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close this bookContributions of Youth to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HABITAT, 1999, 137 p.)
close this folderPART II: NATIONAL REPORTS
View the documentII.1 BRAZIL
View the documentII.2 COLOMBIA
View the documentII.3 INDIA
View the documentII.4 KENYA
View the documentII.5 PAKISTAN
View the documentII.6 SENEGAL
View the documentII.7 TURKEY


Prepared by the Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO)
F-13, South Extension-One, New Delhi, India
Phone: 91 11 462 4776 Fax: 91 11 464 1807


The Habitat Agenda was intended as a global call to action at the all levels and a guide aimed at achieving sustainable development of the world’s cities, towns and villages in the first two decades of the next century. The Agenda contains a statement of goals and principles, a set of commitments to be undertaken by governments and final strategies for implementing the plan of action.

The goals and principles of the Agenda are given below:

· Equitable human settlements where all have equal access to housing, open space, health services and education, among others;

· Poverty eradication in the context of sustainable development;

· The importance to quality of life of physical conditions and spatial characteristics of villages, towns and cities;

· The need to strengthen the family as the basic unit of society;

· Citizens’ rights and responsibilities;

· Partnerships among all countries and among all sectors within countries;

· Solidarity with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;

· Increased financial resources;

· Health care, including reproductive health care and services to improve the quality of life.

Youth as leaders of tomorrow have a great role to play in achieving the above goals and objectives as set forth by the Habitat Agenda for Human Settlements.

This paper on “Youth Contributions to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda” is divided into five parts. In the first part we shall deal with the Youth situation in India as a whole with an analysis of demographic trends and the various problems faced by the youth in general in India. The second part deals exclusively with the policies concerning the youth and the various institutions and services that are offered to and are working for the youth at the national, local, and community levels. It shall look into the various services that are being implemented by the governments at the centre and state levels. The third part of the report covers specifically the contributions of youth towards the implementation of Habitat Agenda. Some of the work done by various organizations in the country towards providing housing and associated facilities to the people will be also dealt with in this part of the paper. The fourth part of this paper deals with monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of Habitat Agenda and lastly the final part shall present a vision for the coming years for better implementation of Habitat Agenda with the active participation of the youth and youth organizations. We shall consider ‘Youth’ people in the age group of 15 - 35 for the purpose of this paper.

1.1 Youth: Structure, Growth and Distribution

In India the people between the ages of 15-35 are considered as youth. There are various sub-groups: 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34: According to the 1981 census the number of youth in the various categories are given in the table:

Age group

Total number



15 - 19




20 - 24




25 - 29




30 - 34




The average proportion of youth in the total population is a little over 32%. The situation between the states varies.

Rural and Urban Youth

The dominance of rural youth by number is a striking feature of the distribution of the youth population. They constitute over 2.5 times the size of the urban youth. However it is equally significant that the rural-urban population of youth population shows a weak deviation from the picture of the general population distribution. In the total population of all ages, the rural people outnumber the urban by about 3.5 times. The rural youth who far outnumber their urban counterparts are scattered over a vast area.


Territorial distribution of population continuously undergoes changes because of migration. Migration in search of education or better occupation and better prospects or migration forced by deteriorating economic conditions and employment opportunities is an action primarily of the youth population. Youth continues to be the main migrating group and also the principal contributor to urbanization. In the process of urbanization, youth contribution has been substantial in the country.

Youth Categorization

Total youth population comprises of students, non-students of school age, main and marginal workers and non-workers. For a large proportion of youth, education in the sense of schooling is a luxury while employment for making a living is a necessity. Hence, a large number of youth in the crucial age of 15-19 is found in the work force instead of schools. Family farming and hereditary occupations encourage absorption of youth in the labour force while the absence of a compulsory system of schooling supports the situation. Over 26 million youth in the age group of 15-19 are either main or marginal workers while 1.5 million are illiterate urban workers according to the recent reports. There is non-availability of formal institutional education to a large portion of youth population and the possibility of entry into occupations without even elementary education.

Work Participation Rate

About 37% of the youth in the age group of 25-34 are engaged in agriculture - and allied activities as cultivators, agricultural labour or in livestock, forestry fishing, hunting etc. Young workers constitute the majority of marginal workers with the exception of livestock, forestry, fishing etc. in which youth share is a little below on half. In transport, storage and communication 69.73% and in construction 60.56% of marginal workers are between 15-34 years old. But on the whole agriculture and allied occupation absorb the largest number of youth as marginal workers. The work participation rate of the youth is rather low in India because of the mounting unemployment problems faced by the youth in the country. This is more acute in the case of rural areas as the problems of unemployment and underemployment are severe in rural areas.

Young Workers

For providing vocational training to young persons, specified industries and trades are governed by the Apprentices Act, 1961 which regulates training of apprentices above 14 years of age under a contract between the employer and the trainee or his guardian if the trainee is a minor.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions

According to 1991 census the total number of housing stock is 179.1 million, out of this 119.7 million are in rural areas and 59.4 are in urban areas. The estimated housing shortage is to the tune of 31 million, of these 20.6 million are in the rural areas. At the beginning of the 1991, the components of housing shortage are excess of households over houses, congestion, replacement/up-gradation and obsolescence/replacement. It was estimated that by 1997 the shortage of housing would be 21.23 million and of this 64% would be at the rural areas and 36% would be at the urban areas. According to 1991 census the occupied residential houses are to the tune of 143,191,338 and household number around 148,165,097. Out of these 41.61% live in Pucca (concrete built) houses, 30.95% live in semi-pucca houses and 27.44% live in Katcha (mud) houses. A total of 62.30% of the households have drinking water facility and 42.37% of the houses are electrified.

