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Taking India abroad
Anukriti Sharma | Monday, 9 January 2017 AT 07:42 PM IST
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We speak to youngsters who have represented our country on a global platform to know about the challenges that we face on a global front.

Our youth is often called the driving force of our nation and they are definitely proving their mettle on all the fronts. They are creative, innovative, dynamic, energetic, hardworking and are crossing the horizons to display their prowess all across the world. But since we are a developing nation, they have their fair share of qualms too.

As we gear up for another National Youth Day (Jan 12), we speak to youngsters who have represented India globally and ask them about India’s position on the world platform and the challenges we are still grappling with. Over to them:

Inclusive growth and development
Pravin Nikam is a social activist, an educator, a gender equality advocate, and a humanitarian, all at the age of 24. He has studied the scenario of awareness about menstrual cycle in India and its impact on a girl’s life at gender equality training by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research & Training Institute (BARTI). He was awarded the National Youth Award in 2016 by the Government of India for improving health conditions of teenaged girls and women. He empowered them on issues around menstrual management and reproductive health rights. He even worked for citizen’s rights, motivating the youth to actively participate in the smooth functioning of democracy. He is serving as Asia Regional Representative at Commonwealth Youth Council which is a recognised voice of more than 1.2 billion young people aged under 29 from Commonwealth member countries. Nikam was also entrusted with the responsibility of working as the International Election Observer to the Government of Democratic Republic of Zambia.

Encourage new talent

City-based designer Komilla Lalwani showcased her work ‘Liberation’ and emerged winner in the Fashion Scout programme during London Fashion Week. Her collection was covered by various UK-based publications including Vogue UK, Daily Mail etc. Through her collection, she wanted to spread the message about the serious environmental concerns faced by us today. Introducing organic textiles like cotton and linen and organic silk with hand-dying techniques, the collection aims to promote eco-friendly products and techniques.

Need for a wholisitc development

Nineteen-year-old Neel Deshpande, who is currently pursuing Sports Management from the Loughborough University, earned the position of an Event Service Assistant at 2016 Rio Olympics and volunteered for Football, Archery and some of the athletic events at the Games. He has also won Duke of Edinburgh Award at the Buckingham Palace for young people (Gold level).

Better transitioning from Urban to rural

City youngster Mrinmayee Kolape is associated with Roshni Foundation and is currently teaching underprivileged kids under Z Bridge, Deccan. She is thoroughly invested in eliminating child beggars from the streets of Pune. Kolape has been recently invited by Universal Ambassadors organisation from the United States to become its Ambassador of Hope, which is a title given to individuals who act as agents to enhance the lives of others.  

India’s position on the global front

Our country is poised to be the world’s next superpower. Its core institutions from independent judiciary to free press, are secured by its more than half century-old roots. We are on the verge of becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In addition, I believe we need to focus on the participation by youth in decision-making too.

In my opinion, India is quite the power when you look at the country on a global level. There are obviously numerous social problems that we face which are quite appalling at times. A genuine effort has to be made by the state and citizens to eradicate these issues, and as I see it, the first step to this is fostering a right mentality. However, in India, the good are really good, and make India a force at an international level.

India is full of traditions and customs which itself makes it different from other countries of the world and I am glad that it gives a chance to a talent like me to represent internationally. Certainly India has taken a position where it is the talk of the world.

I got a chance to represent India abroad because of my small work for community and street children. So basically, I am not presenting a bright side of India as such. Instead, I am more focusing on shadows under the lamp. If you ask me where does India stand at the global level, I would say that as it’s ranking in all sectors of development and social issues but adversely. India is developing very fast but the side effects of development are need to be looked at.

The challenges

India is leading the world and is strongly working towards inclusive growth and development. One thing which I think we need to work on and which is on my agenda as a youth activist, is advocating the Youth Policy in all states of India and working with MPs to have a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Youth in Indian Parliament.

The major aspect where we lag behind is professionalism. Although in modern India, one can increasingly notice a high level of professionalism, I still feel the government does not deliver results because there is no professional approach. Consequently, private organisations step in to fill the gap which is not addressed by the government.

Even though we are observing significant changes and things, it would be a lot better if more newcomers got facilities to explore their talent and represent India internationally. We are too inclined towards classroom education which becomes a hurdle in gaining practical knowledge, a must in every field.

Poverty and unemployment are the major problems of India today and the beggars and children who are out there on roads, are the impact of it. There is no ideal solution to the current situation of India but we can keep trying to mitigate social problems. I have observed that India is not integratedly developing. The plan which will include integrated development of India would be the way out of this situation. Development of urban cities is not enough, the main cause of poverty and unemployment is migration from rural to urban.

The apt solution  

India is at a unique geopolitical moment. Regional order and global governance are both in flux and demanding India’s attention. This is not unique by itself. What is different this time around is that India has the capacity, increased capabilities and enhanced level of demonstrated intent to engage with this dual external relations challenge. In order to attain the global power status it desires, India must walk at the same time. It must tend to its immediate and extended Asian neighbourhood while also engaging with the task of shaping a new rules-based political and economic order. One more thing that we need to do is to address a force which is quietly shaping the world: a generation of young people that, numbering 1.8 billion between the ages of 10 to 24, is the largest in history, and has enormous potential to build peace amid the violence that so often rocks their world.

The reason why I chose to go abroad for my higher education is because the number of opportunities that the universities there offer is absolutely incredible. Whilst there are changes happening in our current system too, we need to ensure that the youth are exposed to other avenues in the world. Students should be encouraged to pursue opportunities that they are insterested in, outside the classroom. Wholistic development is vital. As Mark twain once said “i will not let my schooling interfere with my education”.

We have a lot of talent in our country and I think we need to promote, encourage and give them exposure to show off their work on an international platform. We also need to move away from the monotony and accept the new talent with open arms.

The government schemes need to be planned according to the focused group and the implementation should be done properly. Panchayat Raj system should be strengthened more for proper implementation. Youth should participate more in politics for the delivery of better governance. If you ask me to compare with other developed countries, we are coping up very fast with all the changes happening in the global economic market. But still I would like to come on the same point that one should think of the impact on each individual from all the layers of society too.

The author can be followed on Twitter @sh_anukriti

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