Indian Youth Demographics and Readership: Results from the National Youth Readership Survey

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Item Code: NAC343
Author: Rajesh Shukla
Publisher: National Book Trust, India
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788123758541
Pages: 178
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.4 Inch X 8.8 Inch
Weight 1.02 kg
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Book Description

From the Jacket

National Book TRUST, India, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, was established in 1957 with the twin purpose of book publishing and book promotion in the country with the objective to create a culture of reading and bookmidedness in the society. The major activities of the Trust are publishing in nearly 30 Indian languages including English under some well-defined series for children, young as well-defined series for children, young as well as general adult readers, promotion of books and reading culture, organsing book festivals, fairs and exhibitions including its immensely popular ‘Mobile Book Exhibitions’, running book clubs, publishing courses, promotion of Indian books abroad, promotion of children’s literature, assistance to authors and publishers in the form of subsidies and grants, organsising the biennial New Delhi World Book Fairs etc.

“National Book Trust, India will make available books recognized to be good at a low cost and create a climate for book reading and book buying among the vast number of people in the country…It will also serve as a kind of ‘book hospital’ for finding out what generally stood in the way of books being purchased and read”.

Foundation Day Address of Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India and Founder of the Trust, 01/August/1957, Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

NCAER was established in 1956 as a registered society. As a premier applied economics research institute in the country, NCAER is committed to enhance public awareness of policy issues in business and economics and to facilitate solutions that will contribute to overall national development. By publishing the findings of its research, and through the active participation of its senior researchers in media and policy, it aims to bring new knowledge to the attention of policy makers.

About the Author

ESH SHUKLA is the Director of NCAER Centre for Macro Consumer Research INCAER-CMCRI at National Council of Applied Economic research [NCAER,]. He is a Statistician, who has specialized in sample survey and data analysis. He has been involved for over /ears in primary and secondary data based socio-economic studies baseline, impact evaluation and longitudinal) and has executed over25 anal level studies covering a range of topics such as household income, expenditure and saving; tourism, science and technology, public understanding of science, youth as human resource and energy.

He has worked as technical advisor to several reputed national and international institutions such as United Nations Committee on Tourism Statistics, WTO, Spain; McKinsey Global Institute, Washington; Government of Sultanate of Oman; Asian Development Bank, Manila; Yale centre for Consumer insight, and soon. He has been engaged in compiling, integrating and analysing GESIS longitudinal datasets of European Countries. He is part of the collaborative research on ‘Construction of Global Indicators of Science and Technology’ at the London School of Economics since 2002.

-le has authored seven books, more than 25 research reports, a number of research papers and popular articles. Some of his distinctive publications include first India Science Report(NCAER, 2004-05], Domestic Tourism Survey[Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, 2002-03], The Great Indian Middle Class INCAER and Business Standard, 2004], The Great Indian Market (NCAER and Business Standard, 2004), The Next Urban Frontier: Twenty Cities to Watch [NCAER and FCH, 20081, How India Earns, Spends and Saves: Unmasking the Real India [Sage, 2010] and Caste in Different Mould Business Standard, 2010) .



NATIONAL BOOK TRUST, India was established in 1957 by our first Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru as part of the mammoth nation building exercise that was taken up immediately after the independence in the social, political, economic and cultural fields. The idea was to create a public funded institution that could create good books, make them available to the general readers at the affordable prices and which would keep finding ways to understand and meet the reading needs of the masses at large.

I think that of all the institutions that were founded to work in the cultural fields, the founding of an institution Like National Book Trust, India for creating a learning and book reading society was the most visionary one. It is so because, while most of the institutions had a clear cut target area like working for the theatres, arts, literature etc., NBT, India was asked to work for the reading needs of the general masses. With hardly one third of the population literate at the time of India’s independence, to be able to visualize a society that needed to be nourished on progressive and secular books to understand and sustain the basic foundations of the independent India was masterstroke. The Trust has played a vital role in providing quality books to all target audience including children.

