India is a young nation going by the Census Report, 2011 were youth (between ages 10-24) constitute 34 percent of the total population with 75 percent under age group of 35 growing at a rate of 2 percent from 2009. In a world where one in every four persons is a youth, every democratic system needs to absorb the aspirations of this vibrant group, especially as, across the globe, youth acquire the right to franchise at an average age of 18. The significant number of youth population in India have acted as a stimulator for nation’s growth and as rightly pointed by the former President of India, Dr Zakir Hussain, ‘’Youth form the vanguard of the nation, which when properly channelized shall be instrumental for the development of the country”. This assumes significance when civil societies who are a necessary ‘change agents’ are run by youth or have active youth involved.
At a time when countries of the world are undergoing the process of democratization, where civil societies are playing a significant role, the countries have placed enormous responsibilities and expectations on the youth. Understanding the challenges and difficulties which the youth encounters in the world, the United Nations had developed ‘The World Programme of Action for Youth in 2000’, to improve the situation of youth in different countries, and identified that full and effective participation of youth in life of society and decision making as a major priority area for intervention.
Participatory governance involving youth has been highlighted by many thinkers like Alexis de Tocqueville through the platform of civil societies. However, the number of youth actually involved in the government process is negligible. Currently, in India the number of youth (between 25-40) in the Parliament is 711. Further a mere 8.6 percent of them have been a part of student politics. A mere 25 percent of college students in India, aspired to become a student leader with voting pattern averaging 30-40 percent showing a lack of student representation and participation among the youth.2. It predicates the need for better representation of youth at a time when socio-political action and debates has gone viral, where four out of every five users in the world logging into facebook is a youth/adult (18-29 years), where 73 percent of wired American teens use social networking websites with an increase in internet usage of 74 percent among adults 18 years and older in 20093.