“Rising Youth, Rising India” represents a dynamic initiative led by Political Strategist Mr. Atul Malikram, with the aim of harnessing India’s youth population’s immense potential to influence the nation’s future. India is notably the youngest country in terms of its youth population, and this campaign is strategically crafted to empower and engage the youth in the democratic process. The campaign is a continuous endeavor, comprising phases leading up to the Lok Sabha elections and persisting post-election to ensure a lasting commitment to youth engagement.
The initiative’s mission is multi-fold: it seeks to empower, engage, and celebrate the active role of young individuals in shaping the nation’s destiny. This involves boosting youth voter turnout and encouraging their active involvement in the political process, recognizing and addressing the challenges young people face in Indian politics, and working towards surmounting these obstacles. The mission also entails nurturing youth political engagement, advocating for change, and directing their ideas and energy toward impactful policy reforms. Additionally, it aims to significantly increase the number of registered young voters nationwide and mobilize them effectively on Election Day, ensuring their active participation in the Lok Sabha elections.
The all-encompassing campaign represents a multifaceted approach aimed at empowering and engaging India’s young citizens, encouraging their active involvement in the electoral process. To attain this goal, the campaign initiates educational workshops in schools, colleges, and universities. These workshops are carefully designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the electoral process, emphasizing the profound importance of each individual’s vote and the pivotal role elected representatives play in shaping the collective destiny of the nation.
Complementing these educational endeavors, the campaign appoints passionate young ambassadors who will act as torchbearers for the initiative. Their primary role is to initiate meaningful discussions about democracy, governance, and the critical significance of voting among their peers. Additionally, the campaign launches nationwide voter registration drives with a specific focus on colleges and universities. The aim is to streamline and simplify the registration process for young voters, ensuring they are ready and eligible to exercise their democratic rights.
In the digital domain, the team led by Atul Malikram is developing an interactive campaign website and social media pages. These platforms will serve as valuable resources, providing voter registration tools and fostering a forum for political discussions. Furthermore, the campaign leverages social media extensively to disseminate campaign messages, host live discussions, and share inspirational stories of young leaders who have made a tangible impact through their active involvement in the democratic process.
Creating engaging and informative content tailored to young audiences is another cornerstone of the campaign. It includes videos, infographics, podcasts, and more. To encourage informed discussions, the initiative organizes youth forums and debates that bring together young voters, candidates, and experts to deliberate on critical issues. Celebrity endorsements enhance the campaign’s appeal, while community engagement with local organizations facilitates events, volunteer opportunities, and neighborhood dialogues. Finally, on Election Day, the committed volunteers of Atul Malikram’s team will be on the ground, offering essential logistical support that includes assisting with transportation to polling stations. This comprehensive approach seeks to foster an informed and actively engaged electorate, with a specific focus on the youth, ensuring that their voices are not only heard but also make a meaningful impact in shaping the future of our nation.
As per the Y20 India 2023 initiative, the active involvement of youth in politics and the legislative process holds immense importance. Their participation ensures that the concerns and viewpoints of young people are adequately represented in decision-making. To make this a reality, it’s imperative to address the barriers that hinder their participation and provide the necessary support and opportunities for their engagement. A collective future can only be achieved when every segment of society, including the youth, actively participates in the democratic processes that shape their lives.
Challenges for Youth in Active Politics in India
The worldwide average age of a Member of Parliament is 53-55 years. The average age for a woman MP is 50 years. The Sub-Saharan African MPs have the lowest regional average age at 49 years while the Arab countries with the highest at 55 years.
The data reveals that youth are underrepresented in political offices worldwide. These challenges encompass structural and personal barriers that keep the youth from accessing positions of power in politics. These include the high costs associated with elections, issues related to race, and gender discrimination. The central structural obstacle is the prevalence of power politics, wherein connections and affiliations within dominant political parties, as well as campaign financing, play critical roles. Furthermore, disparities between the age required for voting and the age permitted for contesting elections create a delayed entry into political careers. The absence of a prescribed retirement age or upper age limit for holding political offices means that experienced leaders occupy key positions, leaving little room for the youth to assume leadership roles.
