Article: 'Issues and Challenges Youth Face in Modern India'

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Issues and Challenges Youth Face in Modern India

By Dr Mohammad Aijaz

Youth has always been regarded as the nicest period of human life. The youth being enthusiastic, vibrant, innovative and dynamic in nature are the most important section of the population. They shows strong passion, motivation and will power which also make them the most valuable human resource for fostering moral, economic, cultural and political development of a nation. A country’s ability and potential for growth is determined by the size of its youth population.
According to ‘World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision,’ population database of United Nations population division, India has the world’s highest number of 10 to 24 years olds, with 242 million, despite having a smaller population than China, which has 185 million young people. As per India’s Census 2011, Youth (15-24 years) in India constitute one-fifth (19.1%) of India’s total population.  India is seen to remain younger longer than China and Indonesia, the two major countries other than India which determine the demographic features of Asia.  
Since every coin has two sides, this beautiful phase co-exists with the various problems which are faced by youth today, especially because of the society we live in. Let’s have a look at the most common problems the young people face nowadays.

The first and foremost concern of today’s youth in India is education. The youth want that skill based education and job placement should be a part of every higher institution. More emphasis should be laid on career-oriented courses and there should be a connection with real life scenario rather than just bookish. The youth from non-urban setting generally lack in good communication skills. This is also one of the major concerns because it acts as an obstacle on the way to get job and progress. In 2013, about 225 million youth or 20% of all youth in the developing world are “idle”; it means they are not in education, employment or training.
Literacy rate in India reached 73% as per 2011 census. Female literacy rate (64.6%) is still much lower than the male literacy rate (80.9%).
If we look at the institutes today, privatisation has increased the effective cost of education. Costly higher education in private institutes and lack of basic amenities in government or government aided educational groups has proven to be a big headache for the youth.

The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its 2017 world employment and social outlook report, which finds economic growth trends lagging behind employment needs and predicts both rising unemployment and worsening social inequality throughout 2017. Job creation in India is not expected to pick up pace in 2017 and 2018 as unemployment rises slightly.  Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million next year.
Also as per NSSO survey, youth unemployment among the illiterate is less as compared to the educated youth. Because the illiterate youth are willing to do all sorts of work whereas educated ones look for jobs in their respective fields only. The State of Kerala, being the most literate state in India, had the highest rate of unemployment, i.e. close to 10% among the large states. Apart from financial impact, unemployment has many social impacts like theft, violence, drug consumption, crime, health as well as it leads to psychological issues. Long term unemployment can actually ruin the family and the society.

It is a sad and bitter fact that we live in a society that promotes materialism. Surprisingly, the youth measured the success and happiness of life by means of how much stuff or wealth they acquire.  One of the biggest reasons youngsters succumb to materialism is due to the expectations of the society. A man with a BMW is generally given more respect by others when compared to a man having a Maruti 800.

Drug/Alcohol abuse
It becomes the mentality of youngsters that “A cigarette in my hand. I felt like a man.” Drinking and using drugs are assumed as cool stuff. Youngsters literally hang around booze. In the name of the success party or to overcome the failure, drugs are seen as a mandatory component of any party.  Societal pressure and depression are chief causes of drug addiction in youth. A study conducted by CADD in Delhi among the people aged between 20 and 25 has revealed that 89.8 per cent of boys and 64.6 per cent of girls surveyed have consumed alcohol before they turned 18.

Safety of Girls
Human trafficking is the third largest organised crime after drugs and arms trade across the globe and India is considered the hub of this crime in Asia. Girls are either abducted or taken from their homes and sold in faraway states of India for sexual exploitation. Incidences of rape cases are also increased in India. Statistics released by the country’s National Crime Records Bureau has revealed that at least 34,651 cases of rape were reported last year. A woman is raped in India every 20 minutes. There were also 4437 cases of reported attempt of rape last year.

Exposure to sexual content
With the advent of mobile and internet the youth are bombarded with unwanted information. They are getting exposed to too much adult related content, which is not at all conducive to their delicate minds. Ninety-three per cent of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18. Only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have never seen internet pornography.

The reasons for youth migration may vary from person to person and region to region. Often, a combination of several major factors leads to the decision to migrate. The decision to migrate is often related to important life transitions, such as pursuing higher education, securing employment or getting married.

Parental Pressure
Parents of most youngsters want them to pursue a particular academic career; if someone wishes to do something different (such as fine Arts) the idea is ridiculed and in worst cases, suppressed. Moreover, there is always a comparison made between the children, every parent wants his/her child to be the best. This practice of comparison not only demoralises the youngster but also provokes them to go to any extreme to prove that they are better than the others.
The varying interest of the young adults and high expectations of the parents and relatives mar the spirit of growth as a whole. This acts as a check on the enthusiasm of the young mind, leading to waste of time and resource. The elders need to understand that a little space and trust shown in them will open the doors of the opportunities for the youngsters. At the same time, children need to understand that parents care for them. There is no harm in learning from their experiences and wisdom.

Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can have negative and positive effects on teenagers. The influence of peer pressure is such that it draws teenagers completely away from family and friends who mean well. They shut themselves off and fall into bad company. The more extreme forms of peer pressure propagate bad habits such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug abuse and risk taking behaviour.

Premature Sex
Researchers have shown that having sex in adolescence can have serious consequences on body and mind, because the act takes place when the nervous system is still developing. The effect may not be immediate but once the individual reaches adulthood, he/she can experience health issues.

Generation gap
There is always a huge difference between the thinking of the two generations. The generation gap has widened to an extent that the views of the people of two generations repel each other. The parent-child relationship is often affected due to their generation gap. It has been observed that the parents try to impose their values and ideologies on their kids while the later want to explore the world on their own. Due to generation gap youngsters start feeling frustrated and become rebellious.

The Future
When everything else fails, youngsters are scared by their very own parents or some other figures of authority in the name of their future. Not knowing what will happen the next minute, these authoritative figures simply start lashing out at youngsters by giving them such a terrible insight to their future. Every hour, one student commits suicide in India, according to 2015 data from the National Crime Records Bureau. India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions.
We as a society should value the imagination, ideas and advice of our youth because they are future of our society and nation as well. The energy and passion of the youth, if utilised properly, can bring huge positive change to the society and progress to the nation. If we want to develop the citizens for a better nation tomorrow, we are supposed to not only develop their talent but also identify and counter the challenges faced by them. Proper guidance shall be given to the youth by parents and teachers in their journey of development to youth-hood. A proper religious background and a deep sense of the sacred will also guide the youth to mature personality. For the young generation Islamic teachings will always be their best guide, as Islam gives a new meaning to the life. Islam completely abstains from the consumption of drugs and alcohol. A true believer will never see the world with materialistic approach. Islam encourages and motivates for the hard work and asks for the consistent struggles by quoting “do not be sad; Allah is with you”.

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