Shillong: Meghalaya cabinet on Monday approved the Meghalaya Youth Policy 2021, which aims to create a pathway for the youths in achieving their fullest potential and becoming engaged, skilled, creative, responsible, and empowered members of the state and country.

Meghalaya currently doesn’t have any policy for the youths, hence, the state government needed a policy.

According to Meghalaya chief minister, 31% of the state’s population falls in the 15-29 years age group. “It was necessary for the govt to come up with a clear policy on how we plan to channelise the energy of these youths so that they can work constructively. It is a very detailed policy, and the policy will be notified by the government very soon,” informed Sangma.

Drafted by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Government of Meghalaya, the policy is in sync with the government’s vision for the state to transform Meghalaya to be amongst the top 10 states in 10 years in GSDP per capita and SDG ranking.

The policy aims to address major issues and concerns of the youth based on nine identified key thrust areas that include Education, Health & Wellbeing, Counselling & Mentoring, Employment Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Sports, Cultural & creative industries, Engagement & Leadership, Inclusion and Environmental Consciousness.

The policy is very much action-oriented, it has planned implementation of 45 programs that would be measured by 54 performance monitoring indicators. These performance indicators have been mapped to 10 departments and are planned to measure quarterly, bi-annually and annually.

Informing about the policy, Sangma said, “Our country is passing through a demographic transition with the young populace becoming the dominant segment of the society. Youth constitute a major portion of the society with the enormous potential to contribute to the state’s GDP. We are happy to announce Meghalaya’s Youth Policy 2021 that provides a systematic framework for youth engagement and provides equal opportunities to all young men and women for their socio-economic development, and in turn, contribute to enhancing the per capita income of the state and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the state.”

The implementation and success of the policy are based on various performance indicators under each thrust area that includes infrastructure creation and up gradation, human resource development, awareness campaigns implemented and other parameters. The structure of this policy is based on a result-oriented approach that will be driven by various departments and will be evaluated in a time-bound manner quarterly, biannually and annually.

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Banteidor Lyngdoh, said, “Meghalaya Youth Policy 2021 is our endeavour to provide a concrete and progressive framework, that addresses the current issues, challenges and concerns of our youth towards their growth and development. We have framed this policy to provide a holistic approach to engaging youth in development activities, thus, in turn, channelising their energy positively. The policy has nine thrust areas with specific programs under each area.”

The policy includes planned interventions covering the lifecycle of youth in its entirety that includes early childhood interventions implemented through various plans and policies like Early Childhood Education Mission, Meghalaya School Improvement Plan (MSIP), Health up-gradation programs like FIT India, sports infrastructure up-gradation, setup academies of excellence in the area of arts and culture, and recognition of key achievements in sports, arts, and culture.

As per the latest estimates, Meghalaya has a population of approx. 38.29 lakh people, of which over 74% per cent i.e. 28.48 lakhs are under the age of 35 years. While the primary focus remains on youth (belonging to ages of 15- 29 years), critical issues and programs relating to the age group of 5-14 years will also be emphasized and made part of the overall youth development framework.

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