Youth is a nation’s growth engine, and India is fortunate to have the biggest percentage of young people. More than 30% of its population is under the age of 30, making India the country with the most youths in the world. However, the demographic advantage is not without its drawbacks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concentrating on developing a road map to meet the expectations of Indian youth so that they may play a critical part in realising the vision of a developed India in Amrit Kal by 2047.
The 4 E model of the government aims to improve Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Excellence. After a 34-year hiatus, India finally obtained its New Education Policy (NEP) under PM Modi. It provides flexibility in terms of subject selection as well as a heterogeneous learning approach as opposed to the inflexible and decades-old curriculum-based learning. The Government of India has boosted its education investment since 2014, as seen by the establishment of 7 IITs, 7 IIMs, 14 IIITs, 13 Central universities, and 16 AIIMS in the last eight years.
There has also been a significant growth in the number of seats available in medical and engineering programmes across India. The number of MBBS seats climbed from 50,000 in 2013-14 to 70,000 in this period, while the number of MD seats increased from 25,000 to 33,000. Furthermore, a strong emphasis has been placed on instilling in the youth the spirit of creativity and research. More than 10,000 Atal Tinkering Centers have been constructed at the school level across India to encourage young minds’ originality, creativity, and imagination, as well as to instil skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, and physical computing.
In 2015, the government also launched the Skill India Mission, which gives a forum for youth to receive hands-on training in burgeoning fields. Over the previous eight years, the Skill India Mission has trained over 1.2 crore youth, opening up many national and international job opportunities for them.
In terms of job possibilities, the Government of India has given a significant boost to the manufacturing sector by introducing Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes for a variety of industries, including telephones, automobiles, semi-conductors, and others. This will result in the creation of 60 million additional employment over the next five years. Furthermore, it has promised a total of 10 lakh government posts in various PSUs and government ministries. PM Modi has made 1.5 lakh employment offers to newly hired employees in various government agencies and ministries during the last two months.
The Prime Minister has also assured that India develops a new breed of entrepreneurs who would be future employment creators for the youth. The government launched the Start-Up India Mission with this mission. The fact that India now ranks third globally in the start-up ecosystem, with over 84,000 new start-ups founded in the previous eight years, demonstrates the mission’s success. Under the PM Mudra Yojana, the government has disbursed a total of Rs. 15.52 lakh billion in loans to 29.55 crore MSE borrowers.
In the sphere of sports, the Modi government has launched the Khelo India games to foster and groom young athletes. On the one side, the Khelo India Games provide a level playing ground for youngsters from all states and union territories, while on the other, it prepares young athletes for international contests. Khelo India Games has produced a plethora of new talent year after year. It enabled India to win the most medals in both the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.
PM Modi’s vision for a new and developed India is centred on youth. It is past time for the youth to rise to the occasion and devote their energies to nation building.
(The writer is Chancellor, Chandigarh University, and Chief Patron, NID Foundation)