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Reviewing the ‘National Youth Policy (NYP)’, the new 2021 draft and the 2014 policy

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The Government of India has prepared a new draft National Youth Policy, 2021. This new draft is developed after a review of the existing National Youth Policy, 2014. But how far have we achieved the objectives of the NYP-2014 and what is new with the draft NYP-2021? Here is a review. 

Youth form a vital demographic and are key to the success and progress of a nation. Most of the global ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) have youth as a focus area, emphasizing the importance of the young population and the need for investing in them. 

India has the largest youth population in the world with one out of every four among the 15-29 years age group globally being Indian. They constitute nearly 34% of India’s total population. Despite a projected decline in their share, it is estimated that India would have 365 million youth by 2030, which constitutes 24% of the population. With other countries like China, the USA, and Japan battling issues with an aging population, this is a resource that India can take advantage of. 

With a vision for youth development in India for this decade, the Government of India has prepared a new draft National Youth Policy, 2021. This new draft is developed after a review of the existing National Youth Policy, 2014. 

Source: Press Release by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

While the Government of India has invited reviews and suggestions on the new draft policy, it is also important to understand the tenets and objectives of the existing policy and to ascertain the action & progress made in achieving the progress. 

National Youth Policy 2014 identified 11 priority areas of action 

The National Youth Policy – 2014 (NYP-2014) was introduced replacing the earlier National Youth Policy of 2003. The policy proposed broader policy interventions by government and non-government stakeholders to empower youth, rather than propose any specific programmes or schemes. Accordingly, the policy identified 5 objectives and 11 priority areas, for which policy interventions were suggested. 

The 11 priority areas include – education, skill development and employment, entrepreneurship, health and healthy lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and governance, youth engagement, inclusion, and social justice. 

The Policy Document of NYP-2014 highlights that monitoring and evaluation are key to understanding the impact of the policy on the youth. It further opines that in view of the diversity across the country, each state ought to have its own State Youth Policy in line with NYP- 2014. 

It suggests two types of indicators – leading & lagging indicators which measure the impact of the policy. 

The leading indicators are short-term indicators that evaluate the direction and implementation of the policy like – the States that created a youth policy, policy & programmes that were initiated, etc. 

NYP-2014 also provides the lagging indicators, which talk about the long-term impact of the policy once they are implemented for a certain period. 

To ensure that the monitoring of the indicators is in place and is measurable, the NYP-2014 recommended: 

  • Baseline assessment to be done and annual target set for each of the indicators 
  • Status of Youth Report to be published every two years. 
  • Review of NYP-2014 to be done every 5 years. 

As highlighted earlier, NYP-2014 provides a larger framework based on which the union & the respective state governments need to formulate policies and programmes. Further, while NYP-2014 highlights the need for indicators and targets to be put in place in order to measure progress, it does not define the targets. 

For example, it recognizes that the Government of India is spending approximately Rs. 2,710 (in 2014) on every young individual through various ministries and schemes of which Rs. 1,100 is through targeted programs. It notes that the government needs to invest more but does not mention the quantum of investment which could act as a measurable target to evaluate the success of the government’s initiatives. 

Evaluation of government schemes and indicators provides insights on the impact of NYP-2014 

The Government has over the years implemented various schemes which provided targeted and indirect benefits to the youth. The draft National Youth Policy – 2021, mentions a few of these schemes implemented by the government since the introduction of NYP-2014 and also highlights a few indicators which measure the impact on youth. 

The status updates on a few of the schemes also highlight the achievements and the impact of these various schemes.  Here is a snapshot of the same: 

  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for Higher Education (18-23 age group) increased from 24.3 in 2014-15 to 27.1 in 2019-20. Data from AISHE reports also indicate that GER has continued to increase among females. While the GER among marginalized sections of society is lower than others, there is an improvement over the years. Factly has earlier written on this, which can be read here and here. While the extent of the impact of government initiatives on this improvement cannot be ascertained, bridging the gaps in access to education was one of the key objectives as part of NYP-2014. 
  • The policy document for NYP-2021 highlights other improvements in areas of employment and entrepreneurship, which includes 1.1 crores of jobs generated under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) between 2015 & 2017. PMMY’s Annual Report for 2020-21 states that the total support extended through the scheme in the last 6 years is around Rs. 15 lakh crores. 
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Kushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the government stated that 19.86 lakh were trained under PMKVY 1.0 of which 14.52 were certified and 2.67 lakh placed. Under PMKVY 2.0, government data says that 1.1 crores were trained of which 91.27 lakh were certified and 21.25 lakh were placed. Under PMKVY 3.0, a total of 5.86 lakh were trained, 2.77 lakh certified and more than 25,000 placed as of May 2022.
  • As per the latest update on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), more than 7 lakhs rural youth were trained and placed from 2014-15 to March 2022.
  • Apart from the new schemes announced after 2014, progress was made even in the schemes existing prior to 2014. One such scheme is Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMGEP). Since its inception in 2008-09, 7.4 lakh units were supported which helped in generating employment for over 60 lakh persons. Data indicates that the three years 2017-18 to 2020-21, were the years of highest employment generated. One can read Factly’s story on PMGEP here
  • Health is another key priority area identified in NYP -2014. The National Health Policy -2017 is an effort in the direction of improving healthcare in the country. A Few of the schemes implemented by the government to provide quality health care include – POSHAN Abhiyaan, Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, etc. 
  • Khelo India and Sports Revitalization Action Plan are a few of the initiatives of the government which were focused on developing the culture of sports which in turn is expected to contribute to health. The establishment of India’s first Sports University is one of the tangible outcomes of the initiatives regarding sports. 

One of the recommendations of NYP -2014, was to publish a bi-annual Status of Youth report, which is not published by the government. 

The impact of COVID-19 on the employment, education, and health of the youth in the country is noted in the draft policy document for NYP-2021, which states that the pandemic has impacted and delayed the progress. 

National Youth Policy 2021 aligned with Sustainable Development Goals 

In its announcement of introducing a new Draft National Youth Policy – 2021, the government does not highlight any shortcomings of NYP-2014, which necessitated the need for developing a new draft policy. 

As highlighted above, a few of the indicators related to various schemes show progress. However, the exact extent of progress with respect to any specific targets cannot be ascertained, to evaluate the success in line with NYP-2014. 

NYP-2021 seeks to provide a 10-year vision for youth development by 2030. A key aspect of NYP-2021, which is not included in NYP-2014 is the alignment with Sustainability Development Goals. NYP -2021 identifies 5 priority areas – Education, Employment & Entrepreneurship, youth leadership & development; health, fitness & sports; and social justice. 

Another key stated intent of the draft policy which is inherent in each of the 5 priority areas of draft NYP-2021 is the principle of social inclusion i.e., enabling equitable progress by including marginalized sections across all the schemes & programmes being planned and implemented. 

Featured Image: Draft National Youth Policy -2021

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