Kurukshetra Magazine – August, 2016 – Synopsis of Important Articles

  1. Roadway to accomplish Sustainable Development of Youth
  2. Importance of Skill Development among Rural Youth
  3. Empowerment through Financial Inclusion:
  4. Urban Migration and Employment Opportunities
Currently, the world is home to 1.8 billion youth population, in the age group of 10-24 years. India has 356 million people in this age group, giving it the largest share among global nations. Education and skills that these young people acquire, must be relevant to the current economy and is critical in enabling them to become innovators, thinkers and problem solvers.
The sustainable development goals, which are universal in nature, prioritize the needs and demands of youth population and make room for them to carry the next developmental agenda forward. With the right set of policies accompanied by investment, we can empower the youth to become agents of change and leaders of coming decades.
As per the World Bank President “India is the world’s fastest growing economy and also the home to 26% of the global extreme poor. This means that India has a great opportunity to make strong and sustained inroads to reducing poverty and to help lead the world in ending extreme poverty by 2030”.
Inequality in Capacity:
  • Rural adult literacy currently stands at 64%, well below the national average of 71% and urban adult literacy rate of 84%.
  • Higher education attainment in rural areas is 4.5% of males and 2.2% for females. This is far less, in comparison to 17% and 13% for males and females respectively in urban areas.
  • Among the youth in the age of group of 14-29 years, nearly 18% in rural areas and 49% in urban areas were able to operate a computer.
Education and Unemployment:
  • As per the NSS Report No.554 on “Employment and Unemployment situation in India”, it has been generally observed that “Usual Status” unemployment rate increases with the level of education for persons in the age group of 15-29 as well as for 15-59 years.
  • Unemployment rate in rural India is relatively low, because these areas provide few or no unemployment benefits and hence almost everyone is involved in some kind of work, though they are typically subsistence in nature.
Major reasons for dropout: As per 71st Round of NSSO Sample survey.
  • Engagement in economic activities has been the top reason for drop out in case of males and engagement in domestic activities has been the top reason for drop out in case of females.
  • Other reasons include – not being interested in education, financial constraints, inability to cope up with studies and schools being located far away from residence.
  • Marriage has been a key reason for drop out in case of females, whereas for males, marriage has not been cited as a reason at all.
Important schemes in providing employment and skill development to rural youth
  • The Global Human Development Report cites MGNREGA as one of the milestones in Social protection measures in the world.
  • Objective: Enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • On an average, around 5 crore people from rural areas are employed in MGNREGA. Of these, large chuck has been availed by the underprivileged sections of the society like the SCs.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development had launched “SAMARTHYA”- a set of ten technical training programs for creation of productive assets and to strengthen the livelihood base of the rural poor. This Scheme has been primarily introduced to address the issue of poor quality of assets created in MGNREGA.
  • Objective: Increasing the productivity of Small and micro enterprises is critical in rural areas as people are increasingly dependent on them to supplement and diversify the income.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development has set up one institute in each district in collaboration the banks and State Governments.
  • RSETI offers training in different vocations classified under agriculture process, product and general entrepreneurship development programs designed for rural youth.
  • Objective: Energize and streamline economic growth by providing necessary thrust from the grass roots, i.e. villages, towards creation of sustainable self employment opportunities for inclusive growth.
  • Will help in creation and strengthening of village enterprises.
  • Will promote entrepreneurship as well as employment generation in rural areas.
  • Previously known as “National Rural Livelihood Mission”, which was launched in 2011.
  • Objective: Organize all rural poor households of the country and continuously nurture and support them till they come out of abject poverty.
  • Covers Vulnerable sections of the society -> 50% of the beneficiaries are SC/ST, 15% from minority groups and 3% from persons with disability.
  • The skill development program seeks to build the skills of the rural youth and place them in relative high wage employment sectors of the economy.
  • The program also provides umbrella cover to MahilaKisanSashaktikaranPariyojana (MKSP), in order to meet specific needs of women farmers and achieve socio-economic and technical empowerment of rural women farmers.
