ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Engaging Rural Youth Gainfully

India has a high proportion of youth in its population, especially that of rural youth. Harnessing their potential to contribute to the country’s growth would require rural-centric policies that combine the development of appropriate technologies and innovations, skilling of youth, and the creation of an ecosystem for the establishment of own enterprises.


Although, in the conventional sense, youth population is understood as those persons belonging to the age group of adolescence to middle age, the United Nations (UN) referred to them as those in the age group of 15 to 24 years. While the National Youth Policy (NYP) of 2003 considered youth as those belonging to the age group of 13–35 years, the NYP 2014 redefined youth as those in the age group of 15–29 years (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports 2014). In their report on “Youth in India 2017,” the Central Statistics Office (CSO 2017) defined the age group of 15–34 years as youth. The proportion of rural youth population is about 67% to 68% of the country’s total population, howsoever youth is defined (Table 1). The male rural youth remained at about 52% of the total rural youth population.

More importantly, going by the definition of NYP 2014, with 33.3 crore youth population in the 15–29 years age bracket (that is, 27.5% of the country’s population of 121.1 crore), India is the youngest country in the world. India is expected to remain young longer than China and Indonesia—the two major other countries that determine the demographic features of the Asian continent. Given this overwhelming percentage of rural youth, any policy to advance the cause of youth needs to be rural centric, not only to harness and realise their potential, but also to step up their contribution to the country’s growth.

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Updated On : 13th Mar, 2020
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