How better to empower India’s rural youth than to have other youth to participate in this mission? 

Rural India contributes nearly 47% of the country’s total GDP. The growth and development of rural India is important for the overall growth and inclusive development of the country, as nearly 70% of the country’s population lives in rural areas.   

To highlight the voice of rural India and mainstream its initiatives in the rural development space, Young Indians (Yi) launched Rural Initiatives (RI) in 2016. Through this initiative, Yi aspires to reach out to rural youth and help them improve their quality of life and economic well-being and contribute towards their holistic growth.

Young Indians (Yi), an integral part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a movement for Indian Youth to converge, lead, co-create and influence India’s future. Since 2002, Yi has created a platform for young Indians to work towards realizing a dream of a developed nation.  It has a growing, inclusive membership across all geographies and demographics with over 3700 direct members in 55 chapters, and 29500 students YUVA members from colleges. The Yi membership includes young progressive Indians between the age group of 21-45 years and comprises of entrepreneurs, professionals and achievers from different walks of life.

. Yi aims to achieve the RI mission by building a robust ‘participatory rural development model’ that empowers, enables and enriches the lives of India’s rural population. This model seeks to support the rural sector through collaborations with local communities, industry and enterprises. RI is one of the key stakeholders for Yi under its MYTRI framework that stands for Membership, Yuva, Thalir (children) & Rural Initiatives.

Yi Rural Initiatives: Objectives

Today, the Yi Rural Initiatives network works across India through 92 rural units served by 55 Yi Chapters. To meet its objectives, Yi creates awareness about its projects and welcomes participation by the rural stakeholders. Yi Chapters join hands with local organizations in the respective rural areas and engage the local stakeholders in developmental activities that are most relevant to their needs.

Assisting rural schools during COVID-19 

Due to the pandemic, schools and colleges were shut down across the country. In cities, schools quickly switched to the online mode, but rural education saw a big hit due to lack of digital infrastructure. To support rural school students, youth and the community during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Yi established 19 Yi Rural Smart Learning Centres across rural areas near 13 City Chapters in Thoothukudi, Bhopal, Karur, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Chennai, Madurai, Trichy, Goa, Guwahati, Jamshedpur Salem, and Puducherry. 

The first centre was set up by Yi Thoothukudi in Governagiri village of Tuticorin district where a Smart TV and internet connection was provided to the school. On the same lines, Yi Jamshedpur launched ‘Masti Ki Pathshala’ across rural pockets in Pipla Village, Sarjamda Village and Munda Kanti Bheem near Jamshedpur. The impact of these programmes can be ascertained by the growth in the number of such centre. 

Providing support as per need

Yi Chapters also assess and identify gaps in the rural areas that need long term developmental work and support. Some important areas of work include: 

  • Creating Livelihoods 
  • Yi Chennai Chapter launched ‘Project Bagnify’ to help women from self-help groups to set up businesses. They were provided  raw materials and  necessary skill development support. 
  • Yi Indore Chapter organized a paper bag making workshop for rural women. The skilling workshop aimed at providing the rural women with an opportunity to earn at home. 
  • Yi Siliguri’s project ‘Rang De’ helps rural women with livelihood opportunities by training them to produce organic gulal for Holi. 
  • ‘Be Your Own Boss’ is another project for promoting women entrepreneurship in rural areas by imparting skill training for creating bedsheets and curtains, providing sewing machines and offering facilities to work together.
  • Mission Clear River
  • Yi Thoothukudi Chapter undertook an expansive river-cleaning drive in collaboration with the Tuticorin Corporation. 
  • Yi members organized a clean-up of the Marudur Anicut river banks in Thoothukudi District with the support of students from the Thoothukudi Medical College. 
  • Hygiene and Nutrition 

Yi Vadodara initiated efforts to create a sustainable model in Karjan district to address the needs for menstrual hygiene and nutrition for rural girls and women. 

Agriculture and Farming 

Yi engages with farmers by providing skill training sessions. Yi Goa organized a session on ‘how to market and export agricultural goods.’ Yi Vadodara initiated a session on ‘assistance for agricultural production’. 

Yi Chapters across the country have been continuously engaging with rural stakeholders, and with the support of its 3800+ members and rural partners, Yi is progressively working towards creating a positive impact for rural India. For more information, please visit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *