More young people in Indian cities are now participating in political activities, according to a new report commissioned by UN-HABITAT Global Urban Youth Research Network. The report, compiled by IRIS Knowledge Foundation, looks at youth education, livelihood, health and other concerns.
In 2011, 71% of urban youth, aged 18 to 34, said they were at least moderately interested in politics, up from 45% in 2009, according to a Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) survey. Nearly 22% of urban youth had also taken part in campaigning, attending rallies or fundraising for elections in 2011, up from 14% in 2009. The report attributed this to education and media exposure.
However, political activism may not translate into voter turnout. In the 2009 general election, 54% of 18 to 25 year olds voted, only a small increase from the 52% who did in 2004.
“It seems the urban youth is gradually politically mobilising,” wrote Sanjay Kumar, a fellow at CSDS and one of the report’s contributors. “While recent years have seen greater participation of urban youth in electoral activities, it is far from large-scale mobilisation.”
The findings are included in the “State of the Urban Youth India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills” report that has also been sent to the Centre.
“Unless you put young people in the driver’s seat, nothing will happen,” said Padma Prakash, director, IRIS Knowledge Foundation.