Event Reports

Attitudes, Anxieties and Aspirations of India´s Youth: Changing Patterns

by Pankaj Madan, Mark Alexander Friedrich

Presentation of the 3rd Youth Study by CSDS and KAS India

On April 3rd, 2017, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and the Liaison Office India of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung released the third Youth Study in New Delhi. The presentation was attended by over 120 guests from politics, civil society, and media. This CSDS-KAS report presents the findings of a sample survey-based study on India’s young population (15-34-year-olds) conducted in April and May, 2016 and follows up on the previous Youth Studies from 2007 and 2013.

The presentation of the study was opened by Professor Sanjay Kumar, Director of CSDS and Principal Investigator of the study, who gave welcoming remarks and thanked the teams of CSDS and KAS in conducting the study in 19 Indian states. Pankaj Madan, Teamleader Program Coordination at KAS India, outlined the history of cooperation between KAS and CSDS. He illustrated the different demographic developments of India and many other parts of the world and how crucial understanding India´s youth was in order to turn this development into a demographic dividend. Remembering the late Resident Representative to India, he dedicated the study to the memory of Dr Lars Peter Schmidt.

The Welcoming remarks were followed by an overview of the study by Shreyas Sardesai, CSDS. He outlined the priorities of the project and its key findings. After the official release of the study, three leading experts of issues related to Indian youth were invited to discuss the findings. Looking at the discrepancy between modern style consciousness and conservative values among large parts of the Indian youth, Neha Buch, CEO of Pravah, raised the question, as to how far the thinking process of the youth is self-driven or driven by outside pressures. She argued that it is a major challenge for the educational system to prepare the youth for the changes society is facing today and is going to face in the future.

Surinder Jodhka, Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), pointed out that compared to many western countries, there is a lack of data on Indian society. This is why, in his view, the Youth Study was an important contribution and "should go on forever." He pointed out that many of the findings suggest that the Indian youth is very conservative but when looking at the numbers, on the opposite side, the numbers were already a sign of progressive change. This, according to him, showed that looking at Indian society solely through the lens of "development" is not reflecting the situation comprehensively. Neha Dixit, Independent Journalist, discussed the interaction between modern aspects of society such as mass media and online shopping with traditional values. She pointed out that it was sometimes "the market" that was repackaging traditional values and making them attractive to the youth.

The study can be requested for as a hard-copy by E-Mail


Dr. Thomas Kunze


Representative for Russia