They can never be an inspiration, but they challenge our will and acumen in dealing with skill development of the younger generation. I am talking about those operating centers where future extremists are brain-washed, trained and are made a full-fledged terror to humanity. Extremist groups do not have a sanction from any authority, they run operations in secret areas exploiting all unauthorized ways to procure trainers, trainees and machinery for teaching. Yet they have been able to produce millions who join the brigade and pose a serious threat to economies and societies around the world. On the contrary, I can see young blood in my country, dipped in depression, drugs, begging and such other forbidden tasks that never add a bit to the economy or social growth. For radicals, this cluster is their probable workforce, while for the government that we choose for betterment of our lives; they are either non-existent or a burden. How can the candidates during election campaigning even promise to eradicate poverty and unemployment when they do not have even a single fool-proof plan to deal with the issue of unskilled and prone-to-evils young generation?
The idea here is quite simple. The present government wants to improve infrastructure, the basic road to development; these are those capital assets that serve the function of conveying people, goods, energy and range from railways, roads and highways to water management and energy infrastructure. Also add solid waste management and present-day need, communications structure to this. Developing infrastructure is fundamental to inviting growth of society and economy, and all-inclusive betterment. But with limited workforce, though we have more youth than rest of the world (UN World Population Report), I say limited as Indian youth is one of the most unskilled, with only a trivial fraction having access to skill development centers, universities and vocation trainings. Of all the young ones, we see every day on roads, in trains and buses performing pity jobs, how many do even know that something like National Skill Development Agency or Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) exist in India? One of the key reasons being nil elementary education certificates due to which children aged above 14 years cannot access platforms (ITIs and vocational training institutes) where abilities compulsory for industrial employment are imparted. UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Osotimehim has said “Young people are innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can transform the future only if they have skills, health, decision-making, and real choices in life.”
In real what venues are we providing to the most vibrant blood aged 14-20? Many from them are begging on streets, some are involved in pity and even harsh crimes, a lot are in the grip of cheap drugs, rest are lost with no proper guidance. A difference between extremist groups and our legally elected representatives is that while the former are committed towards imparting the knowledge of Jihad to any and every young blood they are able to tap, the latter are busy in promising well-being, but turn blind and deaf when a 12 year old girl with a begging bowl knocks the door of their bullet-proof cars. Why even a single child of India is allowed to wander on roads, is a question I am seeking an answer to. In case the issue is with high fertility, what is holding you from instigating population control drive? If the issue is lack of schools and skill development centers, what is not allowing you to open a basic vocational institute in every possible corner that can impart teachings on being a blue-collared worker at least? Mind you, though we need more IITs and IIMs to produce world-class engineers, managers, innovators and entrepreneurs, but prior to this, we need venues to train the untrained on how to perform basic labor jobs, after all, more people are required to build ports, railway lines, water/ sewage pipelines and other construction works that can foster progress of Indian industry and economy.
The irony is that nobody wants to talk and discuss work aspects for youth between 14 to 20 years and blue-collared factory and construction based work. Every one of us wants AIIMS, IIMs, medical institutes and if not these, we want diploma courses, short-term programs, on-the-job trainings, but all of these are accessible to those who have certificates from school, what about the ones who for any reason could not attend basic school sessions, will they be left to invitations from criminal gangs, extremist groups or beggars’ association? Employment creation for the youngsters who remained the target of bad destiny till the age of 14 or so years is also the responsibility of the government; and if you say that they themselves are liable for their condition, open a school in each and every corner to cater the need of rising population, force the ones not attending by any possible means and support families for whom they stay out of studies, unwillingly. We have been fighting against child labor practices since decades, but do we realize that UNICEF suggests that poverty is the underlying cause of child labor? Prior to gifting a book to every child, we will need to ensure grains in every household, the scarcity of which leads to their engaging in work. I hold consensus with banning child labor below 14 years of age in any and every industry, be it hazardous or non-hazardous, but I also expect my government to ensure that not even one child is left out from the Right to Education, forcible inclusion of children in schools and making parents/ guardians liable in case of non-adherence to be added in the RTE Act.
Only option that seems viable in the present scenario that cannot be changed overnight is creating employment and developing infrastructure simultaneously. Design programs and make arrangements to take every child above 14 years of age to basic skill learning centers where a 1-2 month course can make them a productive asset for infrastructure development companies. You would all agree that a hand carrying bricks from one point to the other is better than a hand with a begging bowl or a knife, or a hand that seeks pity benefits and subsidies from governments the entire life.
“You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln