About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Waste of wealth : Youth population, lack of oppertunity, raise of smart crime and terrorism in India

"Soh, where to go?” he asked in accented English with a frown and unpleasant stern look. A bunch of books (those books that helps to crack competitive professional exams in India) are kept in his side. He is obviously not happy with his profession. Not keen to appear as a cab driver but more of an educated enthusiast who is ‘helping’ me to reach a destination! A “job”  he has taken just as a ‘stop gap’ till he cracks an interview and lands in his dream job.  After a small discussion I understood that he has completed a Masters of Technology in Computer science from a not so known college of Tamil Nadu (this state has more than 552 such engineering colleges). He belongs to lower middle class family and dreams to settle in USA (through a project of TCS, Infosys or CTS) and earn a green card.

 This story of ‘distant dream’ is same for the young toll collecting employee at the toll gates/ check posts, liftmen in corporate houses, security guards in the factories, peons and courier delivery boys. Most of them are educated better than what is required for the post! Most of them are not happy with his/ her current job and hence doesn’t bother to serve with a smiling face. Customer satisfaction is least important to them. They are chasing their dreams (which remains unfulfilled largely) and “not happy” with current situation. The result of this is extremely low customer satisfaction (especially in the grass root level of services) across Indian service based industries.  Since they are educated (rather, highly educated) they can argue, they can act smart and can give reasonably believable excuses for not providing the promised service (“sir, its heavy traffic  jam due to rain in this side of the city… please book another cab… oh yes, kindly press 1 when the service call comes”… a bright young voice (the driver of Ola cab) told me last Thursday over phone… in fact, there was no such traffic jam or heavy rain in the city… probably he was not interested to work anymore at that evening … but pressing 1 means I have canceled the cab myself and he has nothing to do with it!) . The demographic dividend of the country is now becoming unsolicited burden. Yes, they are highly educated and  empowered with media, Bollywoody glittery movies, social media which shows them the dreams of a better world in the other side of society. But in paradox, the country provides little or no such opportunities to them to spread wings and grow faster. 

Fact vs. fiction: rate of unemployment in India:

The Ministry of Labor’s report shows that there is a steady decline in unemployment rate in India.

Another report states that the unemployment rate is 1.7 per cent in rural and 3.4 per cent in urban areas.

 In its previous report of 2013, unemployment rate was 1.5 per cent in rural and 4.8 per cent in urban areas. The report, based on a survey conducted by NSSO, shows that Christians are the worst-hit on access to jobs, with an unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent in rural and 5.9 per cent in urban areas. Muslims are next with an unemployment rate of 3.9 in rural and 2.6 per cent in urban areas. 

While both these reports are promising,  a report published last year at the Hindu news-paper states ten million Indians with graduate, post-graduate and technical degrees were looking for job! Meaning that 15% of all Indians with the highest levels of education were seeking job as of 2011.

Kerala had India’s highest graduate unemployment rate at over 30 per cent. Of the 116 million Indians who were either seeking or available for work, unemployment rates were higher among the better qualified, highest of all among the 7.2 million people with a technical diploma or certificate other than a degree. At all levels of education, unemployment rates were higher in rural than in urban areas. At every level of education, especially at the higher levels, female unemployment exceeded male unemployment. The ‘unemployed’ included those who were not currently working but were seeking or available for work, as well as those in marginal employment - meaning that they worked for fewer than six months in the year preceding the Census - who were seeking or available for work. Overall, India’s unemployment rate grew from 6.8 p.c. in 2001 to 9.6 p.c. in 2011, based on official Census data. 

Quality of Education vs quality of opportunity:

In another heart wrenching report published in The Hindu it was observed that over 23 lakh candidates, including 2.22 lakh engineers and 255 Ph.D. holders have applied for 368 posts of peon (one of the lowest post in Govt. scale) in the State Secretariat at Uttar Pradesh. Thousands of candidates with Masters degree in Commerce, Humanities and Sciences are also among the applicants, something which indicates the gravity of the unemployment situation in the State. The recruitment to the posts was opened after a gap of 12 years. The selections were scheduled to be made through interviews. Given the huge number of candidates, officials said that it would take four years to interview all the 23 lakh candidates!  The population of Uttar Pradesh is 21.5 crore. Going by the logic of numbers, every 93rd person in the State applied for the post which carries with it a salary of Rs.20,000, along with the perks of a government job. Obviously, we can understand, one who achieves a doctoral degree will not stick to the job of a peon but is looking at it as an option to ‘stop gap’ or ‘settle down’ to do ‘something else’ in parallel. Neither his Ph.D degree nor his wisdom will be of any use for the post/ job profile which requires physical labor/ skill rather than research based knowledge. He will not be able to work happily since he will not get the opportunity to exhibit his heard earned learning. 