For the coming the years the country’s housing requirement is given in the table below.


Number of Units


16.76 millions


16.25 millions


33.01 millions

Thus the overall-housing situation in the country is not all that bright. However, the government with non-governmental organizations have taken a lot of initiatives in the direction of providing more houses to the homeless and the efforts are likely to bear fruits in the near future.

1.3 Problems Faced by Youth


One of the major problems faced by the youth in India is unemployment and related problems. According to latest available figures a total of about 31 million are non-workers in the age group of 25-34 comprising 22 million in rural and 9 million in urban areas, of these over 2 million are males and 30 million are females.


Every human being has a right to health - derived from his basic human right to life. The United Nations Economic and Social Council states it in a report in programmes for youth but this remains an ideal far removed from the reality. In India, health at no stage of life can be claimed as right. The youth in the country is faced with many health problems, which includes dreaded diseases like AIDS.

Lack of Educational Facilities

Though the country has a number of schools and educational institutions, still there are around 80 millions illiterates in the age group of 15-35. There is also the lack of skill development institutes in the country for the development of the youngsters.

Lack of Involvement in Decision Making

Though one third of the population is the youth, there is hardly any involvement of this segment of the population in decision making. Mostly the elders find the youth is lacking experience so they are not involved in decision making process in the country as whole. This is one of the major problems faced by youth. There are even national organizations in the country that claim that they are youth organizations. However, many of these organizations do not even a single youth either in their management or advisory bodies.

Drug Addition

Drug addition is a growing problem among the youth especially in the town areas. This has become a major problem and calls for action in the direction of channelling the energies of youth in a creative manner.

Youth and Crime

As their aspirations fail to match opportunities, youngsters across the country - some mere school children - take to murder and extortion as a shortcut to fulfil their craving for lavish life style. Criminologists have been hinting that the crime rate among the youth has skyrocketed. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest report states that young people are responsible for 56% of all crimes committed in the country. Youth crimes have increased by 40% in the past decade.

Thus the youth in India constitutes a sizeable number of the total population. In the day to day life they face a lot of problems which are related to employment, health, education, social and cultural problems etc. Other than this, since India is a multi-cultural country with a number of religions and languages and ways of life, the youth also face problems related to social harmony, integration, violence and hatred at some point of time. In certain parts of the country there is the acute problem of drug addiction, and health problems related to AIDS and other diseases.


2.1 Policies addressing the needs and issues of youth

When one evaluates the needs of youth, education, skill development, employment, personality development, adequate health care services, drug and de-addition centres, family planning services, forums for the expression of their creative instincts etc. come at the forefront.

India has formulated a national youth policy in the year 1988. The policy is rather comprehensive and speaks about the various aspects of youth. It says that youth in India constitute a vital and vibrant human resource, their problems are many and varied in nature.

The policy stresses the right of youth to participate actively in national development and in shaping the destiny of the Nation. It also gives due importance to the problems faced by the youth. The policy speaks about providing greater opportunities to the youth in a large scale. The policy calls for an integral and inter-disciplinary approach towards youth with the active involvement of all sectors of society including government, private sector undertakings, and non-governmental organizations.

The main objectives spelt out by the youth policy are given below:

· To instil in the youth a deep awareness of and respect for the principals and values enshrined in the constitution of the country.

· To promote among the youth awareness of the country’s historical background and cultural heritage.

· To help develop in the youth qualities of discipline, self-reliance, justice and fair play and a spirit of scientific temper.

· To provide maximum access to education and development of the youth personality as a whole.

· To create awareness about international issues and work for world peace.

The objective does not include the importance of working towards improvement of society by initiating various youth movement to remove the problems of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance and environmental problems and sustainable development including providing housing and related facilities to the people in need. The policy considers the youth as an object of the policy and not as subjects who could be actively involved in decision making and taking initiative for their varied needs and developmental issues.

The plan of action of the policy lays emphasis on the activities connected with national integrity, cultural unity, democratic values, socialism, and awareness of generation on freedom struggle, history, national integration, mass education, employment generation and self-employment activities, personality development and character building, promotion of physical fitness, social change, international understanding and rewarding voluntary agencies working in the field of youth development.

The plan of action does not say anything about how youth can contribute towards sustainable development, housing, environment promotion etc.

As far as the implementation of the policy and plan of action is concerned it is being carried out by the ministry of human resource development through the department of youth affairs and sports. Though one third of the population are the youth in the country, the youth activities and programmes are not managed by a full fledged ministry, but by a department of the ministry and this shows that the youth and their activities not being given enough priority by the government and hence the society at large.

The policy is comprehensive and deals with a wide variety of programmes of youth welfare and development and seeks to provide the youth with new opportunities to participate in nation-building activities. At the same time certain areas are not touched upon by the policy especially areas relating to environment improvement, sustainable housing facilities for all and the pivotal role that the youth can play in this.