In the light of the growing importance of the youth in the affairs of the country, the Trust took an initiative to frame a National Action Plan for the Readership Development among the Youth INAPRDY) and entrusted the job of undertaking the first ever National Youth Readership Survey from the perspective of book reading habit to the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAERJ, probably one of the best in the world to conduct such surveys and analyses. I believe that the findings of the survey will open up new windows to the understanding of the way the most energetic component of our population thinks and behaves when it comes to books and reading culture.



IT IS RIGHTLY SAID that while children are the future of the country, youth are its present. The energy, enthusiasm, dynamism, innovative ideas and creative thinking they possess make the youth population an important asset for any country’s accelerated development. With regard to youth resources. India has a distinct edge over the developed nations most of which will be facing the burden of a fast ageing population in the coming decades.

Numbers alone are just part of the story. In order to reap the benefits of the ‘demographic dividend’ it is necessary that these young men and women are imparted the right kind of education, motivation and exposure and provided with opportunities for the development of their personality and functional capability so as to make them economically and socially useful. A country’s economic progress depends on its people, especially the young, having access to the world of knowledge conveyed by the printed media. Removing tilt barrier of illiteracy, developing a reading culture and creating adequate opportunities for reading are the cornerstones of intellectual, emotional and civilized life. It is rightly said that ‘the right to read’ also means “the right to develop one’s intellectual and spiritual capacities, the right to Learn and make progress”.

It was in this light that the National Book Trust NBTI, India, the premier government agency engaged in the task of creating a learning society, chalked out a National Action Plan for Readership Development among the Youth [NAPRDY] and approached the National Council of Applied Economic Research NCAERI to conduct the National Youth Readership Survey-2009 which is the first of its kind conducted in any developing country. The main objective of the survey and the related analyses is to take stock of the readership, reading habits and attitudes among rural and urban youth in India and to explore ways of culturing and nurturing reading habits among the youth.

The development of life-long reading interests and reading habits is a process which begins at home, is nurtured continuously in the school and is sustained in later life through the conscious efforts of the public education system and of public Libraries, In order to cultivate a We-long reading habit, we must go beyond the needs and interests of the different developmental phases and motivate the child to fit his reading material to his changing intellectual needs and environmental circumstances, In other words, reading should become a habit guided by permanent motives rather than changing inclinations.

Relatively little is known about the development of reading interests among the youth, its causes and primary influences, the report addresses this issue in depth. What is the role of parents and teachers in the promotion of reading readiness and awakening interest in reading books? How far do the school environment and access to good libraries and bookshops help to arouse interest and pleasure in reading so as to make it a habit? What influence do peers have in the formation of reading habit? What are the activities that promote reading interest among the Children? To what extent do factors such as education level of self, parents’ occupation and education Level and socio-economic characteristics of the household influence reading and reading interests? These are some of the specific questions answered in the present investigation.

The National Youth Readership Survey-2009also attempted to gain insight into the media preferences of youth, level of trust in different media, personal satisfaction Levels, reasons for dropping out of education, preferred leisure activities, most preferred genre of books for leisure reading, awareness about various government programmes, their perception/opinion about various critical issues such as reservations for women in Parliament, interest in science, religiosity, and so on.

NCAER is proud to be associated with NBT’s initiative to gain insight into the readership status, reading habits and attitudes of the youth — India which will help evolve effective mechanisms to inculcate the habit of reading in the young at an early age. The outcome of the study LL be an important input for various stakeholders such as publishing houses, educationists, academicians, and policy makers and other concerned with promotion of reading habits.

NBT truly deserves to be applauded for their vision in this initiative, Let me thank them for entrusting this pioneering task to the NCAER also congratulate the team of staff and consultants, led by Dr. Rajesh Shukla, and acknowledged elsewhere in this report, for their efforts assisting NBT in making its vision a reality.



THE YOUTH OF INDIA, WHO MAKE UP A sizeable portion of the country' population is a vital and vibrant resource which, according to the Policy Statement of the Government of India 2008, has to be made not only the beneficiaries of but also valuable partners in the process of planning and development. In order to ensure that these young men and women contribute towards national development in a big way, they should be effectively involved in the process of decision making. With this in view, Government of India, through its various programmes and policies, has recently initiated steps to address the growing concerns of the youth and increase their intellectual and functional capabilities so as to make them economically productive and socially useful.