The Uttar Pardesh Technical University (UPTU), has more than 800 other private institutions affiliated to it, mostly engineering colleges, apart from government-aided institutions. However, the plight of these private institutions have exposed the dark reality of the education system which has moved from service to ‘profit making’ business model. In the quick fix spirit of 'jugaad (innovative solution)' these colleges have found new ways to fill seats in the time of crisis. Most have hired consultants who ‘supply’ students. Gullible students believe the promises of guaranteed placements that the consultant-cum-middle man makes. They are granted admission under the ‘management quota’, a euphemism for extra payment taken before admission. A report by Times of India in the year 2014 stated  that close to 1.24 lakh engineering seats in the state under the UP state entrance examination (UPSEE) counseling found no takers. Out of 1.47 lakh engineering seats in over 300 colleges in the state, only 23,000 candidates have confirmed admissions. Of the total seats, 97,000 were to be filled through counseling. Remaining seats were to be filled via direct admissions and JEE (Mains). A total of 1.38 lakh candidates had qualified the State Engineering Exam. With no candidates in sight, special counseling is being held in government and aided colleges where admissions will be done through the general merit list. Officials said around 20% seats on average are vacant in government colleges. Overall, only 30,000 candidates have taken admission in state technical colleges affiliated to UPTU. This includes engineering, management, pharmacy, fashion designing, hotel management and others. In MBA, only 2,500 candidates have confirmed admissions against 44,000 seats. The other side of the coin is the quality of the crowd in these colleges. According to the companies landing up for placements, students generally lack aptitude and skill needed to survive in the professional ecosystem. This doesn't get fixed even after preliminary training after hiring. 

This year, in Gujrat registration for admission into engineering and pharmacy colleges has ended. Officials of the Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) are worried because only 48,000 students have registered for 71,000 engineering seats in 138 colleges across the state. The officials are expecting a record number of seats, 30,000, to remain vacant this year. They said, as it is, at the end of the registration stage, 23,000 seats are vacant. Officials said it has been noted that around 15% of students opt out when they fail to get the branch of their choice. This time the number of such students is expected to be 7000-odd: that leads to the estimation of overall vacancy of 30,000.

Educated Youth, rise in smart crime and smarter terrorism:

So, in this situation, when highly educated youth doesn’t land in suitable job what happens? Where will they use their learning, skill, wisdom? How will they feel ‘satisfied”?

The high end digital terrorism was first noticed in India when in the year 2014 Mehdi Masoor Biswas was arrested from Bangalore.  Bengaluru police in the early hours of December 2014 arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, from his Jalahalli residence in North Bengaluru, for handling a pro-ISIS Twitter handle.  Karnataka DGP Pachau further added: "His Twitter handle had become a source of information for new recruits of ISIS. He was in touch with the English speaking terrorists from the terrorist group, thereby abetting them."  Hailing from Gopalpur in West Bengal, he worked with an MNC here from 2012 with an annual package of Rs 5.38 lakh and had just been confirmed in March 2014. The report also states that 2 thirds of foreign jihadists followed his tweets! Mehdi had more than 17,000 followers on Twitter and used to "ferociously" tweet by aggregating information and closely watching developments of the region.  Interestingly, In a brief interview to Channel 4 "Mehdi" had said, "I haven't done anything wrong. I haven't harmed anybody. I haven't broken any law...I haven't raised any war or any violence against the public of India. I haven't waged war against any allies of India....I want to state clearly that I won't resist arrest when the time comes. I don't have any sort of weapons with me," Biswas was educated, he knew what he is doing and was prepared with his reasons to prove that he has not commited any crime! The education, which is never been channeled through valued profession ends one into crime or terrorism. 

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 44 per cent of the arrested criminals in India belong to the age group of 10 to 30 years, which is the ‘youth’ (As per the 2011 statistics).  

Juvenile crime in urban areas in India rose by 40% between 2001-10 said researchers in 'The State of the Urban Youth India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills', published by Mumbai-based IRIS Knowledge Foundation (IKF). 

 In the three years up to 2013, registered cases of cyber crime were up 350%, from 966 to 4,356. “Illegal gains” and “harassment” are the top cyber crime motives, the data reveal. The majority of crimes are registered under “others”; 2,144 cases were registered in this category in 2013. Such a high number of cases registered in “others” implies that the current laws and regulations aren’t detailed enough to tackle cyber crime. 