The greatest potential for job creation and raising productivity and living standards lies in expanding formal sector employment, especially in the manufacturing sector, which can absorb a large number of semi-skilled labour. In Rural areas, Agro based industries provide a great opportunity for Non Agriculture based employment generation, diversification of rural economy, value addition and better income to farmers. There is an imperative need for increasing the skill set of rural Indian youth through technical and vocational training. This requires extensive deliberation and policy formulation coupled with effective implementation.
By 2020, India is expected to be the world’s youngest nation with 500 million Indian citizens under the age of 25 years and two thirds of the Indian population in the working age group. Access to educational and skill development opportunities will enable the country in utilizing the potential of this huge manpower to reap the benefits of demographic dividend.
Current situation in rural areas:
  • 72% of rural males and 56% of rural females are illiterate and only 21% rural males and 12% rural females have completed secondary education.
  • 60% of the rural households rely on farm activities for income.
  • Lack of education, also makes rural population ignorant about scientific and modern means of Agriculture.
  • India faces a paradoxical situation where on one hand our youth are looking for jobs and on the other hand industries suffer from unavailability of skilled labour.
  • Despite significant improvements in literacy, still 89% of youth have not taken any kind of vocational training.
  • Youth labour market is dominated by unorganized employment opportunities, lower income, unhygienic working conditions and lack of social security.
  • Exponential increase in population requires creation of new jobs at a higher rate to maintain the balance between supply and demand of labour.
  • Excessive pressure on Agricultural land requires, bringing barren land to cultivation and providing non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • Seasonal nature of agriculture can be used to our benefit by utilizing the non-farm season for skill training and promoting entrepreneurship.
  • Controlling the exponential increase in population.
  • Improving quality of education and incorporating job oriented skill training programmes as a part of the curriculum. Also, there is a need to improve access to quality education.
  • Promote Agro industries in rural areas to decrease dependence on on-farm employment. Agro industries also promote value addition, reducing wastage of farm products and ensure better income for farmers.
  • Development of rural areas is a must for controlling Rural-Urban migration.
  • Skill development of rural youth through schemes like National Skill development mission.
  • Upgrading skills of rural youth in Traditional arts and crafts through schemes like “Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Art/Crafts for Development – USTTAD.”
Comprehensive policy framework containing aspects of innovative delivery models, using skill development centers in rural areas to provide training, guidance and delivery mechanism, improving access to apprenticeships, technical training is a must for empowerment of rural youth and also in enabling the Nation reaping the benefits of Demographic dividend.
In the current economic scenario, financial inclusion is seen as an indispensable tool for empowerment. Time and again various schemes have been introduced by the Government to promote financial inclusion. This article focuses on various financial inclusion initiatives that are currently in place.
  • They visit the villages and promote the use of banking services.
  • They bring banking system to the doorstep, thereby eliminating the inability of rural people to access banking facilities and at the same time helping the banks lower their cost of operation and also mobilize substantial capital.
  • Part of the National Mission on Financial Inclusion.
  • Aims at providing at least one basic banking account for every household and also promote financial literacy.
  • Aims at ensuring access to various financial services like availability of basing savings bank account, access to need based credit, remittance facility, insurance and pension to the excluded sections, including weaker sections and low income groups.
  • In addition, the beneficiaries would get RuPay Debit cards, having an inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs.1 Lakh.
  • The government also plans to channel all government benefits to beneficiaries account through Direct Benefits Transfer.
  • Benefits include, bringing the unbanked into the ambit of formal banking system thereby providing them a platform to develop saving habit, access to formal credit, ensure social security through access to insurance and pension schemes. Direct Benefits Transfer would help in better targeting and eliminating leakages. Savings from rural areas can also be mobilized and deployed for productive investments.
  • Promoting digital banking there by addressing the last mile connectivity problem. This is being done by providing RuPayKisan credit cards, providing Banking correspondents with Micro ATMs, Point of Sale (PoS) machines at fertilizer outlets.
  • Promoting financial literacy by developing audio-visual tools like short films for educating the people about RuPayKisan credit cards and RuPay debit cards.
  • Supporting “Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programmes – REDPs” through NGOs by way of grant support to enable rural youth to take up self-employment.
  • Supports Self Help Groups through “Micro Enterprise Development Programme”.
