by Ministry of Labour and Employment, for establishing quick and efficient career related services across the country
by revamping the existing nation-wide set-up of Employment Exchanges into IT-enabled Career Centers. Realising the fact that information and communication technology can prove a great enabler in improving the lot of modern-day techsaavy young Indians, Digital India Programme, aimed at connecting rural young blood with high-speed internet networks is definitely a laudable step. Stand-Up India and Start-up India are another worth-mentioning feathers in the cap of Government of India to support entrepreneurship by funding support and incentives, Industry Academia Partnership and Incubation, and Simplification and Handholding.

Stand-up India scheme:

• Stand-up India scheme facilitates bank loans between 10 lakh and 01 crore to at least one SC/ST borrower and one woman per bank branch for setting up a greenfield enterprise in manufacturing, service or trading sector.

• The beneficiaries are eligible for subsidy at Rs. 10000/- or 50 percent of unit cost, whichever is less. The latest data reveals that more than 105204 applications have been sanctioned with bank loan of Rs. 23573 crore.

Future Landscape:

• The aspirational younger generation born after 1991 invariably hold the key to India’s economic and political future. Therefore, it is an appropriate time to launch an Indian Youth Guarantee (IYG) programme, akin to the European Union Youth Guarantee (EU-YG) but tuned to our country’s context. Such an initiative, with statutory backing, can function as a facilitatory framework for ensuring gainful and productive engagement of youth. Its strategic goal should be to ensure that within a fixed time frame, young people graduating from college or losing a job either find a good quality job suited to their education and experience or acquire skills required to find a job through an apprenticeship. Roping-in the district administration and local bodies for effective outcomes would be better.

• Existing youth schemes and skilling infrastructure need to be dovetailed and streamlined while leveraging industry to enable an in-situ empowerment of youth. The advisory and monitory tool for youth development, already instituted in our country.

• The Youth Development Index (YDI) can help recognise priority areas, gaps and alternative approaches specific to each State. The index also packs a new dimension of social inclusion to assess the inclusiveness of societal progress due to prevalence of systemic inequalities. Succinctly, YDI can be revisited and deployed to play a vital role in crafting a region-specific IYG. It is high time all the stakeholders seriously pay attention to guarantee our youth, especially the rural folks, a viable future.

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