For India's Better Future, Invest In Youth
WITH the slogan – "for India's better future, invest in youth," thousands of youth from all parts of the country participated in the youth march to parliament on February 25, 2008 and demanded the UPA government to allocate more budget for employment generation, education and health in 2008-09 budget. Registering their strong protest against the spiraling unemployment, unprecedented inflation and crisis in education and health, youth strongly raised the issue of ban on recruitment and served an ultimatum on the UPA government to immediately withdraw the anti-youth job killing circular issued in November 2005. The youth march was organised from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street. DYFI's central leaders led the enthusiastic and colourful procession in which youth men and young women carrying white flags of DYFI marched behind the banners of their respective states.
At Parliament Street, the procession turned in to a huge youth meeting. Sitaram Yechury, MP was the main speaker. Apart from him, all India leaders of DYFI, former leaders of DYFI, Hannan Mollah, MP, Md Salim, MP and P Karunakaran, MP addressed the gathering. Speaking on the occasion, Sitaram Yechury said youth constitute the majority of our population today and India's future depends upon the development of this vast human resource. "If we want a better future for India, then there is no other way we can do it but to invest in youth," he said. While congratulating DYFI for its efforts to unite the youth in the struggles on issues pertaining to youth, he said that DYFI has to play a major role in building a nationwide movement against anti-youth anti-people neo-liberal policies of the ruling class.
While the meeting was on at Parliament Street, along with Sitaram Yechury, MP, a five-member delegation of DYFI comprising Tapas sinha, general secretary, Sreeramakrishnan, president, Pushpendra Tyagi, treasurer, Md Amin Dar, joint secretary and Abhas Roy Chowdhury, joint secretary met the prime minister Manmohan Singh and submitted a memorandum to him. The prime minister assured the delegation that demands of the youth would be looked in to at the earliest. He gave an assurance on the withdrawal of circular on recruitment ban issued by the Finance ministry in 2005.
The memorandum noted that the rate of unemployment has increased in rural as well as in urban areas. Lakhs of posts in government jobs are lying vacant at various levels. In Railways alone, more than 3 lakh posts are lying vacant. At the same time there is a ban on recruitment and by its policy of abolishing the vacant posts, the government is cutting back on its expenditure. Casualisation of labour, outsourcing and widespread use of contract workers have subjected the youth to greater exploitation and deprived them of their rights. In 8 percent plus growth regime, more than three fourths of our population is living on less than Rs 20 per day. India's rank in Human Development Index among 177 countries has slipped from 126 in 2006 to 128 in 2007.
There is a feeling of insecurity among the vast army of unemployed youth. All sorts of communal, reactionary, chauvinist elements are taking advantage of this situation and posing a serious challenge to the future of our country by creating and widening the divide on the basis of region, religion, caste etc.
The last four years of UPA government are marked by its failure to identify priorities in its annual budget. The government contributes only 0.45 percent of GDP on health and only 3.5 percent on education, well below what is required to meet the commitments made in the CMP. It has failed to seriously address the burning problems of unemployment, inflation and problems in education and health. Even for NREGA, which has been a welcome step in providing relief, there has been a short fall in the outlay from what was required for its expansion.
The memorandum noted that on behalf of the youth community, during the last three years, DYFI delegation submitted memorandums to the prime minister on November 2, 2005 and on February 23, 2006, in this regard and despite his assurances, situation has not changed. Even the anti-youth job killer circular issued on November 23, 2005 by the ministry of Finance, department of expenditure has not been withdrawn till date.
Major demands of the rally included the following:
1) For India's better future, Invest in Youth.
2) Lift ban on recruitment; and fill up all existing vacancies.
3) Withdraw job killing circular No. F. No.7 (2)/E-Coord/2005, GOI, ministry of Finance, DOE dated November 23, 2005.
4) Fulfill promises made in the CMP, allocate more budget for employment generation, education and health.
5) Increase outlay for effective implementation of NREGA. Extend the scheme to all rural as well as urban areas. Generate employment for educated unemployed youth.