Harnessing Yuva Shakti
September 06, 2018
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India is one of the youngest nations in the world. In order to capitalise on this demographic dividend, however, India needs to ensure access to quality education and employment opportunities. India’s youth increasingly aspire for greater empowerment and a better quality of life.  With changing times, governments too must respond by creating an ecosystem that enables people to fulfil their aspirations. It is in recognition of these aspirations that the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi has taken certain transformative steps in various spheres, be it school education, higher education, R&D or skilling, to harness Yuva Shakti.

Transforming Education, Furthering Empowerment

Overhauling the school education outlook, for the first time, a distinct focus is given on learning outcomes among students & accountability among various stakeholders.

For building innovative skills, hundreds of Atal Tinkering Labs have been sanctioned in schools across the country. It aims to increase the number of children exposed to innovation and provide access to the young innovators of India to technologies like 3D Printing, Robotics, IoT and microprocessors.

Though Indian youth has made a mark on global stage in Information Technology, research and innovation too need to be encouraged, apart from service sector. Scientific research demands time, resources and incentives. Without these, youth are forced to settle for available jobs in the market even though they may be inclined towards research.

PM Narendra Modi’s government, in the last four years, has taken steps to address this issue. For example, consider the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF). For the first time, a research fellowship in science & technology, with huge financial support, has been offered by the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship with scholarships worth Rs. 70,000 – 80,000 per month for 5 years and Rs. 2 lakh annual grant for PhD and research for a period of 5 years to cover their academic contingency expenses and for foreign/national travel expenses.

Numerous universities, 7 IITs, 7 IIMs, 14 IIITs, 1 NIT , 103 KVs and 62 Navodaya Vidyalayas have been established. In 2017, the government approved the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs would be declared as Institutions of National Importance which will enable them to grant degrees to their students. This also provides increased autonomy to IIMs.

Opportunities in Higher Education

If the above initiatives give an idea as to how this government has been focusing on hitherto neglected areas, many other works in these 4 years show how it has strengthened the education system, the result of which will be beneficial to youth. Consider these:

  • The government is striving to introduce a liberalized regime in the education sector and emphasis is on linking autonomy with quality. In March 2018, UGC in a historic decision has granted autonomy to sixty universities which have maintained high academic standards.
  • National Testing Agency has been established as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher education as per international standard.
  • Numerous scholarships have been provided to students to complete their studies.
  • Learning outcomes also depend upon the quality of teachers. Vigorous attention has been devoted to teacher training to produce top quality teachers.
  • 20 institutes will be declared as “Institute of Eminence.” It is expected that the selected Institutions will come up in top 500 of the world ranking in 10 years and in top 100 of the world ranking eventually overtime.

Atal Innovation Mission for Research and Excellence

Providing an eco-system conducive to research and innovation has to start from schools. AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionizing the innovation eco-system - touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs. 

In 2017, 2400 schools were chosen and incubation centres were set up across the nation to promote research and innovation among the youth. The mission brings together top academics, mentors, entrepreneurs and the best talent to guide our youngsters to become entrepreneurs. It seeks to ensure that innovations are taken to the market and help create enterprises around these innovations. 

Augmenting the arena of skill development and vocational training

The PM Modi government has launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, for Youth Empowerment through Skill Development, to provide formal short-term skill training across the country, recognizing the skills through certifications and enhancing employability of the youth. Under the program over 1 crore are to achieve training under various skill development programmes under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. More than 13,000 training centres opened across India Training in 375 trades. PM Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) are being set up in every district across India. 

Harnessing yuva shakti through self employment

Start-up India was launched on 16th January 2016 for promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among youth. It offers tax relief for three consecutive years out of a block of seven year for start-ups and various other incentives. Start-ups are allowed to issue ESOPs to promoters working as employees.

 

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana which gives collateral-free loans to entrepreneurs is an archetypal example of boosting entrepreneurship. More than 13 crore small and medium entrepreneurs have received funding since April 2015, pumping nearly Rs 6.5 lakh crore into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Allocation in Budget 2018 was raised to Rs 3 lakh crore, a rise of 20% over previous year. 

Three pronged approach to employment creation

In a bid to create more employment, PM Narendra Modi led government has given importance to the Public Sector which has renewed infra push leading to more opportunities. As enabling environment for Private Sector has been provided, multiple surveys reaffirm that opportunities for the youth are increasing. Renewed vitality to Personal Sector is manifested through Mudra, Start Up India and Stand Up India for harnessing Yuva Shakti. 

Furthering Sports and Sportsmanship

The importance of sports and fitness in one’s life is invaluable. Playing sports inculcates team spirit, develops strategic & analytical thinking, leadership skills, goal setting and risk taking.

There is a conscious effort, both at the governmental level and at the personal level from the Prime Minister, to nurture talent and inculcate pride in sports.

Some measures taken to encourage sport are:

  • Foundation stone laid for National Sports University in Manipur. It will be first of its kind to promote sports education in the areas of Sports Science, Sports Technology, Sports Management, Sports Coaching and will also function as National training centre for selected training centres. Given the fact that the Northeast produces many excellent sportspersons, this should be a further fillip.
  • First ever-training center with world class facilities dedicated for Para Athletes at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 5th February 2017.

