The Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal has said that the Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, is focused on youth-led development. The Government firmly holds the view that the Youth should be active drivers and not just passive recipients of the development process. ‘Facilitating youth participation at all levels of governance’ is one of the key objectives of the current National Youth Policy of India. Speaking at the Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting here today, he said, participation of youth in governance process is an article of faith for the current Government in India. He said, on the personal initiative of the Prime Minister Shri Modi, a portal called MyGov.nic.in has been set up, on which the youth can give their suggestions on a wide-ranging governance issues. Government Ministries are consulting youth on policy issues using various online and offline channels. The Minister said, a National Youth Advisory Council, is being set up to advise the Government of youth issues. The council will have youth representation from every single State/ UT of the country.
Here is the full text of Shri Sarbananda Sonowal’s speech:
“Firstly, I would like to pay my profound tribute to the great ideal teacher, statesman, visionary, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, whose sudden demise shocked the Nation. The Nation still mourns the loss of the Great Soul.
I extend a warm welcome to you all to this first Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting. It was indeed very appropriate that in the 8th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting in April 2013 in Papua New Guinea, it was decided to hold regional meetings in the mid-term between 4-yearly Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meetings, inter-alia, to consult on regional priorities in youth development. We are privileged to host the first such regional meeting for the Asia Region.
The Theme of the Conference, namely, “Youth Participation at the Heart of Sustainable Development” is of great significance. Youth are the most dynamic and vibrant section of the Society. Youth are the future of this world. Fortunately, the world today has more young people living in it than any other time in history. About 60% of the world’s youth in 15-24 years age-group live in Asia, most of them in commonwealth member countries. In India, about 65% of the population is under 35 years of age. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity.
The challenge before all of us is to develop and empower the youth, to enable them to realise their full potential and to contribute to the development of their respective nations. This would, inter-alia, involve, providing the right education to the youth, imparting necessary skills to make them employable, developing them as entrepreneurs, making them healthy individuals and inculcating the right social and moral values among them. Youth can be great messengers of peace. Each country has some strengths and weaknesses. We should learn from the strengths of other countries in order to remove our own weaknesses.
Success with sustainable human values is always helpful with true growth of human society in the world. The World-over, there is a realization that the youth have a key role to play in the development process. The youth have made a valuable contribution to the shaping of the ‘Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda’ through participation in the MyWorld Survey, national consultations, etc. The youth participation is increasing in various International Forums. The recent BRICS Summit was preceded by a BRICS Youth Summit and the youth from the BRICS nations provided valuable inputs to the BRICS leaders. I am glad that Commonwealth is following similar structure for these regional meetings and that a separate Youth Leaders’ Forum has been organised. I am sure the Ministers will find the inputs from the Youth Forum to be very insightful and valuable.
In India, the Government, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modiji, is focused on youth-led development. The Government firmly holds the view that the Youth should be active drivers and not just passive recipients of the development process. ‘Facilitating youth participation at all levels of governance’is one of the key objectives of the current National Youth Policy of India.
In fact, participation of youth in governance process is an article of faith for the current Government in India. On the personal initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modiji, a portal called MyGov.nic.in has been set up, on which the youth can give their suggestions on a wide-ranging governance issues. Government Ministries are consulting youth on policy issues using various online and offline channels. A National Youth Advisory Council, is being set up to advise the Government of youth issues. The council will have youth representation from every single State/ UT of the country.
I am glad to inform this august House that a very significant recent initiative in the direction of promotion of youth participation in governance in India is the ‘Neighbourhood Youth Parliament’ Programme. Under the Programme, the village-based youth clubs are being enabled to function as youth parliaments. Initially, the capacity building of the youth club leaders is done through Block-level Youth Parliament Programmes and then, they are expected to organise similar programmes in their youth clubs. In the Neighbourhood Youth Parliament Programmes, the youth are educated about contemporary socio-economic development issues confronting local communities in general and the youth in particular and are involved in debate/ discussions on such issues. The youth make recommendations to the local administration and the elected bodies through these programmes.
I am sure each of the commonwealth countries in Asia Region is taking innovative initiatives for promotion of participation of youth in the development process. The Conference provides a unique platform to share our best practices and to learn from each other.
We have tried to make best possible logistic arrangements for our honoured guests. We hope you will have a pleasant stay in India. Please try and take some time out to experience India.
I am confident that we will have very useful deliberations over the next two days. At the end of the Conference, we should come out with concrete recommendations for empowerment of the youth of Asia Region and for projecting the concerns of youth from Asia in the Global sustainable development agenda.
I once again extend very hearty welcome to all of you.