India should be a developed country by 2047, and a large part of the responsibility for taking the country there rests with its youth, Union education, skill development and entrepreneurship minister Dharmendra Pradhan told a rapt audience that had turned up in New Delhi on Monday to felicitate the #Unstoppable21 – 21 Indian prodigies under 21 who have made their mark on a global scale.
“You will earn your honour when the country achieves greatness and with contributions like this it is on that path,” the minister said, recounting some recent ‘India moments’ – like supplying Covid vaccines to the whole world or landing Chandrayan 3 on the moon’s south pole.
“I remember a feudal fascist group who said that the colour of Indians’ skin is black and they don’t have the mental strength to decide for themselves. This was mentioned in Macaulay’s Minute on Education in 1835. Now, when India is observing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, a man of Indian origin took over as the prime minister of those who ruled us for 250 years. And just a few months ago India surpassed the UK to become the fifth largest economy,” Pradhan said.
He said one of the lasting images of the G20 and India’s relevance in the global order has been the homage paid to Mahatma Gandhi by the world leaders and the inclusion of African Union as a permanent member. “Earlier, the Indian PM had to wait in a room outside to meet the President of the USA. On the second day of G20, PM (Modi) got all the world leaders to pay their homage at the Samadhi Sthal of Bapuji (Mahatma Gandhi).”
Speaking of ‘India Moments’, he cited the 7% increase in the workforce aged 15-59 who are participating in the labour market now. And there is a significant increase in women’s participation. “Previously, out of 100, only 23 were women in the workforce. Today it is 37. This is why we say hum honge kamyab. We will show the world, but in our own way – like the way we sent vaccines and food to other countries – that it is the responsibility of India to care for the poor of the world and that is what India’s Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is, and this is what we call the ‘India Moment’.”
Speaking about the demographic dividend, and the 40 crore Indians in the age group of 15 to 29, Pradhan said: “These are the amazing people. Add another six years to this population and this is India’s demographic dividend.”
And the minister’s message to the new generation: “Along with India’s achievements, you also have a responsibility today. In the next 24 years, along with AI, which will be at its peak, and Indians’ human intelligence and with the 21 Unstoppables, we are sowing the seeds of a new India.”