Youth Innovation in India
Celebrating the genius of youth on International Youth Day 2021
by Dr. Subi Chaturvedi
Youth Innovation in India - Celebrating Young Genius
Since 1999, the International Day of Youth is celebrated on 12th August every year, putting central focus on pertinent issues faced by today’s youth. India is home to one-fifth of world’s youth population, which is considered by many as one of the biggest demographic dividend for the country. But there’s a flipside. While a young population is a valued asset for any country, if not educated, skilled and trained properly, it can rapidly transform into a challenge. For the past few decades, it has been essential for India to skill its young population and make them employment ready. In 2015, Skill India was launched under the visionary leadership of the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi with the objective of creating an empowered workforce by 2022. Under the initiative, the Skill India program trained over 1.07 crore Indians by 2021, achieving the target despite several unprecedented challenges.
Youth Innovation in India has proven that innovation can come from anywhere.
Against All Odds - Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has been the biggest challenge so far. Around 1.6 billion learners, in more than 190 countries, were felt the impact of the lockdown restrictions that came with the pandemic. The world is dealing with once-in-a-century crisis in COVID-19 that has placed several roadblocks in the effectiveness and success of the youth skilling programs. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs, which have played an instrumental role in empowering youth and building their employability and entrepreneurial capacities while opening avenues of earning livelihood, have taken a backseat. However, this hasn’t stopped youth from innovating and advancing. People have seen the challenges as opportunities and kept the momentum going.
The Youth Innovators of India
Online gaming in particular has seen a remarkable growth during the pandemic, owing to people looking for interactive entertainment and the competitiveness of physical sports. Gaming startups, riding on the vision of their young founders and leaders are constantly innovating to keep people engaged and entertained. The next wave of transformative innovation is already in the works with Indian youth leading in entertainment, e-commerce and science.
It was only 4 years ago that Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old student from Tamil Nadu, designed the world’s smallest satellite that weighs merely 64 grams. It was launched into space by NASA in June 2017. Similarly, Remya Jose was only 14 years old when she invented a low-cost washing-cum-exercise machine that won her a national award.
Even Zupee, a leading gaming startup in India, has seem tremendous growth and created employment opportunities for people around the country. This has been possible through the vision fulfilment of its founders who were 24 & 25 when they founded the company. The phrase “innovation can come from anywhere” has never been more relevant. However, we do know the age-group most likely to step forward. Youth is not only the future of our nation and our world, but it is improving our lives now. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the next decade being India’s ‘techade’, it made sense he looked towards youth innovation to fulfill that vision. The youth are coming of age and creating a better world for all of us. We can only appreciate the genius, the creativity and the resolve the youngsters are showing for sustainable growth, social development and inclusive innovation.