Educating young voters about the importance of their participation in democracy is pivotal. This involves cultivating an understanding of the issues that impact their communities, encouraging informed opinions, and active engagement in the political process, encompassing voting, participation in public debates, and collaborative efforts to attain shared objectives. Equipping young people with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be active and informed citizens is essential for maintaining a vibrant and functioning system of governance for generations to come.
Youth in Policy Making and Governance
Youth involvement in policy-making and governance is a vital aspect of inclusive and equitable future building, considering the significant and growing proportion of the global population that is youth. Young people bring diverse perspectives, experiences, and innovative ideas to the table, leading to effective solutions for complex issues. Additionally, they are more likely to engage in civic matters and participate in governance processes if given the opportunity. This engagement results in a more vibrant and inclusive democracy, and by involving youth in governance, we ensure that future generations aren’t burdened by problems created by their predecessors. This collaborative effort between governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector may include the establishment of youth councils, youth-led committees, and youth-friendly services providing information and support.
To achieve a shared future where youth have a meaningful role in democracy and governance, a collaborative effort between governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector is required. This could include the creation of youth councils, youth-led committees, and youth-friendly services that provide information and support.
Contesting elections at the local level presents fewer financial barriers, offering a more accessible entry point for young individuals into politics. Prioritizing young candidates for specific local government seats can overcome structural hindrances and enhance the implementation of development and welfare schemes, ensuring they reach those in need. The case of Bhakti Sharma serves as a testament to the potential of youth in local government. At just 25 years old, she won the elections for the position of Sarpanch in the village of Barkhedi Abdullah in Madhya Pradesh. Her leadership has brought about significant progress in the village through efficient fund utilization and improved administration. Her victory has also raised awareness among villagers about the importance of having educated and competent political leaders.
Direct Engagement in Policy Formulation
The Government of India offers internship programs for young minds interested in policy formulation and implementation. The Ministry of External Affairs offers an internship program for young Indian researchers. It is an excellent opportunity for budding policy enthusiasts to become familiar with the process of developing and implementing foreign policy, while The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog recruits young researchers through its Young Professionals program. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) offers a ‘Digital India Internship’ for Indian students.
These programs provide hands-on training in various domains, from blockchain technology to artificial intelligence and machine learning. This initiative recognizes the analytical capabilities and heightened abilities of today’s younger generation.
Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad and Bal Panchayats
Organizations like the Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad (Indian Student Parliament) mobilize and empower young people, offering political coaching to educate them about democracy and motivate their active participation in politics. Similarly, the Bal Panchayat initiative, implemented at the gram sabha level in villages in Maharashtra, empowers youth representatives to elect child and youth leaders who voice their needs and realities at the Bal Panchayat and Gram Panchayat levels. Their inputs have been incorporated into government recommendations and have influenced budget planning for Maharashtra’s Gram Panchayat projects. This success has led to plans for rolling out Bal Panchayats nationwide.
National Youth Policy, 2021
The National Youth Policy 2021, presented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, is a comprehensive framework aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to catalyze youth development over the next decade. The policy aims to unlock youth potential, expand leadership development opportunities, and use technology to create a vibrant youth enablement platform. It includes strengthening the youth volunteering ecosystem, investing in youth leadership development, and mobilizing a one-stop youth platform. The policy ensures an inclusive and holistic development of the youth, encompassing education and health. As a national-level framework, it provides a model for states to formulate their own youth policies based on regional needs, emphasizing the importance of supporting and strengthening these efforts to develop the future leaders of India from the current young generation.
“Rising Youth, Rising India: Empowering the Future” is poised to harness the energy and aspirations of India’s young population, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility in shaping the nation’s destiny through active political engagement.