Youth empowerment in federal state

Anand Thakur

Anand Thakur
“Theoretically, federalism means the fairer distribution of resources shared among all the the local dynamics. Youths could even play the role of watchdog, contributing to local dynamics but also questioning local malpractices.”

The United Nations defines “youth” as persons between the ages of 15-24 whereas the government of Nepal extends the definition to those between 16 and 40 years of age. As per the Population and Housing Census Report 2011, over 38.8 percent of the country’s populations in Nepal fall under the category of youth.

Among them, nearly 46 percents are men and more than 54 percent of women. The youth force is an invaluable asset to the nation. The youth is not only a vital source of the state but also a change maker. The youth are an initiator for the economic, social, political and cultural transformation and are changer makers.

Due to courage, innovativeness, inquisitiveness and high level of self-confidence within the youth made them important assets of a nation as a well main source of national building. Youth, being the backbone of the nation, qualitatively as well quantitatively, it is crucial to include their capacity in the mainstream of national development.

The youths being the change agents of political, economic and social transformation, it is the main need at present to involve them actively in nation-building by specially addressing it through the national policy.
The main contributor to establishing democracy and other social movements in Nepal are youth. From People’s Peaceful Movement of 2062 and 2063 (2005-2006), armed conflict, the movements relating to Madhes, Tharuhat, indigenous people and many more such social revolution, the youth played a vital role which increased the need of youth policy.

Youth empowerment per se deals with the skills and knowledge development and the building of self-confidence level within youth. The goal of youth empowerment is to make the youth capable of a change maker. Through initiatives engaging them in grassroots policymaking, the youth of the nation can get emboldened and encouraged to become more active in the local decision-making process. They can come up with innovative ideas based on evidence and research. Also, only making policy won’t work rather it should be implemented too.

Federalism is the hub of opportunities for all the youths of the nation. Because of the complexities of the arrangements that need to be put in place, youths now have an opportunity to step up and offer ideas and solutions regarding problems and issues affecting people at the local level.

The federal set up that is being created will offer more opportunities at the local level. For the implementation of federalism, it is no doubt that the power will be shared and decision making at the ground level will crucial. As recognition of the significant contributions made by the youth for the establishment of the Federal Democratic Republic in Nepal, there is a need for addressing issues like class, gender, caste, language, and religion.

On the other hand, the youth belonging to the minorities, marginalized, physically challenged communities, and queer groups also need to be specially addressed. The state needs to adopt a concrete policy to institutionalize the Federal Democratic Republic in accordance with the principles of inclusion, proportionality and equitable development, to safeguard national independence and sovereignty It is crucial that to transform Nepal into reality, the active participation and leadership role of the youth should be ensured in every procedure of governance of the state.

The federalism can only be fruitful and youth-friendly if all the municipalities of the country and then also at provincial levels, should initiate the dialogues with youth. Out of such countrywide debate, a national-wide contest could be organized to seek the best ideas from youth through a bottom-up approach where the best ones will be showcased in an idea forum.

The federal government and seven provincial governments could jointly organize such an event and seek the full involvement and participation of youth. Such idea-generating platforms could also offer an opportunity to instill in youth the right understanding of the new decision-making mechanisms linked to the federal set up.

If the ideas contest started with a short training held at schools on civic engagement and policymaking where students are taught not only about activism but also about the new rules related to the relationships between central, provincial and local levels, it would enhance youth participation.

Also, the Constitution of Nepal 2015, has a provision that exclusively promotes the policy to encourage youth participation in the all-round development of the country. For this, it emphasizes the creation and provision of opportunities for young people in the fields of education, health, and employment, aimed at boosting their personal development and empowerment.

The need to empower youth for a better tomorrow is connected both, to the financial elevation as well as increment of the standard of living. Awareness is a key factor for this empowerment, with guidance towards developing a wholesome outlook of life.

Youth empowerment in any development is imperative not only for the national development of an entire country but also for the personal development of an individual. Youth empowerment is pursued by promoting youth rights, youth activism and community decision making. Empowerment is necessarily a process of inculcating values to equip the learner to lead a life that is satisfying to the individual while being in accordance with the cherished values and ideals of the society. At present, it is the most effective means that society possesses to confronting the challenges of the future.

The Youth Empowerment is essential for Poverty eradication, Good Education Standard, Good Governance, Crime reduction. Apart from this, there are serious social and economic consequences associated with not addressing the youth who is at the risk of negative circumstances – not only for the youth himself and his family but also for the society at large. Empowerment enables a young mind to differentiate the wrong from the right, denouncing the path of injustice for a respectable living.

In today’s day and age, young minds should have access to resources to transform their consciousness through their beliefs, values, and attitudes. Then only can we believe in making our nation “shine”, even in times of adversity. Also, the stalkeholder should be more sensitive for youth who are heading towad abroad for employement purposes. It is seem that, most of the youth due to lack of employment in Nepal they are moving ahead toward abroad which entails the lack of youth participation in Nepal in every sector. Even, the educated youth nowadays migrating to abroad for employment purpose.

This is critical situation and respective stakeholder should come forwards with plans with the strict implemeantion mechanism to create the ambit where youth should settle in country. Like, from local government to central government, the youth should be targeted though skill and labour-market, should reduce the interest rate , should make tax free for first two years of start-up, arrange the skill training, so on.

Even, the politician of Nepal see the youth as only political volunteer and insist them to join the political party in early age at the age of education. Such culture divert the youth from pursuing basic education and play with the future of youth and keep them as political volunteers only. Youth are denied leadership role and used just a tool in elections. Such culture should be terminated.

The Initiation for the Youth Empowerment should be launched from the Local Level itself to make it more effective as well the Central government and Provinces government should have also support for Youth Empowerment.

Published on 12 August 2020