Those who are arrested under these laws are overwhelmingly young. Data show that the age group of 18-30 accounts for the highest percentage of cybercrime with 1,638 persons arrested in the age bracket out of a total arrests of 3,301 in 2013.

Organized crime, cyber based bank robbery, extortion and pre-planned criminal activities are increasing in the country as well as terrorism. 

Recently, At least 15 highly qualified youths from Kerala's Kasaragod and Palakkad districts who had traveled to the Middle East have gone missing for the last one month and their families suspect they may have joined the Islamic State. Asaragod District Panchayat member V P P Mustafa said that during Eid, the parents of two missing youths received 'Whatsapp' messages saying "we are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us". "We have joined IS to fight US for attacking Muslims", read another message, he said adding the veracity of the messages has to be checked.

Whats the solution?

Hence, if Govt. of India wants to boost itself with the demographic dividend (which was the USP of India for past two decades) the country needs to look at the “Quality of Education = Right opportunity = Job satisfaction” match making model rather than blatant skill development training programs. Otherwise the boon can become a devastating bane in years to come.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Millennial Indians travels more to overseas destinations : youth in India

Millennial Indians (those born after 1980) like to travel abroad at least once a year and nine out of ten use their own savings to fund overseas trips, a survey has found.

This is in sharp contrast to the older generation, 88 per cent of whom hardly ever travelled abroad for leisure, the ICICI Millennial Travel Study said.

The survey, conducted among 1,049 respondents in the age group 25-35 years across Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Kolkata revealed that Singapore is the most favoured destination, followed by the US and the UK.

A whopping 80 per cent of the respondents named culture and heritage as the main driver behind the choice of destination. Around 71 per cent considered health and hygiene conditions of a country before planning a trip against 41 per cent in the previous survey conducted in 2013.

Around 57 per cent of those surveyed preferred a multi-location trip, the main reason being packaged tours and better discounts offered by travel companies.

"Despite being aware and wanting to undertake multi-country trips, very few insure their travel, primarily because of lack of understanding of insurance benefits," ICICI Lombard General Insurance chief (underwriting, claims and reinsurance) Sanjay Datta said.

To a media query, he said ICICI Lombard had underwritten premium amounting to Rs 100 crore under travel insurance segment last year, which was likely to grow by 5-10 per cent in the current fiscal year.

The industry currently has a size of Rs 400-500 crore in the country.

Although 90 per cent millennials surveyed are aware of travel insurance, only 2 of 5 respondents purchased travel insurance for overseas travel, the primary drivers being medical emergency and luggage safety. The biggest problem most millennials felt they would face while travelling were safety issues.

A total of 52 per cent preferred to travel with their spouses, with Ahmedabad taking the lead. In fact, only 12 per cent of the country's millennials travelled alone. Around 79 per cent of millennials faced budget constraints and 39 per cent availed of finances for a trip abroad. Almost 47 per cent of millennials saw an increase in their overseas travel in future.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

reasons of increasing divorce rate among young Indians

The family court in suburban Mumbai is a ringtone-free zone. When an occasional cellphone sounds from among the rows of people waiting on the first floor, it is hushed by the security guard. "It's not for the judge we do this, it's for them inside," he says, gesturing to the door next to him. "They deserve some peace; this is an important hour in their lives."
The door leads to the office of the chief marriage counsellor. Every couple seeking a mutual-consent divorce in Mumbai must spend some time here, to explore whether their differences truly are irreconcilable.

Advertising executive Tejas Chakrabarty, 28, remembers this room vividly. "I first went there three months after my wedding," he says. "My wife, whom I had met through a matrimonial website, was continuing a preexisting affair with a married man. The counsellor tried very hard to convince us to give it another shot. But she was still in love with that man, and I was too betrayed to even think about it. We just sat there in silence for 45 minutes. Then we left and started the paperwork."

That was nine months ago. Chakrabarty knew his wife for four months before they got married. "She was a really great girl, and I was getting all this pressure to marry, so I thought, why not," he says. In retrospect, Chakrabarty says there were warning signs. "She was always a little secretive, and would never leave her phone unattended," he remembers. "She also had mood swings, was depressed sometimes, then over-compensated by lavishing attention on me." Chakrabarty and his wife are among thousands of couples in India seeking to end their marriages in the first few months or years, ending up divorced before the age of 30.
This is an unusual trend in a country where the divorce rate was just 1 in 1,000 ten years ago, and is still a relatively low 13 per 1,000 - as compared to the US average of 500 per 1,000. While India has no central or even state-wise registry of divorce data, family court officials say the number of divorce applications has doubled and even tripled in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Lucknow over the past five years (see box).
They cite a range of reasons - the waning influence of the family and joint family; the growing psychological and financial independence of women; late marriages resulting in a greater reluctance to compromise or change set ways and lifestyles.

