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International Youth Day: ‘Development and wellbeing of India’s youth is the need of the hour’

India must ensure a healthy young population by improving access to adolescent-friendly healthcare facilities, gainful employment and nutrition, said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of Population Foundation of India.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 13, 2021 10:12:50 am
Women are turning to online education at higher rates than pre-pandemic. File.

As International Youth Day is observed today (August 12), there is a need to focus on overcoming the key barriers to young people’s wellbeing posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. With some states poised to re-open schools and colleges in the coming weeks, we must address the challenges young people are facing and help them navigate through these extraordinary circumstances, said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of Population Foundation of India, in a statement.

“There is global evidence to suggest that adolescents of varying backgrounds have experienced higher than usual rates of anxiety, depression, and stress due to the pandemic, stemming from uncertainties about their family’s economic security, stressful life events, extended home confinement, and the overuse of social media. A well-nourished, healthy, skilled cohort of adolescents and young people is only possible if high-quality health services, education, and skills programmes are made available,” said Muttreja.

“India must ensure a healthy young population by improving access to adolescent-friendly healthcare facilities, gainful employment and nutrition. Efforts must be made to advance gender equality initiatives, which promote the value of the girl child. Most importantly, it is time that we include the voices of young people in decision making and formulating youth-appropriate policies and programmes,” he said.

“As we celebrate 75 years of India’s Independence on August 15 this year, we must use this opportunity to urge key stakeholders to join the movement to safeguard adolescent health and wellbeing as a critical step to achieving the sustainable development goals. A call to action by the Prime Minister will provide a real impetus for a movement that has the potential to fulfil the aspirations of India’s 365 million adolescents and young people,” Muttreja said.

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