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Unformatted text preview: COMMENTARY JUNE 26, 2010 vol xlv nos 26 & 27 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 32 Revisiting the National Youth Policy Jhumpa Mukherjee, Shoma Choudhury A critical exploration of the National Youth Policy (1988 and 2003) to understand the ways in which the category “youth” has been imagined by the government, the role assigned to youth in society and politics, and if the policies reflect the needs of the youth in contemporary globalised times. While the 2003 policy is an advance of the earlier one in several aspects, it still stops short of according a role or responsibility to the various categories of youth identified by it. Y outh all over the world today, con- stitute a significant category for policymakers, governments, mar- keting spets, politicians and social scientists alike. Yet one notices a relative silence in social science when it comes to the concerns of the youth, especially in the context of India. There are studies which primarily focus on the youth, in particular historical moments and con- junctures, or as a category with a specific set of problems. However, an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the contempo- rary issues pertaining to the youth in our country calls for attention. Why do the youth need to be given special attention all of a sudden? We can think of at least three immediate contexts in which the youth as a category has gained both visi- bility and importance. Youth: Playing Varied Roles The youth in India today, under the age of 34 years, constitute about 41% of the total population according to the 2001 Census. It is estimated that by 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 years for China and 48 years for J apan. An increase in the productive population, that is, those be- longing to the “working age category” (falling between 15 and 64 years) caused due to a decline in fertility rate, signals an advantage in many ways for a country like India. Hence, the youth who are a sig- nificant proportion of this “bulge” have been hailed by experts as contributing to this “demographic dividend”. Second, in another context we find the youth playing a major role under the lead- ership of Rahul Gandhi in the formation of the United Progressive Alliance ( UPA ) government following the elections in 2009. This has translated into a rise in the number of young faces holding minis- terial positions, and in politics at large. Subsequently, we come across efforts by the Youth Congress to rope in large numbers of young people through pro- grammes such as Aam Aadmi ke Sipahi , to be sent to villages to work for the under- privileged. This is a concerted effort to in- ileged. This is a concerted effort to in- leged. This is a concerted effort to in- clude more and more young people in the decision-making process of our country....
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2010 for the course FIN 201 taught by Professor Hcverma during the Summer '10 term at IIT Kanpur.
- Summer '10