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India’s Youth Is Full Of Ideas But There’s One Thing Holding Them Back – Convention.

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Many magical gurus – babas – are prescribing their one of a kind mantra nowadays to keep happy… “Be contented with whatever you have.” Their lines actually reflect the societal system’s attitude towards the masses. It is very easy for the society to brush off its responsibilities by driving the citizens’ attention to the most astounding reality of all in the universe, that we are alive, despite everything. So, we should be grateful for that and not demand anything from life at all. The need for jobs, financial upgradation, good roads, infrastructure and everything that is essential for a civilized life thus goes down the drain.

Often the argument posed by these systems’ representatives is that we should try and make the most out of our lives. So what if jobs are scarce, we should try some “Jugaad” (a colloquial term for improvisation in daily life); so what if the cost of commodities is increasing day by day, we should reduce our consumption.

If one questions the veracity of such a philosophy, there are always supermen/women who’ll stand up and proclaim to have crossed the limits of the sky just by their sheer hard work and agility without being bothered about the world.

There are people from various professions including writers and businessmen who sing the same tune; often making us regret that perhaps we didn’t give our best. We are taken in by their stardom and overlook the fact that no matter how much one tries, few can succeed in a situation when educated youths outnumber by large margin the jobs that can be created directly/indirectly.

Since a couple of years, privatisation of education has been overtaking all the states, with the result that there are schools and colleges for engineering, medical studies or management in almost every lane of our country. The idea of a doctor or engineer at every home isn’t bad, what is wrong is to sanction licences randomly to colleges without making sure about their infrastructure and analyzing the job market in advance; so that students graduating through hefty donations – borne by their parents’ hard-earned money, gets a job at the end of the day.

Women students at Delhi University’s LSR College for Women. (Photo: Sumeet Inder Singh/The The India Today Group via Getty Images)

“But why always seek jobs, why not try to be self-employed?” the youth is often scoffed at despite the fact that start-ups are difficult to maintain, owing to the harsh economic policies of the governments. Again, hiring people for start-ups is difficult as nobody wants to join a company from the scratch. Despite chances of employment being bleak, every newcomer wants to be associated with an industry giant and grow in leaps and bounds from day one, rather than grow at a snail’s pace with a start-up. The idea is to get rich in a jiff without working hard and given celebrities becoming overnight stars in various fields and sporting their riches before the world, how could youngsters not get influenced?

The wide differences in working of governmental and corporate systems are also the reason for the ‘taking everything for granted’ mentality in youth. For instance, adherence to theoretical knowledge rather than industry-specific education in the curriculum of engineering courses is the reason why freshers have to be trained on the job, before they can be absorbed in organizations and allowed to handle responsibilities of their own.

However, while government organisations pay for these trainings along with a stipend; few corporate houses have such training programmes in their employment policies and want to hire experienced people directly for their businesses. Now, with abysmally poor education received, even if a candidate gets to reach for the interview chair following the route of referrals, their lack of basic knowledge about their trade lands up only in rejection.

The wonders of “Jugaad” may work only in securing government jobs where there is little or no accountability as innocent taxpayers’ money is at stake who are all-bark-and-no-bite. However in private businesses, an employee’s credentials are determined by the amount of value they add to the company, even if inducted through a referral. Of course the role of sycophancy, being in the good books of bosses can’t be ruled out for procuring promotions in big corporate houses, but an incapable employee who can’t deliver at the end of the day is sure to be shown the door at some point.

We all know the truth but choose to remain indifferent as we’ve been brought up on the need to feather our own nests and to win by hook or crook; words like ‘conscience’ or ‘integrity’ have simply lost their relevance. The result is the unholy nexus getting stronger in our present state of affairs day by day and we can’t deny our part in creating and lubricating it. Also, we can hardly expect to have quality engineers/doctors from the privatised education model, which aims more at earning revenues by selling degrees than imparting education.

“According to the third edition of the National Employability Report for Engineers, less than 20% of those graduating from the colleges are employable for software jobs while a minuscule 7.49% are competent enough to be employed for core engineering jobs.”

The old-fashioned mindset of Indians is also responsible for the failure of successful careers. Many parents still believe engineering medicine to be creamy professions and are willing to go to any extent to make their wards engineers and doctors, adding up to the already crammed up professions. It is a respite now that students have stopped enrolling in these courses after becoming aware of the plight of their seniors.

“The latest AICTE data shows that the vacant seats in engineering and technology colleges has gone upto 42% in West Bengal, 62% in Punjab and upto 67% in Uttarakhand.”

But what about the lakhs of students who had already passed out? The governments having washed off their hands after keeping their promises of providing education to one and all according to personal choices of fields, the youth are left to fend for themselves now. With private jobs an obscurity, will they fight out for the UPSC or become entrepreneurs and keep counting their chickens before they hatch? Or better still watch motivational videos of babas on Facebook and become saints?

To take people’s attention away from a slowing economy and hence unemployment high in last 45 years, a few young people are being deliberately labelled as ‘outstanding’ while the larger fraction to be mediocre/poor, resulting in a more fierce rat race and corruption; with the fact remaining that meritorious, mediocre or poor, every tax-paying citizen has the right to financial freedom, just like the right to education.

Created by Abhik Dasgupta

Was the privatisation of education a good decision taken by government ?
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Featured image source: Prasad Gori for Hindustan Times via Getty Images.
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  1. Sanujit Roy

    Jugaad is a blunder which is giving rise to unemployment

  2. Sanujit Roy

    Blunder

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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