[Gist of Kurushetra February 2021] Empowering Youth: Towards Rebuilding Rural India

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: National Skill Development Mission
Mains level: Various initiatives regarding skill development for Indian youth

Introduction:

• With about 65 percent of its population under 35 years of age, India is one of the youngest nations in the world. According to Census 2011 estimates, 70 percent of youth population in India comprises of rural youth.

• India’s rural youth then have the potential to be the drivers of its economic engine to power its growth. For this, it is important that young people are propelled to channelise their creativity, skill and knowledge for rebuilding rural India.

National Skill Development Mission:

• An exclusive ministry to advance skill development, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) was formed in 2014. The National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) was launched on July 15, 2015 to provide a strong institutional framework to implement and scale up skill development efforts across the country.

• Under NSDM, more than one crore youth are being imparted skills training annually under various tong term and short-term training programme. A
number of initiatives have been taken by the Government to bring in greater synergy in skill development initiatives, improve access, increase the scale of skill development and meet the aspirations of youth.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana:

• Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (ODU-GKY) is a skill and placement initiative for rural India and one of the clusters of initiatives of Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) that seeks to promote rural livelihoods under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)-the Mission for poverty reduction. Skill development through the Rural Self Employment and Training Institutes (RSETIs), enables trainee to take bank credit and start his/her own Micro-enterprise. DDU-GKY and RSETI schemes cover rural areas in all States of the country.

• Long-term skill training is provided through the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) functional across the country. It is important that the ITIs, particularly those in rural areas, work on stronger collaborations with industry partners so that ITI students can be get hands-on industry exposure while undergoing training in the institutes. Such industry collaborations are also integral to post-training placements of the students.

Digital India campaign:

• The Digital India campaign launched by the Government of India is to provide encouragement to a digital-savvy youth and leverage the growing internet penetration, especially among the younger population, which could be drivers of digital literacy and promotion in the entire country. The Digital India journey has impacted all aspects of the lives of Indian citizens, including youth with initiatives of Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer, Common Services Centres, DigiLocker, mobile based UMANG services, participatory governance through MyGov, JeevanPramaan, to UPI, Ayushman Bharat, e-Hospital, PM-Kisan, e-NAM, Soil Health Cards, SWAYAM, SWAYAM PRABHA, National Scholarship Portal, e-Pathshala, and so on.

Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan:

• Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) was launched to promote digital literacy in rural India. PMGDISHA is strengthened through the network of the Common Service Centres (CSCs) that deliver various digital services to small towns and rural areas. The Common Service Centres have an important role to play in empowering citizens, particularly the youth, through access to information, knowledge and digital skills.

National Education Policy 2020:

• The National Education Policy 2020 can become a great opportunity to the empowerment of youth. The policy targets phase-wise integration of vocational education programmes into mainstream education by exposing vocational subjects in middle and secondary schools. The emphasis on Vocational Education will be significant in enhancing employability and all-round development of rural youth. While more teachers will have to be recruited for vocational subjects, youth volunteers in rural areas can also play an important role in assisting school teachers and also in creating awareness among students and parents on how vocational education can benefit the career prospects of students.

Atal Innovation Mission:

• Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), implemented by NITI Aayog, Atal Tinkering labs set-up across the country are helping school students find innovative solutions to problems facing their communities.68 Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) support more than 1500 startups in the country and over 6000 Atal Tinkering Labs have been set-up to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

Way forward:

• We need to continue to engage youth through cultural, digital and social media platforms so that they become aware about their rights and duties and emerge as forerunners in rebuilding rural India.

• We must be able to inculcate in the youth an appreciation for our rich heritage, for traditional, tribal, ethnic arts, crafts and community-specific skills, focussing on their overall personality development. Government functionaries -right down to the grassroots level of the village secretariat – should treat youth as stakeholders, as equal partners and not just as beneficiaries.

• Youth leaders, civil society, government and non-government organisations all need to work together in close coordination for the all-round development of youth in rural India.

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