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Editorial Articles

Volume-12, 23-29 June, 2018


Harnessing the Youth Power

Sanjay Kumar

Youth power is believed to be one of the most important assets for a nation. This becomes even more significant when viewed in the context of a nation like India. India - the world's largest democracy, is regarded as the 'Reservoir of Human Talent' and the emerging 'Supplier of Human Resources to the World.'
 Consider this: in 2020, an average Indian is expected to be only 29 years old against 37 years in China and the US, 45 years in West Europe and 48 years in Japan. This is the "demographic dividend" that research analysts keep harping about - by 2020, the working age population in India is expected to grow by more than 47 million.
However, youth power can be a double-edged sword if it is not managed efficiently. As the working population grows by leaps and bounds, it is imperative that this new generation of workforce is equipped with skills and knowledge if the nation is to harness its human capital potential.
More importantly, skills- and knowledge-accretion need to be in sync with the aspirations and ambitions of the youth.
As Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi-led Government completes its fourth year, various initiatives have been undertaken towards harnessing the yuva shakti to transform India. Precisely speaking, "Make in India", "Skill India", " Start Up India" are some of its major tools to show the youth of India the road to "empowerment".
In addition to it, the Prime Minister Mr. Modi and his government seem to have devoted these four years at the Centre to reform India's education sector as well through a new proposed education policy, made efforts to revive the rankings of our institutions, establishing 20 world class universities across the country, skilling youths for a better future, reforming regulatory bodies and taken many other initiatives.
With a promise of providing "Education to All", the Modi Government has taken several steps to impart quality education towards strengthening a system established over the years by successive governments.
Initiatives - Higher Education
In last four years, the Narendra Modi led Government has started seven new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and two new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs).
The last one year can be considered as HRD Ministry's most productive since 2014. The government fulfilling its promise of providing more autonomy to Higher Education Institutes has approved a new law to give IIMs unprecedented levels of academic and administrative freedom. In addition to that, a new regulation passed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted different grades of autonomy to all institutions of higher learning based on their performance.
Initiatives - School Education
As far as school education is concerned, construction of toilets in all government schools and conducting the first National Achievement Survey (NAS) are two significant achievements.
The ministry has made Board examinations com-pulsory again for Class X in CBSE. The Right to Education Act has been amended by Parliament extending the deadline to train all unqualified school teachers till March 2020. The Government as per its promise to introduce a mechanism to monitor perfor-mance of states under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has launched the online platform "ShaGun".
Setting up world class institutions
To improve the international ranking of Indian institutions, the Government is assisting 20 institutions, 10 public and 10 private, to break into the global top-100 list. The 10 public institutions will also receive Rs. 1,000 crore each from the ministry to improve ranking. The "Institutions of National Importance" are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions.
Education for Girls
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme launched on 22nd January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana aims to enhance the sex ratio and the status of the girl child along with their enrollment in the education. The initiative was rolled out by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and supported by the Department of School Education and Literacy An award is being instituted from the "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" Abhiyan for School Management Committees which achieve 100% transition of girls at different levels of education.
UDAAN: It is an initiative of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to enable disadvantaged girl students and other students from SC/ST and minorities to transit from school to post-school professional education especially in Science and Mathematics. It aims to reduce the quality gap between school education and engineering education entrance systems with focus on three parameters -curriculum design, transaction and assessment.
Providing Assistance for Girls' Advancement in Technical Education Initiative (PRAGATI):  The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) scheme launched in 2014, envisages selection of one girl per family where total annual income is less than 6 lakh. The selection will be done on the basis of ranks obtained by girls in the qualifying examinations to pursue technical education. The scholarship amount is Rs. 30,000 or tuition fees or actual whichever is less and Rs. 2000/ month for ten months as contingency allowance.
Persons with Special Needs
SAKSHAM Scholarship launcehd in 2014-15 for differently-abled children:  AICTE has decided to award 1,000 scholarships every year to differently abled students to pursue technical education based on the ranks obtained by them in the qualifying exami-nations. The scholarship amount would be Rs 30,000 or tuition fees or actual whichever is less and Rs 2000 per month for ten months as contingency allowance.
SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active -Learning for Young Aspiring Minds): Under this programme Launched on 15 August 2016 by PM Modi, Professors of centrally funded institutions like IITs, IIMs, Centrally universities will offer online courses to citizens of
our country. All courses will be made available free of cost for learning. In case the learner requires a Verified Certificate, a small fee will be applicable. At least one crore students are expected to benefit in two to three years through this initiative.
