12th January is celebrated as National Youth Day in India to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda and his thoughts are still an inspiration to youth. He believed that the role of youth was very significant in the process of nation-building.
In the current times, the youth of the country are highly distressed. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have led to the crash of the global economy. There are so many people who have lost their jobs amidst such a crisis, and the financial problems have increased multifold as a result. In addition to this, the lockdowns and social distancing norms have affected the mental health of the youth.
Now as the vaccination starts officially in a few days, everyone is more than hopeful for their lives to resume back to normal. The recovery phase of the economy is set to begin as soon as the vaccine rolls out and people start going back to work. As the world recovers the youth that was displaced because of the crash of the economic system, need to be re-integrated back into the workforce.
Let us look at some of the initiatives by India Inc, that are designed for the youth to help them re-integrate back in the economy.
Tata Steel’s Holistic plan for Development of Youth
Tata Steel has adopted a holistic approach to the development of Youth. It has introduced initiatives in health, education, skill development, social justice and empowerment for the overall development of Youth.
For addressing the health, Tata Steel had introduced Project RISHTA programme which stands for Regional Initiative for Safe Sexual Health by Today’s Adolescents in 2004. The project is aimed at creating awareness on reproductive and sexual health, nutrition, consequences of early marriage, substance abuse and family planning. It facilitates linkage with health services and Government Programmes and imparts life skills training amongst youth to pave way for their overall holistic development. The programme engages with 20,000 youngsters annually.
For imparting education to the Youth, Tata Steel has multiple initiatives including Jyoti Fellowship which extends financial aid to deserving school and college students to close to 300 youngsters from Jharkhand and Odisha annually; Tata Steel Scholars Programme which offers mentoring support along with financial assistance to underprivileged Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students who make it some of the country’s top-notch institutes like IIT, NIT, TISS, XIMB, etc.; and Residential Bridge Schools – Masti Ki Pathshala which aims to build a Child Labour Free Jamshedpur’.
To impart social justice and integrate the tribal community to the workforce, Tata Steel Foundation has launched an annual conclave called ‘Samvaad’ with the objective of bringing forth the culture, heritage and development perspectives of indigenous communities from across the world. This platform engages with tribal communities across all ages and in the last five years close to 5000 youngsters have been engaged through Samvaad as well as its ancillary forums including regional Samvaad, paper presentations, fellowship, handicrafts, music collaboration, healers, cuisines, etc. In addition to this, the foundation has launched a Tribal Leadership Programme for youth under tribal to identify and foster leaders from all corners of tribal India. The foundation has also set up 297 Tribal language Training Centres across Jharkhand and Odisha imparting training in six tribal languages and benefitting close to 19,000 students annually in order to of re-acquaint tribal youth with their own heritage by encouraging preservation and promotion of tribal languages.
For skill development, the company has launched several initiatives. Project Samriddhi by the foundation is aimed at addressing the issues of poverty, unemployment and mass migration among the socially and economically underprivileged communities, especially in Naxal infested areas. The Foundation, through the project, imparts nursing training to young girls from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes with an aim to provide employability skills. The Sabal Center for Abilities in Jharkhand has been set up by Tata Steel Foundation in partnership with Enable India to empower Persons with Disabilities through skilling programmes enabling gainful employment as well as sensitising communities to enable them to lead productive and dignified lives. This programme has reached the lives of 200 youngsters. Ek Pahal is a skilling initiative of the Tata Steel Foundation to constructively engage prison inmates by imparting in-house training including soft skills, computer literacy, baking, mushroom cultivation, etc. to enable them to secure gainful employment, both within as well as outside the jail. Meaningful engagement with 300 youngsters is made through this initiative. To impart technical skills among the young population, Tata Steel Foundation, with Nettur Technical Training Foundation as a training partner, runs three institutes across Jharkhand and Odisha – Tata Steel Technical Institute (Burma Mines), Industrial Training Institute (Tamar) and Industrial Training Institute (Jagannathpur), imparting technical training in various fields including Mechatronics and Electrical and Electronics and trades like Electrician, Fitter, Turner, Welder and Mason, etc. Close to 700 students across the three institutes are part of the training programme.
With an aim to empower the youth further the foundation extends its support to the youth for pursuing sports by training and providing access to good sports facilities and nurturing sporting talent with career potential. Through this, close to 12,000 players are engaged through football tournaments, 1500 players through tribal sports like Kati, Sekkor etc. In addition to this, close to 90 coaches are provided certificate programme trainings to promote grassroots sports.
In addition to this, the foundation also organises Outdoor Leadership Camps and Self-reflection camps to mobilise change agents and inculcate the leadership skills among youth.
Mahindra Group’s Commitment to Skilling the Youth
Mahindra Group, through its skilling initiatives like Mahindra Pride Schools & Classrooms, SMART ACADEMY, SMART Plus, and Surya Mitra has skilled 500,000 youth and Mahindra Pride School alone has created 100,000 jobs in the last 15 years. It has further committed to skill 500,000 youth in the next 5 years. For its Mahindra Pride Schools initiative, the Group with Naandi Foundation as the implementation partner will re-calibrate the curriculum to impart employable skills required in the post-COVID era. The program will look to expand the curriculum to new domains of agriculture, healthcare, eCommerce, services and entrepreneurship in addition to technology. MPS will also treble the pace of job creation by providing 100,000 additional jobs in the next five years vis-à-vis 15 years.
WNS Plans to Empower Youth in Cyber Safety Education
WNS Cares Foundation (WCF), the CSR arm of WNS Global Services has partnered with Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL), an initiative under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) by NITI Aayog, to empower children and youth with knowledge on relevant topics around cybersafety and digital education through its platform, CyberSmart. As part of the program, ATL will use CyberSmart and other digital-led programs by WCF in more than 6,500 schools across India that are part of its network to introduce students to pertinent themes related to cybersecurity, and other relevant content. WCF volunteers have already begun conducting capacity building workshops for ATL’s Regional Teachers of Change (RTOC) and will continue to support ATL in charge to deliver modules effectively.