[Gist of Kurushetra February 2021] Empowering Rural Youth through Water and Tourism Sector

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Jal Jeevan Mission
Mains level: Emphasis on tourism and water sector

Introduction:

• The spread of COVID-19 pandemic around the world has taken global economies a setback with a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020.
• India also witnessed a dip in the Gross Domestic Product, increase in unemployment, mass migration and other dire consequences of the ongoing pandemic.

Water Sector:

• Yet water is an essential resource for survival of mankind, we should also consider that water sector is also very necessary and irreplaceable resource for economic growth. As per the United Nations report on Water and jobs, it has been estimated that half of the world’s workforce i.e., about 1.5 billion people are dependent and employed in one of the eight water and natural resources dependent industries.

• Hence, it is evident that the water sector in different facets has a potential to empower the rural youth.

• Water contamination is an important concern that poses huge health burden on rural community. The prolonged, persistent and post-limit exposure to toxins may lay a heavy toll on health of human and livestock population.

• Identification and removal of contamination is highly important as water borne diseases are directly proportional to water quality. The idea is to leverage communities and private firms offering them a platform to invest in water purification plants at decentralised levels. Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM) operational guidelines also mentioned to identify and train five women from every village to undertake water quality surveillance through Field Test Kits (FTKs) and sanitary inspection.

Tourism Sector:

• The tourism industry, one of the largest contributor to India’s GDP, has been hit due to global spread of coronavirus pandemic. As per World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Covid-19 pandemic costs tourism industry at least USD 22 billion resulting in a loss of 50 million jobs globally. Revival of the tourism industry is one of the prime concerns of the Government of India wherein rural India can be proved to a hidden and unexplored asset to be scratched.

• Another segment of tourism industry which can empower rural youth can be ‘Education tourism’. Practical training and exposure have always been considered important. There are several global organisations which used to develop educational tour programmes in India for international travellers.

• In the wake of pandemic, Indian schools and colleges should also consider it as a learning pathway to impart practical education to the students. It not only introduces the vast diversity of India to students but also proved to be crucial for their holistic development.

Way forward:

• The pandemic created a disruption in our day to day lives while also impacting our livelihood. But as life goes on, one needs to adapt to changes and explore different options.

• The skilled and unskilled workers residing in rural India needs to be empowered through different interventions across sectors while defining their entrepreneurial skills to boost the Indian economy.

• Two such sectors can be water and tourism sectors which have some hidden potential to push start the economy by empowering rural youth.

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