Youth in India

Office of the Registrar General of India (2011). According to the 2011 Census, an estimated 358 million people belong to the age group 10-24 years, which comprised 31 % of the country’s population. By 2020, India is estimated to become the world’s youngest country with 64 % of its population in the working age group. This rise in young population is supposed to take place mostly in urban areas. While it is true that this spurt in working age population have positive implications on demographic dividend, disparity both at the social as well as at the spatial level exists, creating imbalances in the positive outcome of such dividend. Against this backdrop, Indian policy makers have to strengthen the existing policies in such a manner so that critical issues concerning the youth especially with reference to health, sexuality, access to basic facilities and skill development can be streamlined in meeting the demands. So far there is limited proportion of youth with formal skills, the largest share is found in the state of Kerala followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The state of Maharashtra had the highest share and Bihar the lowest among those who were undergoing training in various kinds of skill development programmes (Acharya 2015).

Physiological, social and emotional changes taking place during this age group bear considerable importance on the interactions and social behaviour of this cohort. While skill development and formal education help in boosting the potential to become economically empowered, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, preventing injuries and violence (including gender based violence), substance use, non-communicable diseases also need to be addressed. Demographic dividend borne out of the youth population stands on the pillar of good physical, social and mental health.

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