India’s youth bulge

Public gaze and media reports on matters concerning the nation and its citizens have been keeping their tryst with change throughout the year, prompting one to recollect a quote of the legendary British Statesman Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Granting the validity and soundness of the message therein, the question of whether the change is for better or worse lurks in the minds of the fraternity who don’t favour change for change-sake. The analogy of the solution proving worse than the problem sticks here. Even the nation’s Constitution, after being bestowed high praise from a large number of intellectuals both in the country and other lands, has itself witnessed change, given the 120 or thereabouts amendments, may be with unquestionable justification by way of mid-course correction. The core point of the voluminous text being welfare of the nation’s people without discrimination of any kind, one may indulge in an objective introspection to realise the extent to which the successive governments are on the job or gone adrift.

The ongoing high-decibel exchange of accusations among the top brass in the government as well as the opposition, both at the Centre and in various States on many counts, which are familiar to readers of dailies, have dented the people’s faith in democracy and also governments in charge of administration over years. The future of the nation’s youth, estimated to be nearly half the total population, perceived as the youth bulge, seems to have got sidelined on the national scene.

Youth of the land figure prominently among the nearly six million annual exodus from rural areas to urban space across the country in search of assured livelihood, creating a crisis situation more complex than recognised by the policy-makers. Prescribing to the migrating youth not to desert their agricultural land for taking residence in cities has takers only in small pockets. The proportion of educated unemployed (and also unemployable) youth in the urban population of about 400 million is also bulging even as that mass of disenchanted youth are being taken by various political parties as their activists. This development has proved to be the biggest negative of democracy, rising in its dimension to unmanageable proportions year-on-year.

The crux of the task, namely not to let the country’s youth jobless at the present nightmarish level, without losing focus, calls for emulating many successful individuals and voluntary groups that are living examples of the charged-up Churchill quote: “I have nothing to offer, but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

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