Moreover, the Ministry of Human Resource Development is also working on a draft legislation to set up a Higher Education Regulatory Council subsuming all existing regulatory authorities such as UGC,
The Government has also got cabinet's nod to set up National Testing Agency (NTA) and has already appointed its head.
The NTA will act as a single testing agency to conduct all entrance exams for admission to higher education
Expansion of education facilities
*7 new IIMs, 6 new IITs, 1 new IIIT, 2 IISERs, 1 NIT, 1 new Central University, 109 new KVs and 62 NVs have been established/ sanctioned.
*10 new AIIMS to be set up in Andhra Pradesh, Mahara-shtra, West Bengal and Poorvanchal in UP, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
*Medical Post-graduation Seats (MD/MS/Diploma/DM/ M.Ch.) have increased from 25,346 in 2014-15 to 36,703 in 2017-18. Similarly, Under-graduate Seats increased from 54,348 in 2014-15 to 65183 in 2016-17.
JIGYASA: A student- scientist connect programme was officially launched on 8 July 2017 under which Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has joined hands with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to implement this programme. The focus is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend student's classroom learning with that of a very well planned research laboratory based learning.
The "JIGYASA" would inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness on one hand and scientific temper on the other, amongst the school students and their teachers. The Programme is expected to connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR targeting 100,000 students and nearly 1000 teachers annually.
Khelo India Program
Khelo India programme. The Khelo India Programme was launched in 2016 for building inclusive and comprehensive sports ecosystem in country. It aims at inculcating sports into the day to day lives of youngsters early on in their lives.
 The initiative marks a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports, as the programme aims at mainstreaming sports as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development.
The main aims to promote 150 select schools in as many districts, and 20 universities across the country, as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sportspersons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakaram (RYSK)
During these four years of Prime Minister Modi led government, a number of Schemes for development and empowerment of youth have been launched. In order to improve the effectiveness of these Schemes, it has been considered necessary to merge these Schemes into a single Scheme, which can act as the flagship scheme of the Department of Youth Affairs.
Now the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has a new umbrella Scheme called 'Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakaram' (RYSK) along with two other schemes namely National Service Scheme (NSS) and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) for the development of adolescents and youth of the country. The proposed financial allocation for the above Schemes for 2016-17 is Rs. 500 crores under Plan and Rs. 96 crores under Non Plan.
The Scheme beneficiaries shall be the youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, in line with the definition of 'youth' in the National Youth Policy, 2014. In case of programme components specifically meant for the adolescents, the age-group shall be 10-19 years. The following existing Schemes/ Programmes shall get subsumed in the Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakaram (RYSK):
*Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS).
*National Youth Corps (NYC).
*National Programme for Youth and Adolescent Development (NPYAD).
*International Cooperation (IC).
*Youth Hostels (YH).
*Assistance to Scouting and Guiding Organisations. National Discipline Scheme (NDS)
*National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP).
Pradhan Mantri YUVA (Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyan) Yojana: It is a centrally sponsored Scheme on entrepreneurship education and training being implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India. The Scheme aims at creating an enabling ecosystem for Entrepreneurship development through Entrepreneurship education and training; Advocacy and easy access to entrepreneurship support network and Promoting social enterprises for inclusive growth.
The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of Rs. 499.94 crore, and will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3050 Institutes.
Skill India
Skill India campaign was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 15 July 2015 to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. On this occasion the Prime Minister formally launched the "National Skill Development Mission", unveiled the new "National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015", and rolled out on all-India basis the Ministry's flagship scheme, "Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikash Yojana - PMKVY"
India is a country today with 65% of its youth in the working age group. If ever there is a way to reap this demographic advantage, it has to be through skill development of the youth so that they add
not only to their personal growth, but to the country's economic growth as well.
Skill India offers courses across 40 sectors in the country which are aligned to the standards recognised by both, the industry and the government under the National Skill Qualification Framework. The courses help a person focus on practical delivery of work and help him enhance his technical expertise so that he is ready from day one of his job and companies don't have to invest into training him for his job profile. For the first time in 68 years of India's independence, a Ministry for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has been formed to focus on enhancing employability of the youth through skill development.
The National Skill Development Mission
The National Skill Development Mission was announced in the Budget Speech of 2015-16 and it aims to consolidate the skilling initiatives spread across several Ministries and to standardize procedures and outcomes across 31 Sector Skill Council. For instance, currently, over 70-odd Skill Development Programmes (SDPs) are being implemented by Government of India, each with its own norms for eligibility criteria, duration of training, cost of training, outcomes, monitoring and tracking mechanism etc.