India recently won an impressive and historic 66 medals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Khelo India programme is a mass movement to promote a culture of sports and fitness among the youth. It aims to revive the sports culture in India at the grassroot level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.

Some measures taken to encourage sports are:

  • Annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakh per annum for 8 years to talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels, ending their financial uncertainty.
  • First Khelo India school games launched on Jan 2018 in which 3507 players from 29 states and 7 UTs participated.
  • Revamped Khelo India program will have financial outlay of Rs. 1,756 crore for 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • Sports Talent Search Portal was launched as a transparent platform for talented youth to share their achievements. 

With the ecosystem in place to nurture the sports talent, many youth can take up sport as a respectable career path.

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Infrastructure and connectivity act as arteries for development and growth of any nation. It is evident that infrastructure development has been given priority by the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi. For fulfilling the dream of New India, the NDA government is focussing on development of railways, roadways, waterways, aviation or affordable housing.

Railways

The Indian rail network is one of the largest railway networks in the world. The pace of track renewal, elimination of unmanned level crossings and commissioning of broad gauge lines has significantly improved during NDA government under PM Modi.

Railways recorded its best-ever safety record with less than 100 accidents in a year in 2017-18. Data reveals that 118 railway accidents were recorded in 2013-14 which have declined to 73 in 2017-18. 5,469 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated, with average pace of elimination at 20% more than that of 2009-14. All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge routes targeted to be eliminated by 2020 for better safety.

Bringing railways development on track, there is a 50% increase in track renewal, from 2,926 km during 2013-14 to 4,405 km during 2017-18. Broad gauge commissioned during 4 years of NDA government under PM Modi (9,528 km) is much greater than that commissioned during 2009-14 (7,600 km).

For the first time Northeast India is fully integrated with the rest of India with the entire network converted to broad gauge. It brought Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the rail map of India after 70 years of independence!

For developing New India, we need advanced technology too. The bullet train, planned from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, will reduce travel time from about 8 hrs to 2 hrs.

 

Aviation

Rapid progress is happening in civil aviation sector too. Promising affordable air travel under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), 25 operational airports have been added in just 4 years, as opposed to 75 airports between Independence and 2014. Regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at subsidised fare of Rs 2,500 per hour has helped to fulfil dream of many Indians to travel by air. Thus, for the first time more people travelled in airplanes than in AC trains.

With passenger traffic growth in the range of 18-20% in the past three years, India has emerged as the world’s third largest aviation market. Number of domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017.

 

Shipping

India is also taking rapid strides in the shipping sector under PM Narendra Modi’s government. Accelerating port-led development, the turn around time at major ports have been reduced by a third, from 94 hrs in 2013-14 to 64 hrs in 2017-18.

Consider the cargo traffic at major ports. It declined from 570.32 MT in 2010-11 to 545.79 MT in 2012-13. However, under the NDA government it improved to 679.367 MT during 2017-18, a whopping increase of more than 100 MT!

Inland waterways significantly reduce the transportation costs and boost the economy apart from reducing carbon foot print. 106 national waterways were added in the last 4 years compared to 5 national waterways in the last 30 years.

Road development

Expansion of highways with multi-modal integration has been taken up under transformative project Bharat Mala Pariyojana. National highway network expanded from 92,851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18.

Setu Bharatam project for safer roads, with total outlay of Rs. 20,800 crores, envisages building of railway overbridges or under passes to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings.

The pace of road construction has almost doubled. Speed of highways construction was 12 km per day during 2013-14 which stood at 27 km per day as of 2017-18.

 

Development of India’s longest ever tunnel, Chenani-Nashri, in Jammu as well as India’s longest bridge, Dhola-Sadiya, for enhanced connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh are testimony to the commitment to take development to hitherto untapped regions. Building of bridges over Narmada at Bharuch and Chambal at Kota have also improved road connectivity in the regions.

Roads act as catalysts for rural development. Considering its importance, almost 1.69 lakh kms of rural roads have been built in 4 years. Average speed of road construction improved from 69 km per day in 2013-14 to 134 km per day in 2017-18. Presently, rural road connectivity is more than 82%, as against 56% in 2014, making villages become a part of India’s development trajectory.

Tourism has immense potential for employment generation. To enhance pilgrimage experience along with a boost to the tourism sector, Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana was launched. It seeks to make journey safer, faster and more convenient. It entails development of around 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.

With boost to the infrastructure, more movement of freight takes place and adds strength to the economy. Due to efforts of the NDA government, highest ever freight loading (1,160 MT) was recorded in the year 2017-18.

Urban transformation

For urban transformation through Smart Cities, around 100 urban centres have been chosen to ensure improved quality of living, sustained urban planning and development. Various development projects in these cities will positively impact almost 10 crore Indians. These projects will cost Rs. 2,01,979 crores.

Around 1 crore affordable houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in both rural and urban areas. To benefit the middle and neo middle classes, housing loans up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh are eligible for interest subvention of 4% and 3%.