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.
ESH SHUKLA is the Director of NCAER Centre for Macro Consumer Research INCAER-CMCRI at National Council of Applied Economic research [NCAER,www.ncaer.org]. 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
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).
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