The policy links skills development to improved employability and productivity to pave the way forward for inclusive growth in the country. The skill strategy is complemented by specific efforts to promote entrepreneurship to create enough opportunities for skilled workforce.
"Skill India programme" goes alongside the "Make in India" campaign - i.e, enhancing the supply of skilled labourers to encourage producers to undertake their manufacturing initiatives in India.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
Approved for another four years (2016-2020) to benefit 10 million youth Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood. Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Under this Scheme, Training and Assessment fees are completely paid by the Government.
Key Components of the Scheme include Short Term Training, Recognition of Prior Learning, Special Projects, Kaushal and Rozgar Mela, Placement Guidelines and Monitoring Guidelines
To ensure that high standards of quality are maintained by PMKVY TCs, NSDC and empanelled Inspection Agencies shall use various methodologies, such as self-audit reporting, call validations, surprise visits, and monitoring through the Skills Development Management System (SDMS). These methodologies shall be enhanced with the engagement of latest technologies.
National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme
The National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) launched on 19th August 2016 aims to promote apprenticeship training and incentivize employers who wish to engage apprentices. NAPS has replaced Apprentice Protsahan Yojana (APY) from 19th August 2016. While APY provided sharing of 50% of the stipend as prescribed by the Government only for the first two years, NAPS has provision for sharing of expenditure incurred in both providing training and stipend to the apprentice.
National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)
 In order to enable youth to play key role in nation-building, it is important to develop leadership qualities among them. In this context, the government has  launched a new Scheme, namely, 'National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)' in December, 2014. The Scheme has the following 5 components, namely,
*Neighbourhood Youth Parliament
*Youth for Development Programme
*National Young Leaders Awards
*National Youth Advisory Council
*National Youth Development Fund
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana or DDU-GKY
It was launched on 25 September 2014 by Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu on the occasion of 98th birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. The Vision of DDU-GKY is to "Transform rural poor youth into an economically independent and globally relevant workforce". It aims to target youth, in the age group of 15-35 years. DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth. A corpus of Rs 1,500 crore is aimed at enhancing the employability of rural youth. Under this programme, disbursements would be made through a digital voucher directly into the student's bank account as part of the government's skill development initiative.
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): Prime Minister Mudra Scheme was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Hon'ble Mr. Narendra Modi on April 8, 2015. These plans will work under Micro Units Development and Reinforcement Agency (Mudra) Bank. Prime Minister Mudra Scheme (PMMY) is an institution which has been set up by the Government of India for the development and refinancing activities related to Micro unit. Its main objective is to provide financing to the non-corporate small business sector. Under this, the loan has been sanctioned to the small entrepreneurs about Rs. 1 lakh. Another major reason for this is that the government wants
to take responsibility for young people for job creation, not for job seekers.
Start Up India
Unique in its own way the campaign was first announced by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi during his 15 August 2015 address from the Red Fort, in New Delhi. The action plan of this initiative, is based on the following
three pillars:
*Simplification and Hand-holding.
*Funding Support and Incentives.
*Industry-Academia Partner-ship and Incubation.
The central government's Startup India scheme will give a new dimension to entre-preneurship in the country wherein youngsters will be encouraged to become job givers rather than job seekers,
An additional area of focus relating to this initiative, is to discard restrictive State Government policies within this domain, such as License Raj, Land Permissions, Foreign Investment Proposals, and Environmental Clearances. A startup is defined as an entity that is headquartered in India, which was opened less than seven years ago, and has an annual turnover less than 25 crore (US$3.8 million). Under this initiative, the government has already launched the I-MADE program, to help Indian entrepreneurs build 1 million mobile app start-ups, and the MUDRA Banks scheme (Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana), an initiative which aims to provide micro-finance, low-interest rate loans to entrepreneurs from low socioeconomic backgrounds.[4] Initial capital of $ 200 billion (US$3.1 billion) has been allocated for this scheme.
In a democratic country like India with such a diverse population, implementation of pan India reforms is a challenging task owing to its varied political, economic and social situations. The above initiatives indicate that the reforms in various sectors are among the top priorities of the PM Modi government during these four years. Constant efforts have been taken to effectively revamp the entire infrastructure to energize the youth in India to make India proud of its "YUVA SHAKTI"
The author is an academician and writer based in Patna, Bihar. His email is sanjayk batroul@gmail.com. Views expressed are personal.