July 17, 2019
Deepak Adhikari speaks on the Demands for Grants for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
The Youth of India falling within the age group of 15-29 years constitutes nearly 40% of our total population and will go onto shape India’s future.
Unfortunately, there are multiple problems plaguing the youth of today. Unemployment ranks high in the list of those problems. BJP Manifestos in each general election have boasted of the jobs opportunities for the youth. However, the government has failed to translate these promises into action. As highlighted in the latest NSSO report, unemployment in India is at a 45-year-high of 6.1%.
1.Employment – there are been multiple reports wherein educated young people are applying for Government jobs which they are grossly overqualified for. This Government takes every opportunity to reiterate its projects for increasing entrepreneurship with schemes like Stand-Up India and Skill India. The question is, who are these schemes benefitting?
2.Low Budgetary Allocations – Within the ministry, The department of youth affairs isn’t well equipped with either budgetary allocations or human resources to fulfil its mandate. 62% of the Ministry’s allocations have gone to Khelo India, Sports Authority of India, and National Sports Federations- all initiative that fall under sports department. This leaves lesser funds for the schemes under the Youth Affairs department. This disparity in the allocation of funds between the two departments must be done away with.
3.Poor Performance of Schemes with higher allocations like Khelo India – Even the schemes with higher allocations like the Government’s flagship Khelo India programme have failed to attract young sporting talent. Out of the 1,518 under-17 athletes selected under the scheme, only 625, just less than half, have joined the government training camps.
4.Ambitious schemes face budgetary constraints -Even though the utilisation of funds under the department has been very high, the allocations for the Ministry for the realisation of this policy have been much lower than the projected demand, year after year due to budgetary constraints of the Government.
5.Lack of employment opportunities for Sportspersons in PSUs- This is a matter of grave concern. Partly responsible for this are the amendments made to recent rules. The Sports Ministry has taken away the voting rights of the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) and Services Sports Promotion Board (SSCB) in various National Sports Federations and Indian Olympic Association. RSPB and SSCB, in response, have stopped recruiting sportspersons. Additionally, owing to the financial troubles facing PSUs, many of them have seen a decline in institutional sports. The ministry must ensure this does not translate into a loss of jobs for sportspersons.
6.Expenditure of Government on Advertisements – The central government has spent over Rs 5,200 crore to advertise itself over the last 5 years. Instead of spending crores on having the image of the Prime Minister plastered across petrol pumps throughout the country, the funds could have been used for the implementation of schemes that benefit the youth.
7.Violation of Fundamental Rights – The Ministry of Human Resource Development has sent notification to colleges and universities asking to link the social media accounts of over 3 crore students of universities and colleges across the country with that of the ministry. This is an attempt to indirectly police the social media activities and posts of young adults. This endangers Young India’s right to Freedom of Expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
Before I conclude, I would like to highlight some schemes for the youth that have worked well in West Bengal and can be implemented as a model nationally
● Employment Generation
o Bengal reduced unemployment by 40% by generating 1 crore jobs in the last eight years
o 16 IT Parks, part of the Bengal Silicon Valley have employed 1.5 lakh people. TCS generated 40,000 jobs, Cognizant 20,000, IBM 15,000, Wipro 10,000 jobs.
● Gatidhara scheme
To promote self-employment among the youth, a subsidy of Rs 1 lakh is provided by Bengal government to buy a commercial vehicle. Scheme has benefitted over 35,000 people so far.
● Yuvashree scheme
It provides financial and job related assistance to unemployed youth. 2 lakh beneficiaries have been registered under the scheme so far.
● Skill Development
Utkarsh Bangla scheme, that provides skills training to the youth, won a United Nations prize in ‘Capacity Building’ and also the Skoch Skill Development Award in the ‘Gold’ category. Currently there are 10,846 batches of students undergoing training in 261 courses in 23 districts.
● Under-17 FIFA World Cup matches were organised at thestate-of-the-art ‘Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan’in Kolkata. Along with quarter-final, semi-final and final, 11 other matches were played in the city.
● Under the Khelasree Scheme, 2 lakh rupees are provided to each club/organizations/associations for the promotion of sports.
It is estimated that by the year 2020, the population of India would have a median age of 28 years. To ensure that the Ministry can fulfil its mandate and ensure a bright future for the youth of today, it is essential that it is aptly funded and the implementation of its programmes is carried out in an efficient manner.