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Youths’ Man Ki Baat in London

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Anilesh Kumar at the centre with Jane Dolina (Russia) Njoki Coleman (USA), KT Thompson (UK), Luke Radcliff (UK), Vicky Double (UK) and Vicky Lo-Chi Tseng (Taiwan)

India is often referred as the fastest growing economy in the world- which is true- but at the same time we have one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world paradoxical to the complex statistics of swimmingly developing nation….A special report by Anilesh Kumar

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Anilesh Kumar at the centre with Jane Dolina (Russia) Njoki Coleman (USA), KT Thompson (UK), Luke Radcliff (UK), Vicky Double (UK) and Vicky Lo-Chi Tseng (Taiwan)

Last week I met some of my friends from UK and other countries including US, Russia and Taiwan. The evening was set for relishing the taste and aroma of the Indian cuisines which have a history of quenching the thirst for spicy curry and naan for its global admirers in the UK. Soon after few bites, the dinner table turned into a platform for non-official yet diplomatic chinwag.

The question was what does it mean to be an Indian youth and how does the world look at us? With 2017 ending in couple of weeks, the question prompted to look back at the journey of job creation last year and the prospects of opportunities on the basis of current circumstances.

India is often referred as the fastest growing economy in the world- which is true- but at the same time we have one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world paradoxical to the complex statistics of swimmingly developing nation.  According to a report by Ministry of Labour in 2016, the employment generation in many sectors including textiles and automobiles was slowest in the year exacerbating the unemployment rates. Further, United Nations International Labour Organization’s report has predicted a bleak growth in the job creation over 2017-18 stagnating the joblessness and advancing the social inequality.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by the Indian community in Xiamen, China

One of the problems with a discussion on issues like this is any solution seeking session is sacrificed for scoring political points ending in  slinging and  even sledging on TV debates. For India the challenge to stitch the shredded fabric of unemployment is as huge as the country itself. But it doesn’t mean we don’t or couldn’t resolve it. We are well aware where the problem lies. For example, look at the number of people who have undergone a formal skill training in India- only 2.3 percent which is nowhere close to 68% UK and 52% US. The current Modi government has launched its ambitious mission to instil skills and prepare the youths to compete with the global workforce under ‘Skill India’ scheme, which has an ocean of challenge in its implementation however as an Indian youth I would like to be positive about its feasibility and outcomes.

The potential of an Indian youth is evident from the number of engineers and doctors formidably supporting the IT and health sector of the two developed nations in the world- UK & USA and where their expertise in the subject is often cited unparalleled. But back in India how serious are we in taking the youths out of the jaws of destitution? The answer is not exciting and therefore raises the expectations from the government. India spends lower than Brazil and Malaysia on education. Only 3.8% of our GDP is allocated for education, lack of which is at the heart of most the problems. As an Indian youth I would appreciate government’s attention and escalated spending in the sector.

Today more than 65% of Indian population is below the age of 35.  By 2020, the average age for 65% of our population would be 29, at the same time China would be 37. There are numerous reports how Indian graduates are unemployed as well as unemployable!

In order to capitalize the fresh potential India needs to steer its education policies towards the direction of long term remedies but at the same time find engagement for the fresh graduates whom doubts about their future keep gnawing. The growth of the country has to translate into people’s growth in all aspects of life. There is not and should be no scope for an expedient road map for hitting the target and nor should be accepted the bumbling on questions of providing youths a better life and opportunity. I believe that we the Indian youths not only need but also deserve better and it’s high time we set the agenda for the political system to keep the youths at the forefront of future.

By the way I tried using the ornaments of statistics from coffers of my brain to establish that we are smashing in every sector which my friends palmed off. But the question is about us. Are we ready to hold the feet of the system under fire to set the record of the employment straight and pull us from straitened circumstances?