The Government of India has constituted a Committee on National Youth Programmes (CONYP) as per the guidelines of the National Youth Policy. This Committee replaces the earlier National Youth Council. It has 56 members with the Prime Minister as its chairman. The functions of the Committee are to: i. Suggest policy measures and programmes for youth, ii. Advise Government on measures for implementation of the Plan of Action of the National Youth Policy; iii. Review the co-ordination between various departments of the Central/state governments and voluntary organizations/other agencies involved therein; and iv. Provide a feedback on the implementation of the national youth programmes.

Apart from the National Youth Policy, the national educational policy also stresses the need for education and skill development of the youth. The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 accorded high priority to vocational education at the secondary stage. The NPE as revised in 1992 set the target of achieving diversion of 10 per cent of the students at the +2 level to the vocational stream in 1995 and 25 per cent by 2000 A.D. About 150 vocational courses have been introduced in six major areas, i.e. agriculture, business and commerce, engineering and technology, health and paramedical, home science, humanities and others and 94 vocational courses have been notified under Apprenticeship Act.

A joint Council for Vocational Education (JCVE) was set up in April 1990 for policy formulation and co-ordination at the national level. Other than these the education for the youth in the country is imparted mainly by the university grant commission with its network of universities and colleges all over the country.

Another aspect of the educational policy is the establishment of National Literacy Mission with its objective of imparting functional literacy to 80 millions youngsters in the age group of 15-35. The most important development that has taken place under the NLM is the near ascendancy of the campaign mode in the adult education programmes in the country.

The deterioration of the natural environment is one of the principal concerns of young people world wide, as it has direct implications for their well being now and in the future. Though it is the responsibility of everyone to promote environment, it is the special responsibility of youth because they will be the ones who inherit it. The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development adopted by the Government of India in June 1992, lays down strategies and actions for integration of environment considerations in the development activities of various sectors of the country, thus paving the way for achieving sustainable development. However, the policy does not give any special emphasis on the role of youth in this regard.

Another policy that is connected to environmental promotion is the policy on forest. The main plank of the Forest Policy of 1988 is protection, conservation and development of forest. In the implementation of the forest policy too, the youth who are supposed to play pivotal role in the promotion of the forest and related aspects, have not been given any role.

Draft New Youth Policy

Because of the fast changing socio-economic scenario in the country and also to address the future concerns of youth a need was felt for a new National Youth Policy. Therefore, a new draft youth policy was prepared and is under active consideration by the Government.

The salient features of the Draft New Youth Policy in India are given below:

It calls for an integrated approach to youth development as youth development is considered a multi-sectoral concept. It speaks about involving the youth in the process of decision making and implementation. Apart from these, it also defines the privileges and responsibilities of youth.

The major objectives of the policy are to provide the youth with proper educational and employment opportunities, to give access to all relevant information, create adequate sports and other recreational facilities; to create among the youth awareness about Indian history, culture and heritage and to inculcate a scientific temper in them. The draft policy has set out four thrust areas namely: Youth Empowerment, Gender Justice, Inter-spectral Approach and an Information and Research Network.

The Policy recognizes the key sectors of concern for youth, such as Education, Training and Employment, Health and accords high priority to certain categories of youth such as, youth with disabilities, rural youth, unemployed youth and street children etc. Besides Education, Employment, and Health, the policy also focuses on Adolescent Health, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Nutrition, Environment, Sports, Recreation and Leisure, Art and Culture, Gender Justice, Science and Technology, Civics and Citizenship.

However, the draft policy does not speak about the role of youth in implementing the Habitat Agenda. This only shows that at the government and policy-makers level the role of youth in implementing the Habitat Agenda has not been considered at all.

The various National Youth Programmes and services provided to youth are given below:

National Service Scheme (NSS)


In India, the idea of involving student youth in the task of national service dates back to the times of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. The cultural theme, which he tried to impress upon his student audience time and again, was that they should always keep in mind their social responsibility. The post-independence era was marked by an urge for introducing social service for students, the university grand commission headed by Dr. Radhakrishna recommended introduction of national service in the academic institutes on a voluntary basis with a view to establishing a constructive linkage between the campus and the community.

The main principle of the programme is that it is organised by the students themselves and both students and teachers through their participation in social service get a sense of involvement in the tasks of national development. Besides, the student youth particularly obtain work experience.

The response of students to the scheme has been encouraging, starting with an enrolment of 40,000 students in 1969, which increased to 1.2 million during 1995-96. The scheme now extends to all the students and universities in the country and covers +2 level also in many states.


The overcall aim of National Service Scheme is to give a wider dimension to the higher education system and orient the student youth to community service while they are studying in educational institutions. It was felt that the youth interaction with the common villagers and slum dwellers will expose them to the realities of life and bring about a change in their social perception. The objectives of the NSS for students are to:

· Understand the community in which they work.

· Understand themselves in relation to their community.

· Identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in problem solving process.

· Develop in them a sense of social and civil responsibility.

· Utilise their knowledge in funding practical solutions to individual and community problems.

· Develop competence required for living as a group and sharing responsibilities.

· Gain skills in mobilising community participation.

· Acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude.

· Develop capacity to meet emergencies and national disasters.

· Practice national integration and social harmony.

· Making education more relevant to the present situation to meet the need of the community and supplement the education of the university.

· Providing opportunities to the students to play their role in planning and executing development projects.

