673.1 Youth in India: Aspirations and Challenges

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Ishwar MODI , Indian Sociological Society, India
Youth, the population aged 15-24, constitute some 222 million and represent 20 percent of the Indian population (as per census of 2001). What is most important at this stage is that a large percentage of rural youth is migrating from rural areas to the urban. The reasons are not only economic but also socio-cultural. The lure and sheen of the cities more so of the metropolises is a big factor. They move out not only for education but also to create a new identity for themselves. Exposure to fast expanding ICTs have provided them new wings to aspire for anything and everything. However, on the whole, there is a great divide between the rural and the urban youth. While the rural youth belongs to Bharat, the urban youth is said to belong to India. While Bharat is identified with illiteracy, ill-health, poverty and conservatism, India is identified with education, growth, development, abundance and forward looking mindset and world view. This divide gets reflected in all walks of life, whether it be the patterns of consumption or that of getting married and raising families. It also gets reflected in terms of informed sexual and reproductive choices and of course in levels of education, consumption, housing, medical facilities, job opportunities and the overall quality of life. As such, the youth both rural and urban may be aspiring for the sky from their respective perspectives but there are various kinds of challenges which both these groups of youth are facing in contemporary India. However, the challenges before them are different both in nature and character as well as in magnitude, and as such deserve the attention and research of the social scientists, particularly that of sociologists.