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Changing Youth Concerns and Aspirations

  • 23 Aug 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Youth in India 2022 Report, Y20 Summit, Unemployment, Agricultural productivity, Demographic Dividend

For Mains: Opportunities and Challenges Related to Youth Population in India

Source: IE

Why in News?

In the ever-evolving landscape of youth concerns and aspirations, a recent survey conducted by Lokniti-CSDS across 18 states in India sheds light on the shifting priorities of the young population.

  • The survey highlights the rising prominence of unemployment and price rise as pressing issues, the intersection of these concerns with economic classes and gender, and the evolving preferences in job aspirations.

What are the Major Highlights of the Survey?

  • Unemployment, Price Rise and Gender Disparity:
    • A 7% point increase in the share of respondents identifying price rise as a primary concern.
    • 40% of highly educated respondents (graduate and above) pointing to unemployment as their most pressing concern.
    • 27% of non-literate individuals expressed concern about unemployment, attributed to their flexibility in undertaking various job opportunities.
      • Poverty and price rise emerged as more prominent issues for young women, regardless of their economic background.
  • Occupational Diversity: Insights into Youth Employment:
    • Almost half (49%) of the respondents were engaged in some form of work.
      • 40% held full-time jobs, while 9% worked part-time.
    • 23% of employed youth were self-employed, showcasing a significant entrepreneurial inclination.
    • Professions such as doctors and engineers constituted 16% of the workforce.
    • Agriculture and skilled labor comprised 15% and 27% respectively.
  • Job Aspirations and Preferences:
    • 16% of respondents expressed a preference for jobs in the health sector.
    • The education sector was the second most preferred, chosen by 14% of youth.
    • Science and technology-related jobs, along with starting their own businesses, garnered 10% support each.
    • Government jobs continued to hold allure, with 60% of respondents opting for them when given a choice between a government job, a private job, or starting their own business.
    • The preference for self-employment has grown steadily from 16% in 2007 to 27% in 2023, indicating an increasing entrepreneurial inclination among the youth.

What are the Opportunities and Challenges Related to Youth Population in India?

  • Status of Youth Population: India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35.
    • India is home to a fifth of the world’s youth demographic and this population advantage could play a critical role in achieving the nation’s ambitious target to become a USD 5 trillion economy.

Note: There is no universally agreed international definition of the youth age group. In India, as per National Youth Policy 2014, the persons between the age group of 15 and 29 years are considered youth. Several UN entities, instruments, and regional organizations have differing definitions of youth:

    • Opportunities:
      • Human Capital Investment: India's youth population is a potential demographic dividend, which means if harnessed correctly, it can contribute significantly to economic growth.
        • A youthful population provides an opportunity to focus on education and skill development, creating a highly skilled workforce that can meet the demands of various industries.
      • Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The youth are often more open to innovation, new technologies, and entrepreneurship.
        • They can drive the development of new industries and start-ups, fostering economic diversification.
        • Also, with a significant portion of India's population engaged in agriculture, youth involvement in modernizing and optimizing farming practices through technology and sustainable methods can lead to increased agricultural productivity.
      • Digital Connectivity: India's youth are tech-savvy and can play a crucial role in adopting and promoting digital technologies, contributing to the growth of the digital economy.
      • Social Change and Activism: Young people are often at the forefront of social and political change.
        • They can drive positive social movements, advocate for change, and raise awareness about critical issues.
    • Challenges:
      • Underemployment and Skill Mismatch: While unemployment is often discussed, underemployment and skill mismatch are equally pressing issues. Many young Indians find jobs that are below their skill levels or do not align with their education.
        • This not only leads to dissatisfaction but also hampers productivity and economic growth.
      • Mental Health and Stigma: Mental health problems among the youth are on the rise, yet there is a significant stigma associated with seeking help.
        • This stigma is deeply ingrained in Indian society and can discourage young people from accessing proper care.
      • Digital Divide within Youth: While India has a large and growing youth population, access to digital technology is still uneven.
        • This digital divide creates disparities in education, employment opportunities, and access to information.
      • Gender Inequality and Traditional Norms: Despite progress, gender inequality remains a significant concern.
        • Traditional norms and patriarchal attitudes persist, affecting young women's education, employment, and agency.
      • Political Apathy and Youth Representation: Despite comprising a substantial portion of the population, the youth in India often feel disconnected from the political process.
        • This leads to inadequate representation of their concerns and aspirations.

    Way Forward

    • Integrated Skill Ecosystem: There is a need to develop a comprehensive skill ecosystem that combines formal education with experiential learning, apprenticeships, and online platforms.
      • This can bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, enhancing employability.
    • Gamified Civic Engagement Platforms: Develop gamified mobile applications that engage youth in civic activities and political processes.
      • By turning civic participation into an interactive and rewarding experience, these platforms can encourage more informed voting, increase political awareness, and foster a sense of ownership in governance.
    • Entrepreneurship in Traditional Crafts: Foster entrepreneurship among young artisans by combining traditional crafts with modern design and marketing techniques.
      • This could involve creating platforms for selling handcrafted products online, preserving cultural heritage while generating income for youth in rural areas.
    • Youth Diplomacy and Cultural Exchanges: Facilitate cultural exchanges between young people from India and other countries to foster global understanding, diplomacy, and cross-border friendships.

    UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

    Q. Disguised unemployment generally means (2013)

    (a) large number of people remain unemployed
    (b) alternative employment is not available
    (c) marginal productivity of labour is zero
    (d) productivity of workers is low

    Ans: (c)

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