Large section of the rural population is dependent on Agriculture sector for income. 54% of the country’s population is dependent on Agriculture sector which contributes only 16% to the national income. This is the prime reason for low income levels among those dependent on Agriculture for livelihood. Reduction of poverty in rural areas is directly linked to the ability of rural population, especially the youth to diversify and complement their Agriculture income through off-farm micro and small enterprises.
  • SIDBI Foundation for Micro Credit (SFMC) was set up with a mission to create a network of strong, viable and sustainable Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) for providing Micro Finance Services to the economically disadvantaged sections of the society.
  • Micro Unit Development Refinance Agency Limited (MUDRA) has been set as a wholly owned subsidiary of SIDBI. The main aim of MUDRA limited is to refinance the Micro lending Institutions.
  • Under ASPIRE – “A Scheme for promotion of innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship” a fund of fund of Rs.60 Cr has been created by SIDBI. The fund would invest in various venture capital funds with investment focus on start-ups and early stage enterprises in the areas of Rural and Agro industries.”
Rural India accounts for 68% of the Indian population. Agriculture as an occupation is losing lustre among the rural population, especially the rural youth owing to low income. Hence, they are on the look for alternate employment. This could be addressed by promoting Agro based industries in the rural areas to supplement their income from agriculture and also reduce migration to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities.
Need for empowerment of rural youth:
  • 74% of the rural households have monthly income less than Rs.5000.
  • Monthly per capita expenditure in rural areas is Rs.1430 as against Rs.2630 in urban areas.
  • Literacy rate is low in rural area compared to the urban areas.
  • Labour participation rate among females in rural areas in only 25.5% leading to non-utilization of large section of manpower.
  • Agriculture is the major source of employment.
  • Only 3% of the workforce in rural areas are formally trained and 7% informally trained.
Migration from rural areas and associated problems:
Every year, an estimated 2 million people migrate from rural to urban areas, depriving the rural areas of workforce, with direct consequences on agricultural productivity. This migration is primarily due to low income from agriculture and can be comprehensively addressed by providing alternative non-farm based employment to the rural population.
  • The migrated youth face problem of lack of housing, language barrier, underpaid jobs and skill deficiency in the initial years, which seriously affects their morale.
  • The Government has to set up youth hostels in urban areas to ensure adequate quality accommodation at affordable rates and career guidance programs.
Dependence on farming fortunes:
Farming can be a suitable employment avenue, when the income levels are adequate to ensure a decent standard of living. This can be ensured by adoption of scientific practices in agriculture. Crop diversification, mixed farming, precision irrigation methods, judicious use of chemical fertilizers and supplementing the same with organic manures are some simple initiatives that can provide better returns and also ensure sustainability of Agriculture.
Value addition:
Food processing industries offers immense opportunities in terms of better income for farmers, employment generation and minimization of wastage of cultivated crops.
  • The employment generation potential of food processing industry is 2.5 times that of other industries for the same amount of capital invested.
  • Value addition plays a vital role in price stability. Better storage facilities can help in keeping a check over inflation in the event of a crop failure.  Incidents of farmers dumping agriculture produce to sustain price levels at times of bumper harvest can also be avoided by promoting food processing industry.
  • Promoting private sector participation will bring in competition in the sector, which is essentially beneficial to the consumers in terms fulfilling nutritional needs at an affordable cost.
Need for non-farm employment opportunities:
  • If the current migration trend continues, we may soon be a facing an unprecedented increase in urban population despite the fact that, even current rate of increase in urban population has not been matched by expansion of amenities in the urban areas.
  • People would infact prefer to live in rural areas and small towns, provided there is good employment opportunity, access to healthcare and education, road and telecom network.
  • Employment opportunities in rural areas in industrial sector can be promoted but at the same time, the educational and vocation skills of the rural youth will have to be augmented to benefit from such industries. This can be done by promoting skill development through industrial training institutes.
  • India has a vast and varied agriculture landscape. This can be used to promote Agri tourism which will have huge multiplier effect on the rural economy leading to new job generation in diverse occupations.
  • The state Governments of Maharashtra, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have already initiated efforts in this direction.
There is an imperative need to enhance rural infrastructure in terms of manpower and facilities so that the dream of Mahatma Gandhi of “Gram Swaraj” in realized in every village of the country.k

Source: xaam.in

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