India stands number one in the world with largest youth force

  • 36 crore young people within the age of 10 and 25
  • Country’s economy to soar if it invests in young Indians
  • Right to Education and Right to Health Care essential to realise the dream

(P Ravi)

A major evidence of youth power in India was the 2014 General Elections when the country’s young voters contributed majorly to bring Modi-led BJP to power, putting an end to coalition governments plaguing Indian democracy.

The study by the United Nations Population Fund on the number of youngsters in the world revealed some interesting statistics, positioning India as the country with the largest youth force in the world. The global report titled ‘The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future,” reveals that India has around 36 crore young people between 10 and 25 years making it the largest youth population. Adding another 14 crore below 35 years, they constitute 40% of Indian population, the highest that one has seen in the last 10 decades. And considering that China that stands second in the world in youth population is seeing steady decline, thanks to its population control and India is seeing steady increase on the other hand; the country is geared to become the strongest in terms of youth force.

And with young Indians showing amazing capabilities and intent in making strides in every field from politics to space technology, one hopes for an empowered nation.

“The Power of 1.8 Billion” report also looks at how young people are key to economic and social progress in developing countries, and describes what must be done to realize their full potential. Further the statistics reveal; of the 180 crore young population in the world, around 160 belong to the developing nations that can see their economies soar if they anchor their energies in the young population. And this calls for heavy investment in young people’s education, health and their rights.

In India too, there is an urgent need in expanding the priorities to include the children and youngsters. Child rights – the often used and seldom addressed issue needs immediate attention. Jawaharlal’s statement – Today’s youngsters are tomorrows future – needs to be revisited in a newer perspective.

All over the world the adult concerns overlook the young people. And the UN report revelations that the young population is on a never before ascent, brings our focus to the concern that the youth population is outpacing the growth of the economies and outstripping the capacities of institutions charged with providing them basic services. Will schools and universities be able to meet the demand for education? Some 120 million young people reach working age every year. Will there be enough jobs to accommodate their need for decent work and a good income? Are health services strong enough? Will the young, including adolescents, have the information and services they need to avoid early, unintended and life-changing parenthood? Will the next generation be able to realize its full potential? – These and many other questions need to be addressed with urgency.

And this sense of urgency applies to India as well, infact, more so to India that is gearing up for its largest youth resource. The country that continues to grapple with poverty, uneven distribution of resources that include the basic amenities like food, water, education, opportunities and quality of living and environment – needs to have a specific plan of action in place that focuses on all these issues. Unless the young children’s primary rights, especially Right to Education and Right to Quality Health Care are taken care of – the chances of these children growing into a formidable youth force that will take the country forward on path of growth – will not become a reality.

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