"Youth bulge" is a situation where a large proportion of young people reach productive age due to transition from high to low fer- tility, and the proportion of children and the elderly remains small. It is seen as an advantage, even characterised as a "demo- graphic dividend". In 2020, an average Indian is expected to be only 29 years old, as against 37 in China and the United States. His counterpart in western Europe would be 45, whereas the average Japanese would be 48 years old. The working age population in India is expected to grow by more than 47 million people by 2020.

However, numbers alone don't make a difference; the quality of the human resource is of paramount importance. A country stands to reap the benefits of a youth bulge only if it puts in place policies to fit out its children with relevant skills. In today's world, uneducated and malnourished workers find little place in productive employment.

The iteration of "youth power" in the national economic discourse arises from a consciousness in policy-making circles that India's youngsters have the potential to contribute much to the country's socio-economic growth. The importance of this vast mass of youngsters as human capital is unhesitatingly accepted by plan- ners. There are precedents justifying this. For instance, the rise of India as an information technology power, which was largely youth fuelled, gave pointers to immense possibilities for the replication of that success in other sectors. When the predominantly youthful electorate of the country gave its mandate in favour of stability in the 2009 general election in sharp contrast to entrenched wisdom, the nation's faith in its children's vision of nationhood got further strengthened.

As education is the sine qua non of future planning, India's policy makers are conscious of the need to look beyond conventional, or classroom, education. To survive and flourish in the competitive world of today, youngsters need more than mere textbook knowledge; they require applied knowledge, which comes from observation and through myriad other sources. It is here that reading plays a jettisoning role. Books, magazines, news- papers - in short, the printed word - has historically been one of the most impor- tant inputs for any society's intellectual progression. There is little point in expend- ing government resources in spreading literacy if there is no follow-up programme to inculcate the reading habit. The creation of a reading culture and the promotion of reading among youngsters are fundamental for achieving the conceptual quotient of education.

In short, the government is waking up to the fact that it must do something to instill in contemporary youth a culture that accepts the printed word's value and credibility, of course in conjunction with other sources of information. Numerous studies have revealed that reading for pleasure is associated with stated and unstated benefits for a person's knowledge base and world view. The 'reading' phenomenon may be 'regular' - aimed at educational excellence and competi- tiveness in the workplace. This sort of reading is to an extent 'compulsory' because there can be no upward mobility for a person in many sectors of employment without information on the developments in science and technology, politics and the economy. There is an element of voluntariness in this sort of reading because much of the impetus comes from the objectives that a person charts out for himself.

While both compulsory and voluntary reading is important, the promotion of 'leisure' reading is considered of highest value in the present scenario. Today, the declining trend in readership among youngsters is taken as a fait accompli though there is no substantial data or study to back this perception. On the face of it, this is contradictory as the 21st century is acknowledged as the era of the knowledge society. It appears that there is a flood of happenings in every field, but the interest in following them is on the decline. Policy makers realise that young Indians should read more than what is essential for clearing examinations. This is only possible when more youngsters prefer the book to the television remote player. Television leaves little to the imagination, while books play up the creative universe of a young mind by encouraging him to visualise. The nation stands to benefit from an imaginative youth society. But first, our youngsters should be encouraged to see the book increasingly as an integral ingredient of their lifestyle.

As an imperative, therefore, a detailed investigation into the readership status, patterns, attitudes and perceptions held by the youth population of India was deemed important. It was expected that an understanding of existing reading habits, preferences and constraints would help policy makers evolve necessary measures for taking stock of and promoting the reading habit among the youth.

Britain, China, the United States, Singapore, Botswana and some other countries have conducted studies to assess the status of their respective youth read- ership. In India, a National Readership Survey is regularly carried out to determine newspaper and magazine reading trends. However, no systematic investigation at the national level has ever taken place to approach the issue of the readership from the perspective of book reading habbit amongst the country's youth and emerge with an understanding of young people's dependence on various variables.