· To encourage students and non-students to work together along with the adults on rural areas.

· Developing qualities of leadership among the youth.

· To encourage the youth to participate in the national development and integration.

Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYKs)

The Nehru Yuva Kendras was established in 1972 with the objective of providing the non-student rural youth with an opportunity to grow and to achieve national goals. The largest grass-root level organization of its kind in the world, NYKs reaches to more than 6.4 million non student rural youth in India in the age group of 15-35 years, through its 0.16 million village level youth clubs.

The Organization’s strategy has been generation of awareness, organization and mobilisation of the youth for development work in the village, with emphasis on value, vision and voluntary action.

The goals of NYKs are:

· To involve the rural youth in nation building activities.

· To develop their values and skills so that they became productive, responsible citizens of a modern, technological nation.

· To work towards promoting an environment where all irrespective of caste, colour, sex or religion find equal opportunity to serve the nation.

· To pursue self-sufficiency in resources.

· To utilise the NYKs network for the development and promotion of programmes in the priority sectors of employment generation, literacy and family welfare especially for women.


NYKs promotes leadership, character development, community service, self-reliance, secularism, democracy and patriotism as the essential features for national development. The organization conducts various programmes aimed at mobilising the youth in this direction.

Training and Self Employment project

The objective of self-employment is to equip the youth with income generating agro-based projects, which are based on locally available resources, and making avenues. Training is organised in trades popular among the rural youth such as poultry, bee keeping, agriculture, rabbit farming etc.

Youth Club Development Programme

To promote and develop youth club movement in the country, NYKs organises youth club Development programmes in the country. In the year 1998-99 the NYKs organised 676 such programmes. One of the objectives of the programme is to train and equip youth with democratic leadership qualities so that they can assume responsibilities in village situation and act as catalytic agents for socio-economic, cultural, political and surrounding environmental development.

Cultural Activities

Cultural festivals and workshops form a regular feature of Kendra (Centre) all over the country. While cultural activities are meant to provide a forum for all interested members who have the necessary potential to give public performance, the cultural workshop aim at improving the quality of performance. The programmes include street plays, skits, folk songs, and puppetry. The themes taken up for the festivals are aimed at creating awareness regarding social evils, literacy, exploitation, integration and harmony etc.

Work Camps

Work Camps are organised to inspire the youth and compliment self-employment generating ventures. The camps encourage the spirit of self-help, and assist in the creation and sustenance of community assets through co-operative service.

Vocational Training

The principal objective of their programmes is to update and improve vocational skills of the rural youth so that they may supplement their existing income, improve productivity and learn new skills that are in demand. The training includes both technical and non-technical skills.

Campaigns and Drives on Special Awareness

The objective of the campaigns is to generate awareness among the rural youth on issues of local importance, and about national problems affecting them. Each district level NYK takes up one social campaign per block every year. The theme of the campaign is selected according to the need of the district.

Local Need-based Programmes

The Programmes aim to boost decentralised planning and also to encourage micro-level planning, based on the assessment of the needs of the non-student rural youth. The programme also attempts to evolve role models for self-employment.

Youth Development Centre

The scheme is initiated to widen the scope of NYKs activities. The major objective of the scheme is to develop community infrastructure in a cluster of 10 villages, in the form of a centre for social, cultural, political, economic and environmental development of each village. So far the organization has established 522 youth development centres in different parts of the country.

National Service Volunteer Scheme

The National Service Volunteer Scheme was started in 1977-78 with the objective of providing opportunity to the youth, particularly those who completed their first-degree course for full-time involvement on a voluntary basis, in nation-building activities for a specific period. It seeks to provide the youth avenues to creative and constructive work suited to their educational background and aptitudes. At present, 8500 NSVs are deployed with the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, National Service Scheme, Bharat Scouts & Guides, Youth Hotels Association of India etc. The various State Governments/Union Territories are also availing of the services of these volunteers.

Youth Hostels

Youth Hostels are built to promote youth travel within the country. The construction of such hostels has been conceived as a joint venture between the central and state governments. Apart from providing accommodation facilities for the youth these hostels also organise various programmes for the welfare and development of the youth in each of the districts.

Scouting and Guiding

Scouting and Guiding is an educational and international movement aiming at developing the character of boys and girls, developing them as citizens of the country and inculcating in them a spirit of patriotism, sympathy for others and social service. Scouting and guiding also promotes balanced physical and mental development.

The organization mainly promoting these activities in India is Bharat Scouts and Guides to which the Department of Youth Affairs extends financial assistance both towards administrative expenditure and activities viz. training camps, skills, developing & holding of Jamborees. It is one of the largest youth organizations having 2.3 million enrolment and the third largest in the world with about 85,000 units spread all over the country. These units conduct their activities in the areas of adult literacy, tree plantation, community service, leprosy awareness, crafts’ centres and promotion of hygiene and sanitation. Bharat Scouts & Guides is also associated with various programmes run by WHO and UNICEF in different fields. The other organization active in this field is All India Boy Scouts Association.

2.2 Youth related organizations and institutions

There are a number of youth related organization in the country. They include among others the government organizations, non-governmental organizations, local and community based organizations at the grass root level. For the purpose of this report we would like to give a brief account of some of these organizations to have an idea about the type of organizations related to youth in the country.


