Draft National Youth Policy 2012 seeks a shift in youth age bracket

Policy draft includes transgender, gay, lesbian people and HIV & TB infected in new category

Shrinking the target age group defining youth from the existing 13-35 years to 16-30 years and inclusion of groups transgender, gay and lesbians along with those infected with HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis who suffer from social or moral stigma in a new category are some of the salient features of the draft National Youth Policy (NYP) 2012.

The NYP, which is a step forward from the earlier such polices formulated in 1988 and 2003 with an aim to empower youth by bringing holistic development, will remain effective till 2022 once implemented by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, said a statement.

While proposing change in the age-bracket that defines youth, the draft NYP aims at realigning the definition of youth in the country in keeping with definitions framed by the international bodies such as United Nations (15-24 years) and the Commonwealth (15- 29 years).

Placing transgender, gay and lesbian youth under the target group, the NYP observes that transgenders have for long been the 'butt of ridicule and derision of the society', while gays and lesbians have never been accepted as the same gender sex has always been treated as perverted and immoral in the Indian society. The policy also observes that there is lack of acceptance of youth infected and affected by HIV and TB and they face social rejections which has a negative implication on pursuit for education and employment among other goals.

The draft NYP has also identified young women and youth belonging to socially and economically disadvantaged communities and differently-abled youth as priority groups, assuring they will be covered under appropriate programmes undertaken for their upliftment.

The proposed policy promises that concerns of target groups and the priority groups shall be addressed through a subsequent action plan based on policy interventions. To this effect, it specifically mentions the Prime Minister's National Council on Skill Development and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which have been set up with a goal of creating 500 million skilled manpower by 2022.

Pune Satish Bansode, the programme director of advocacy group Centre for Youth Development and Activities, said it has adequately addressed various aspects critical for enhancing youth development and youth participation. He, however took an objection to defining age-bracket of 16-30 as target youth, demanding that lower age limit be brought down to 13.

The draft NYP is available on Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports' official website http://yas.nic.in .

YDI to ascertain status of youth

The draft NYP 2012 has proposed a Youth Development Index (YDI) that can be used across the country by the governments, academia, and other organisations in civil society to ascertain the status of youth vis--vis the systemic dimensions which influence their growth and empowerment.

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