It was against this backdrop that the National Book Trust (NBT), India, a premier government agency with the objective to a learning society and the biggest multilingual publishing house in the country, mooted a National Action Plan for Readership Development among the Youth (NAPRDY). One of the main objectives was to take stock of the reading habit among rural and urban youth. NBT approached NCAER to undertake an all-India survey for generating reliable data on readership, reading habits, attitudes and perceptions and reading attainment for the target pop- ulation, and indicators thereof for the target population. Accordingly, NCAER planned and carried out the National Youth Readership Survey-2009 (NYRS-2009).



  Study Team vii
  Foreword ix
  Preface xi
  Acknowledgements xiii
  About the Author xv
  About NCAER-CMCR xv
  List of Tables xvii
  List of Figures xix
  National Action Plan for the Readership Development among the Youth Abbreviations and Acronyms xxiii
  Executive Summary xxv
  Chapter 1: Introduction 1
  The Impetus 3
  Scope and Objectives of the Study 4
  Definition of “Youth” 4
  Reading and Reading Habits 5
  Importance of the Study 6
  Chapter Plan 6
  Chapter 2: Demographic Profile of Indian Youth 9
  Indian Youth Stock 11
  Education Attainment by Literate Youth 11
  Socio Economic Profile of Literate Youth Households 14
  Demographic Profile of Literate Youth 18
  Regional Distribution of Literate Youth 25
  Chapter 3: Youths Exposure to Mass Media 29
  Youth Interest in Popular Topics 32
  Preferred Leisure Activities 34
  Availability of Infrastructure 37
  Newspaper & Magazine Subscription in Youth Households 38
  Preferred Languages to Read Print Media 40
  Usage Pattern of Mass Media in Youth Households 45
  Frequency of Youth Exposure to Different Mass Media 47
  Time of Exposure to Different Mass Media 49
  Place of Exposure to Different Mass Media 50
  Average Time Spent on Different Mass Media 52
  Level of Confidence in Different Mass Media 56
  Why Do the Youth Access Print and Electronic Media 56
  Chapter 4: Youth Readers: Their Reading Habits and Attitudes 59
  Declining Reading Habits: An Overview of International Studies 62
  Assessing Youth Readership in India 63
  Reader vs Non-Readers 63
  Profile of Literate Youth and Readership 64
  Leisure Book Reading – Rural-Urban Gap 68
  Preferred Language for Reading Books 68
  Number of Leisure Books at Home 71
  Frequency of Reading 73
  Days Preferred for Reading 74
  Time of Reading 75
  Place of Reading 75
  Broad Genre of Books 76
  Reading Fiction Books 76
  Reading Non-Fiction Books 77
  Reading Enjoyment 78
  Rating Reading Skill 79
  Discussion with Parents about Reading 80
  Reasons for Reading 80
  Writing in Diary about Books Read 81
  Whether Reading Enough 81
  Reasons for Not Reading Enough 82
  Access to Bookshop 83
  Awareness about Library 83
  Efforts of Library 85
  Member of any Library 85
  Usage of Library Facilities 86
  Visits to Book Promotion Events 86
  Preferred Sources of Information about Books 86
  Modes of Procurement of Leisure Books 87
  Factors that Influence Book Buying 88
  Chapter 5: Luring the Youth into Reading 91
  Initiation into Reading 94
  Motivation from School 96
  Exchanging Books with Friends & Relatives 96
  Reading Role Models 97
  Peer Influence 97
  Youth Perception on Reading Related Issues 98
  Chapter 6: General Awareness and Perception of Indian Youth 103
  Level of Satisfaction 106
  Developmental Programmes- Awareness and Benefits 107
  Youth and Politics 110
  Literate Youth and Religiosity 111
  Good Luck versus Hard Work 112
  Youth Interest in Science 112
  Benefit of Scientific Advancement of Mankind 113
  Youth Interest in Medical Research 114
  Literate Youth and Environment 115
  Youth and Education 116
  Youth and Unemployment 119
  Role of Publication House in Promoting Reading Habits 121
  Role of Editor in Publishing House 123
  Chapter 7: Looking Ahead 125
  References 133
  Appendix: 137
  Appendix I: Glossary 139
  Appendix II: Survey Methodology 143
  Appendix III: Validation and Reliability of Estimates 149

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