At the government level, the ministry of Human Resource Development looks after the Youth and various services for them. Under the ministry, the department of Youth Affairs and Sports is directly responsible for the implementation of the various policies and programmes for youth. A minister of state normally looks after the department headed by a secretary in the administrative line. The above detailed programmes including NSS, NYKS etc. are run by government.

At the state level also there is ministry of youth affairs and sports, which looks after the youth welfare services and developmental activities.

Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development

The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development set up at Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) functions as an apex body for co-ordinating and monitoring youth related activities throughout the country. The Institute functions as an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act. Its objectives are training, documentation, research and evaluation work on all youth related activities in the country. The institute also functions as a research agency and think-tank for youth programmes, policies and implementation strategies, development agency for youth development, an institute for advanced studies in the field of youth, a centre for documentation, information and publication pertaining to youth development; and a resource centre.

During the last year the various programmes organised by the institute include among others a workshop on youth related issues for student youth, training programme on “Youth Entrepreneurship and Economic Development” for youth functionaries, programme on development management, initiation of work for the preparation of CD-ROM on youth profile, Environmental youth services programme, Programme on Human Rights and Democracy etc.

Non Governmental Organizations

There are some non-governmental organizations highly involved in youth developmental activities. Some of these are network organizations while some others work at the national level co-ordinating and training other smaller organizations at the state and community level. These organizations include the Indian Committee for Youth Organizations, which is the national body of Youth associations in India. There are also a number of other state level and regional level youth organizations that are basically youth related and carry out youth activities. The exact number and other details of these organizations are not available. However some of these organizations are involved in trying to solve many of the problems faced by the young people. The areas they work include health improvement, environment development, employment creation and related activities, training and educational activities, entrepreneurship development programmes etc. They are also into training and developmental activities including training on gender awareness, women development etc.

Community-Based Organizations

Apart from the non-governmental organizations that focus on youth development and welfare, there are other organizations at the community level, like the village youth clubs, young women groups etc., that are very active at the village level. Some of the activities that are being carried out by them include library facilities, reading rooms, entertainment facilities for the local youth etc. At the school level also, there is the existence of a number of groups for the development of youth by promoting extra-curricular activities in the areas of cultural development, environmental activities etc. They work for education, skill development, employment generation programmes, gender related training and development programmes, and awareness creation and in various health issues.


Though there are no organised efforts by youth organizations in the country for the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda, in the process of carrying out certain activities youth organizations have contributed to the implementation of Habitat Agenda. At the local level many of the educational institutions have taken initiatives in organising awareness programmes and camps for the improvement of environment, health related issues, communication, employment generation and so on. These programmes have succeeded to an extent in raising the level of awareness among the people. Through the initiatives of the local clubs and young women’s group a number activities related to gender sensitisation has taken place in some of the states in the country. We will give a few examples below as documentation is not available on all the organizations involved in such works.

Association for Social Health and Rehabilitative Action by Youth (Ashray)

Ashray started in 1990 in New Delhi with the basic objective of working for the welfare and overall development of less fortunate - economically poor people. It was started by a handful of Social Work Professionals for the above objective. The organization aims to help urban and rural poor in getting essential services such as health and nutrition, education, income generation and housing.

One of the activities that is being carried out by this organization is that of providing counselling for the people affected with family problems, drug addiction and behavioural problems. Their target group is the people living in slum clusters adjacent to New Delhi Railway station. Apart form the counselling centre it also organises seminars, workshops etc. for the people, training of grass-root level workers in the field of education, nutrition, and health and community awareness. The association has set up a number of childcare centres and women development centres to provide services like education, health etc. In the slum cluster the organization also runs vocational training and production centres.

West Dinajpur Adibasi Recreation Club (WDARC)

West Dinajpur Adibasi Recreation Club, established in 1989 in Balurghat, West Bengal is a sporting club for tribal youth. Feeling the need to develop their own community, the work extended to development. With a team of tribal women trained as animators and health workers, it works in 60 villages. In 1997, the women’s group continued with the savings programme of “fistful of rice a day” from which small loans are taken for emergency needs. The groups have opened accounts. WDARC has provided loans to the women’s groups for income generation programmes such as piggeries, goateries, and the purchase of land for agriculture production and paddy husking. Primary schools for children and literacy classes for women were also conducted. This is another local level initiative by the youth for the implementation of Habitat Agenda, especially in the area of income and employment generation.

Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST)

Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is one of the organizations associated with the Confederation of Indian Industries which is involved in the area of entrepreneurship development activities for the last few years in the various parts of the country. So far the organization has managed to train a number of young entrepreneurs. The organization also supports the young people with initial capital investment and also by providing mentors.

The growth of Mr. Ram Sarup (not the real name) is one of the fitting examples of the work done by the Trust in the various parts of the country. This case shows how the organization works for the development of entrepreneurship development among the youth in the country. This is one of the innovative programmes in this direction in the country

Case study: A young entrepreneur from Seekri Village started out as a manual labourer in a manhole-manufacturing unit with a dream of owning such a venture one day. Survival and sustenance factors and lack of access to funds forced him to keep his dreams under wraps - but not for too long. He approached BYST through a few friends in Seekri.

