What is before our young people


This April 2018 I completed 74 years. Since 1974 in ISRO my work was focused on building the organization, and therefore to help others in ISRO to do their tasks. Later it also extended to help various agencies in India outside ISRO to learn and do space applications beneficial to agriculture, forestry, water management, environment protection etc..Since 1988 when I started to establish TIFAC it was on all facets of Indian life. Since 2002 it was in education as well.

Always for benefit of others, and building institutions though I also got my salary to have a reasonable life for family. My mind has been full of spreading the benefit of modern knowledge to ALL Indians. The Vision 2020 drawn up by about 5000 experts was the road map. It was achievable. We had shown many successes by action. Our people are very good to catch up. But for scale up to all India level we need right govt. policies and initial monetary support. It was lacking in all these years since we were doing from limited funds of TIFAC. In recent times (1980 plus) China has shown that it was possible to do for the whole country. India is moving very slowly. For me it is no longer a “patriotic” pride that is driving force. It is about a good life for the bulky base of 600 million Indians, and some 250 million middle/lower middle class Indians. I don’t hate the upper middle class Indians nor the rich and superrich. They can take care of themselves. They are also needed for Indian economy to grow fast. But the other 850 millions need lots of SPECIAL policies and support to rise up. They need work and INCOME!

The modern technologies and businesses are getting automated AI, robots, etc. The organized sector employs only 6% of workforce; the demand is for more &more knowledge and skills. It means more expenditure on continuing education. Govt. spending all its money on IIT’s, NIT’s, AIIMS, IIM etc does not help poor, or middle/lower middle much. The competition to get this SMALL number of seats requires large amount of expenditure to shape children from NUSERY schools onwards and also in coaching classes. Most of the poor students don’t go past 5th or 8th standard. This is the cruel fact about 70% of our children; only hypocrites will talk of demographic dividend!

What to do for the bulk of people already suffering without proper skills and education and millions who are coming out each year? It cannot be left to high flung policies or mere doles at election times. Bulk of jobs, not necessarily permanent, needs to be created at local levels. Lots of them are possible at villages and towns around water management. For example massive program of Waste Water Recycle and Reuse; Drip Irrigation system to be established by govt. as they built dams before but transferred to local people; solid waste management etc. can be undertaken as these can FIT the skill levels of existing youth. PM rightly emphasized the need for saving every drop of water. I wish he had also emphasized Used Water Recycling and Reuse. Without that we cannot have enough sustainable water anywhere in India! No water no Swaccha! Real availability of quality electric power with broad band access can help train many of them to get into newer jobs, still living in small towns. Medical cover announced by govt. should create real heath infrastructure in and near villages. Mobile Diagnostic Centers in buses as done by TIFAC in Uttarakhand can create real access to good doctors and facilities. It was accepted in NRHM but execution is poor. Big Private sector lobbies may be preventing them. Just giving another Health cover card will only enrich card making IT companies, insurance providers, and big private sector hospitals. If done as we have indicated above lots of good employment also will come at local levels…

We need to look at such details to create beneficial works and associated income giving avenues for bulk of Indians who have limited skills now. Using the jargon MISMATCH means betrayal of our people who have been left with low skills because of the education systems we created, the rules we made. Unemployment doles like MNREGA are unviable; it is sad that Mahatma’s name is with it. Let it be made into asset creating, (correct) skill upgrading schemes. Huge governance bureaucracy around all govt. funds for poor/lower middle/ middle class people needs to be curtailed drastically to serve people. With an idea to prevent misuse of funds we end up spending on paper work, or e-work!! 85% goes in it!! Giving PC’s to those who pass or in 12th won’t help the huge bulky base of children who don’t go past 8th class. Think of them too!

Creating productive avenues for providing reasonable incomes to our 850 millions should be the priority in real terms. Not possible by big investment type businesses by govt. or private. Let that be for other aspects of economy. We should also get rid of the cheating statistics that every year we need to generate 12 million new jobs! It assumes most of the 10 million girls born will not work and be at home (10 m boys+ 2m girls). We need 18 million new jobs. Plus more to clear back log over many past years. Lots of small incomes for lots of people will also grow GDP not just big investments alone (I am not against big investments and related businesses; but ignoring the realities of bulk of Indians and telling them that you lack skills is no longer possible!)

Let youth of India ask for this change in attitude. Those who are in upper middle class please do enjoy globally modern things; live your luxuries! It is now NOT possible for bulk of Indians---it is not the same targets of good life for them. But a reasonable life in modern terms is their need, right too!

What should youth do?

You need to spear head a new movement INCOME FOR ALL INDIANS. Not as dole but through their work and continual improvement of their skills and opportunities to earn more and live better. It is equivalent to our Independence movement which drew many young persons. Colonial power no doubt tried to divide Indian youth by clever tricks and partly succeeded. Now compulsions of electoral politics are attempting more vicious divisions among the youth. Please rise above them and think of all youth on the lines I have described. To begin concrete actions please impress upon all MP’s and MLA’s to spend their annual MPLAD money for sustainable INCOME generating projects as given above. Then impress upon all big companies to do the same and not spend in “show off” projects. You can continue your regular work to earn your livelihood and do this as extra work. Celebrate MP’s, MLA’s, and corporate houses which do well. And praise others who help to uplift even a few persons. I don’t want to describe how exactly you could do. You will definitely find a way if you really believe in the cause of you fellow Indian youth. Great speed is of essence! Also translate this message in all Indian languages to reach many more.

Buddha Purnima

Post Script: As this was to be put on website I saw an article in TOI by Arvind Panagriya former vice-Chairman NITI Aayog” The Twelve Million Question” (2/05/2018).Detailed calculations are given. He gives workforce entry as under 8 million per year; that means about 8m new jobs are to be created each year ( over and above continuing with those having jobs). He points that the lower figure is because the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is declining; the rate fell particularly sharp from 33% to 25% in rural women. I am not disputing the great scholar. I checked population statistics. Total population is 1,281,935,911 (July 2017). Birth rate 19 per 1000 persons; that is 24356765 ( about 24.35 million). Death rate is low. So my rough figure that 20 million children are added to India each year is conservative. Whether one takes 15 or 18 years for entry to workforce it should be close to that! Why are women not participating? Is it due to new social taboos? Or rules of eight hour work day? Or is it due to their lower qualifications? We cannot afford as a nation to leave them out saying that they take care of homes! We need to adopt suitable work during pregnancy and during their children’s growth; later they may join full force. The trouble with our governance systems are: we make rules; you fit in or get out! The rules don’t often match social realities. We need to create more jobs for women to do from their homes or nearby. Train them suitably. This observation applies to many female students who get excellent degrees and drop out of work after marriage or first child delivery even in urban areas; they would have continued with flexi times…….

In addition I request others to solve this puzzle: What happens to the 24 million children born each year when they are not seen even as statistics as eligible workforce? They are like bogies added to the goods train each year. His (AP) paper complicates this simple issue by quoting a figure above 15 years of age and inferring from it. (Policy makers and administrators would be comfortable with lower figures as they have lesser targets!!)

Any way what I have said above should NOT get lost in fights over data whether 15 m or 20 m above 15 years enter each year into workforce. I would like to see that they get reasonable income giving jobs and continual improvement with LFPR close to one. 70% of that 15 or 20 million children entering workforce each year needs special attention as I have said above. Skew against women should not be buried in LFPR statistics. All women should participate in economic production even part time!

Y. S. Rajan 02/05/2018