BYST provided him two loans of Rs.22,000/- and Rs.28,000 in 1995 and 1997 respectively, and the guidance of a mentor who was the managing director of a small firm for reinforced concrete products. With a turnover of Rs.1.77 million and employment of 9 people full time and 15 on contract basis, he has finally arrived on the scene. He was provided expert guidance by his mentor who, himself being an entrepreneur, was able to empathise and advise him on quality control, customer relations and finance management. He also got a lot of help from the Mobile Mentor Clinic - a novel concept of taking a group of mentors to the doorstep of the entrepreneurs. Today this young man has realised his dream and he owes it all to the collective effort and wisdom of his mentors.

Development Alternatives

Another organization, which is working for the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda, is Development Alternatives. It was established in 1983 to provide a platform for designing and implementing sustainable development strategies. Headquartered in New Delhi, it has built up a nation-wide network of activities aimed directly at solving the problems of poverty, environment and resource management.

The organization has a number of units and one of them is for Shelter Group. The Shelter Group of Development Alternatives has achieved considerable success in its effort to re-popularise the ‘mud alternative’ as a time tested and appropriate solution to the housing problem in India. By developing a new mechanical press with an ultra-high mechanical advantage, the Shelter Group has been able to introduce mud-blocks as a viable alternative to baked bricks for the building of walls and other load bearing structures.

Half a dozen new tiles and sheets based on biomass, micro concrete fired clay and other easily available village resources are being intensively tested to solve the most intractable problem of low cost construction: the roof. New materials and building techniques are only one part of the solution to the housing needs of the poor; architectural and civil design, policy interventions, building codes and standards, delivery systems and other infrastructure requirements of low cost housing are also addressed by the Shelter Group. Other than Shelter Group it has a number of other units which include units on environment, women and sustainable development, water etc.

The organization set up Delhi Environment Action Network in 1996 for children to assess the environmental conditions on a continuous basis and mobilise communities to initiate activities for clean neighbourhoods. It aims to involve children as prime movers for catalysing community participation and to nurture responsible citizenship among the people. The programme helps the schools by enhancing the analytical and communication skills of children, helps to nurture future decision-makers for sustainable development. It helps the communities to initiate and build up environment protection measures on a continuous basis at the local level.

Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram

The Ashram had its humble beginning in 1970 in a dilapidated old house at Joura, in Madhya Pradesh (one of the central states of India) on Gandhi Jayanti (birthday). From its very inception, the Ashram had one point - it was always the youth that take to the wretched job of becoming dacoits - it was often against some act of exploitation, injustice etc. Hence it was youth of the area that required orientation to systematically organise against such wrongs in society.

The Ashram began organising camps in the villages. Apart from discussions, a major programme of such camps used to be community manual work and afterwards games, all religion prayers, cultural programmes etc. They have helped to create a constructive atmosphere. The Ashram sponsored a national level youth programme called National Youth Project that conducts camps all over India.

The programmes and activities of the Ashram have helped the youth to come to know others and interact with other cultures and settings. In a way it has contributed to Habitat Agenda by creating a spirit of brotherhood among the various sections of the community. Through its activities like the building of roads and other voluntary work it has contributed to the implementation of Habitat Agenda.

Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

Young Women’s Christian Association is one of the rare multi-purpose women organizations working for the young women in the country. It has a number of such organizations all over India. A look at its Delhi Branch’s activities gives us a taste of the various activities carried out by the organization in various parts of the country.

YWCA runs a number of programmes in Delhi, which include the urban development project, the rural development project, Hostel for working women, Family hotel, Women’s Training Institute, fund raising activities etc. Most famous among these programmes is that of Educational Services under the Women Training Institute offered by the Centre. It offers a number of varied professional courses to young women. These programmes and courses aim at skill development of the youngsters. They provide an opportunity for the youngsters to get professionally qualified to get absorbed in the industrial and service sectors. Some of these programmes are specially designed to suit the special needs of young women.

The Urban Development Project of YWCA of Delhi has been involved in designing and implementing appropriate programmes for the benefit of the urban weaker sections. The main focus of the programmes is the city slums and the resettlement colonies. The services provided under this project include shelter home - provides a secure and caring environment for women in distress. A network of legal, medical, psychiatric and police assistance and assurance of continued support is provided.

Milan Mahila Mandal is another socio-economic development programme where women of low-income group make and sell stationary through a registered co-operative society. The urban development project is also actively involved with other women’s organizations working towards the common goals of gender justice, empowerment of women for leadership, working together for achievement of peace, justice and unity, and economic independence of women. It also has a similar rural development project specially targeted to rural areas of Delhi.

Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO)

The Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to developing mutual co-operation and understanding among the different voluntary youth agencies, organizations, associations, groups and clubs that function in India. The objective of ICYO is to strengthen the existing youth agencies and foster the development of new agencies in the areas of youth mobilisation for environmental preservation, rural community development, health, population, training, and cultural and national development. ICYO network (of 350 youth NGOs) is recognised by various international bodies apart from accreditation in various international conferences e.g. Earth Summit, ICPD, Social Summit, Consultative (roster) Status with ECOSOC-UN, Consultative Status with Commission on Sustainable Development etc. Another important area where the organization is actively involved is information sharing and networking with other national and international agencies.

Role of Youth in Co-operative Housing

The youngsters run some of the co-operative organizations in India. One of the main areas in which these organizations are involved is housing, as co-operative housing is the most effective and powerful medium for promoting affordable housing, particularly for the low-income groups and economically weaker sections. The modern concept of housing does not limit the scope of housing to provision of shelter alone, but a comfortable shelter with such surroundings and services as would keep a man healthy and cheerful. Housing co-operatives not only provide shelter to member families, but also promote the neighbourhood and provide opportunity for collective actions for various social and economic gains of the community.

The national habitat policy has realised the importance of co-operative societies and has asked them to build a hundred thousand houses per year. The policy specifically states that housing co-operatives should be given preference over individuals in the area of housing. At present, co-operative housing movement in India is quite strong and well spread. At grassroots level, there are 90,000 primary co-operatives housing societies, with a membership of over 6 million. These primary societies are supported by the apex bodies of the co-operative societies.

As a result of the housing shortage faced by the rural population, housing co-operatives have also entered into rural areas. Thus a number of rural housing schemes were introduced in the rural area by the Apex housing federations in the states of Assam, Goa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. At present around 4,200 housing co-operatives affiliated to apex co-operative housing federations are functioning in rural areas of the country.

Vishwa Yuvak Kendra (International Youth Centre)

A pioneering organization in the field of youth development, the centre was set up with a view to orient the youth to the development process and to enable them to participate in the process of nation building; foster initiatives for unfolding the potential of youth through a constant process of self-evaluation and self-exploration, enable youth to acquire such knowledge, skills and techniques which will help them in their personal and social growth as well as foster in them a sensitivity towards problems in the community and promote national integration and international understanding by developing youth leadership and providing a forum for youth from diverse backgrounds.

The youth centre was started in the year 1968. From then on the organization has been doing a lot for the development of youth. Its programmes are centred around various training programmes, conferences, seminars, lectures, exhibitions, and cultural programmes. It claims to have hosted around 1,000 such programmes benefiting around 70,000 individuals. These forums have provided a means for holding discussions on a broad spectrum of issues including rural development, health, communication, religion, social problems, education, and leadership enhancement. Apart from the training activities the centre is also involved in research, publication and consultancy etc. on the youth related projects and activities in the national level.

Indian Building Centre Movement

The Government of India has taken a major initiative for establishing a new movement in the country through the birth of the Building Centre Movement as a grassroots level technology transfer mechanism for taking the benefits of research and development for actual application in the building construction field. With the first seed planted in 1986 through the Pioneering Nirmithi Kendra (Building Centre) at Quilon, in the State of Kerala and with the successful working results, the Govt. of India and Ministry of Urban Development have launched in 1988 the national Building Centre Movement. This provided for establishing a network of building centres (Nirmithi Kendra/Nirman Kendra), and implemented through logistic support of HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation), all over the country, with at least one building centre to be established in each district, with a view to ensure:

· Technology transfer from “lab to land”.

· Skill upgrading and training to the construction workers at various levels.

· Production of material components using appropriate technologies.

· Construction of housing and building using the trained work force and the produced components as a cost effective building system.

· Giving the necessary housing guidance, information and counselling to the people on the proven innovative, cost effective and appropriate building materials and technology options.

The movement launched in 1988 has now developed into an impressive national network with over 482 Building Centres located along the length and breadth of the country. Over the years it has blossomed into a Government-supported programme for establishing a national network in all districts of the country. Each of these centres is engaged in promotion and transfer of the cost effective technologies from ‘lab’ to land, skill upgrading and training to construction workers on cost effective and innovative technologies, production and marketing of building materials and components. These centres are functioning as guiding organizations to small grass-root organizations and individual social entrepreneurs.

The major areas of impact of the building centre movement are given below:

· Fully functional building centres have been able to demonstrate cost reduction of 15 to 40 per cent against conventional methods of construction.

· This has been demonstrated in construction of houses as well as other social and community assets, amenities and facilities.

· The building centres have trained over 64,000 construction artisans.

· In addition training programmes for young prospective project managers are organised on a continuous basis.

Mobile building Centres

Another initiative to take care of far-flung areas in deserts and hilly terrain is through the establishment of Mobile Building Centres which can move from one village to another, camp for a few days, impart the necessary technology exposition and training to the local rural community, spearheaded through one local artisan identified as a resource person for the same.

Housing through People’s Federation

Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation is a grassroots action agency managed by a group of youngsters, working with poor communities in Madurai village district of Tamilnadu and Chittor and Adilabad districts of Adhara Pradesh. It was established in the year 1997.

DHAN’s activity focuses on promoting livelihood activities and promoting and strengthening credit unions especially among the women members. It enables the communities to build with their skills, initiative, resources and entitlements rather than delivering servicing or solutions to them.

Housing for Urban Poor through Community Action

As part of poverty alleviation efforts, the Government of Kerala is implementing a housing scheme for urban poor with financial assistance from housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). By this, a hundred thousand houses will be constructed by community action through the network of Community Development Societies (CDS) (most of the members are youngsters) of poor women established under Urban Local Bodies of the State.

HUDCO is extending a loan amount of Rs.15,000/- per house at 9% interest, repayable in 15 years. Loans are disbursed through Kerala Urban Development Finance Corporation to the Municipal CDS who identify the beneficiary families through Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs). In this scheme of a hundred thousand houses for Urban Poor, Rs.5,000/- is given as subsidy by Government, and Rs.2,500/- is taken by the beneficiary families by way of materials or labour. As part of the scheme, beneficiary families have to save and invest Rs.1,500/- in the HUDCO public deposit scheme, which will multiply 8 times in 15 years. This also ensures added financial security for the families.

The CDS system is based on the application of the practical strategy of organising women representing their families, to utilise the creative power of women’s groups to work by self help to improve the quality of life of their own poverty stricken families. Since the CDS are established as the legitimised subsystem of local bodies, imputes and services of antipoverty programmes of other government departments and agencies can be converged to the target families at community level.

Thus, without proper planing and awareness of the importance of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, youth and related organizations are doing some work taking up certain interventions in the communities. However, with a proper vision and mechanism the youth can become effective agents for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.


Monitoring and evaluation is very much part of any of the programmes designed for implementation. Monitoring helps the programmes to be implemented timely and according to requirement and changed situation at the time of execution.

At the governmental level housing is a state subject and it is the various states that monitor and evaluate the implementation of the housing policy of the government. However, all policy matters are managed by the central government. The Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment has certain responsibilities to see that the policy of the government is properly implemented especially in the urban areas.

Youth related activities at the government level are managed, monitored and evaluated by the department of Youth Affairs and Sports. Under the department various programmes and projects are looked after by separate organizations but co-ordinated by the department. The Nehru Yuva Kendras are managed by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan an autonomous body attached to the department of Youth Affairs. The Sangathan is governed by a board of governors and has various directors and managers to carry out the various activities. The entire gamut of collection of information, documentation and evaluation is done by the agency itself. Often the organization also uses the specialized services of professional.

The National Service Scheme managed directly by the department of Youth Affairs and National Advisor to give direction and has 15 regional centres to implement, monitor and evaluate the programme.

For better implementation of Habitat Agenda there should be some mechanism for the collection of data regarding various Habitat programmes and services as a whole. These data thus generated should be shared with other organizations and groups so that there would be greater and concerted efforts in the direction of providing safe housing facilities to all with other aspects like educational facilities, health care facilities, employment facilities etc. This should be done by intense networking by the youth organizations and individuals who are highly motivated by the cause.

Another area where action is needed is with regard to development of indicators. Any programme to be effectively evaluated should have indicators. What are the indicators against which the youth contribution towards the implementation of Habitat Agenda can be evaluated? Some of these could include awareness level of youth on the issue of Habitat, the number of youth organizations who are involved in such activities, the interest in the part of the general public on the issue, the networking that is existing in a particular place with regard to the same etc.

In the present situation, there is no agency responsible for the identification and documentation of the best practices that are found on the process of the work done for the implementation of Habitat Agenda. To this end there is a need to have a national secretariat with sufficient staff and resources in order to effectively carry out the proper documentation of best practices found in the sector. This secretariat could as well carry out the other aspects like documenting and reporting, and also for liaison at the national and at the international level including the working with the UN agencies. Apart from this, the proposed mechanism could co-ordinate all the youth activities related to habitat and implementation of the agenda. The mechanism could act also as a focal point and as nodal agency for further studies, further activities etc.


As a whole there has been a certain amount of involvement of the youth and youth agencies in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. However, there was total lack of concerted effort on the part of UN agencies, non-governmental agencies and even governmental agencies in the point of implementation of Habitat Agenda.

As mentioned in the third part of the report some of the youth related organizations have taken initiatives in providing cost effective materials for construction activities for low cost housing. These activities could be replicated in other parts of the world, as this will give a fresh impetus to the implementation of Habitat Agenda.

Another programme that could be replicated in other parts of the world is that of entrepreneurship development programmes for the youth. This has helped in creating more employment opportunities for the youngsters and thus making the locality a better place to live in. However, there is a greater need for innovation on the part of the organizations so that their programmes will support sustainable development as well.

As seen from the pages above, there are a number of youth organizations both governmental and non-governmental, which would be in a position to mobilise the youth for the implementation of Habitat Agenda. The government initiatives like the National Service Scheme for the student youth and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan for rural youth have a wide network of youth centres and resources available with them. They could be agents in participating in the effective and time bound implementation of the agenda. In the non-governmental sector there are organizations like the Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO), National Council of YMCA etc. which can effectively mobilise the youth for the purpose.

In the past, it was an effort at random by the youth and youth organizations. The vision for the future calls for a planned and systematic effort on the part of the youth organizations in the direction of effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This calls for a mechanism to be developed in each of the countries with a central agency co-ordinating all the work concerned with the implementation of Habitat Agenda. This agency can be the nodal agency for Youth for Habitat International Network. The agency should have proper documentation and should be staffed fully with qualified and professional staff to take care of the various activities that are required to create that momentum among the young people for the effective and speeder implementation of the agenda.

It has been found that many of the youth organizations are not even aware of the Habitat Agenda and its implications for them. Hence there is a great need to create awareness among the youth organizations. This awareness, together with networking and fund raising activities for the purpose of the implementation of Habitat Agenda is likely to bring about a perceptive change in the scenario in the area of habitat in the country. The effective use of media is one of the many ways to achieve this end.

In conclusion one can say that the contribution of youth towards the implementation of the agenda has been partial. One of the reasons for this could be that among youth organization, there was total lack of networking and co-ordination on the issue. However, there are individual organizations that have done outstanding contributions towards this end.


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