The greatest difference, however, is in the willingness to end a marriage that is not working, say some counsellors.

"These young couples come to me with a totally different attitude," says Mumbai-based psychotherapist and counsellor Pallavi Bhurkay. "Earlier, couples would come to me to fix the marriage. Now, I have young couples who have come just to convince their family or partner that a divorce is the right decision."
Adds Aarti Mundkur, lawyer at the Bengaluru family court: "Has the number of divorces gone up? Of course. But has the breakdown of marriage increased? No. Marriages have been breaking down with much the same regularity over the years. But couples have been continuing with the marriage to keep up appearances. The growing rate of divorce is an indication that the stigma associated with it is on the wane."
Earlier, issues such as dowry demands, property disputes and family arguments would lead to applications for divorce, adds a family court counsellor from Mumbai. "Now we see young couples who want to separate because they cannot agree on who will do the chores, or because they have realised that they no longer like each other. Most of these are young couples in the first or second year of marriage."

Divorced before 30: 5 ex-couples explain what went wrong with their marriages

"He had very different expectations of a wife"
Marriage lasted:
1 month
Neha Jayant*, 29, met Brijesh Ahluwalia*, 29, through common friends in London six months ago. They were both investment bankers looking for a long-term commitment. “Right away, we entered into a relationship with marriage as the goal,” she says. A month in, in August, the couple returned to Delhi for their wedding. They then relocated to Toronto in Canada, where Brijesh’s parents live. One month later, Jayant packed her bags and returned to Delhi. “Brijesh had a very jealous streak,” she says. “It began spinning out of control. When I went to job interviews, he would criticise the length of my formal skirt and ask me lewd questions about what I was actually applying for. After a party hosted by his parents, he screamed at me for 45 minutes because I had spent 10 minutes talking to another man.” Jayant says she was in shock, and afraid that the verbal abuse would escalate into physical violence. “He was a completely different person after we got married. He had all these expectations of a ‘wife’ which he never had for a ‘girlfriend’,” she says.
The couple’s divorce is now in the process of being finalised.

"It was clear we were not meant for each other"
Marriage lasted: 3 years
He was quick-tempered; she was impatient. It should have been a warning sign, but they saw it as a symbol of all they had in common. They were both young, ambitious marketing executives in a rush to settle down. “We met through an ad in the paper,” says Anisha*, 25. “I posted the ad, looking for a life partner who would let me be me, let me work after marriage.” Amit*, 28, seemed perfect. They met, courted and married in 2012. The arguments started soon after. “Two years into the marriage, it was clear that we were not meant to be together,” says Anisha. A year on, the couple had secured a divorce. “It was the best thing for both of us,” says Amit. “Looking back, there were things we both did wrong. I would share minute details of our relationship with my parents, for example.” Now, Amit is not thinking of getting married again. “But if that happens, I will certainly work on my anger,” he says, “and try to find someone more patient.”

"He expected me to cook"
Marriage lasted: 18 months

They married after a whirlwind romance that lasted six months, only to develop a host of problems within the next year and a half. They now say the situation could have been different if they had allowed for a lengthier courtship. “We were both fresh out of failed relationships and in a hurry to get married. It was a thoughtless decision,” says Mahua*, 35, an IT executive. The couple differed in tastes and values. “He would expect me to get home from work and cook for him while he watched television. I was revolted at the idea of me toiling while he put his feet up,” she says. Also, she earned well and ended up paying for most of their common expenses. Mahua feels the couple might have stood a chance if they could have moved out of his parents’ home, but this suggestion caused a large uproar and she was accused of trying to break up the family. “That the husband and wife should love each other is a necessary but not sufficient condition. It is also important that the tastes and values match,” she says. In 2009, the couple got a divorce. They are now both happily remarried.
“This time, I have found someone who is what he says he is,” says Mahua. “I’ve learnt the hard way that you can’t change yourself, or someone else.”

"I suspect he was gay"
Marriage lasted: 3 months
Kaushani Mittal*, 26, met her ex-husband through a matrimonial website. Rajat* was 27, an architect based in Seattle. He came to Mumbai to meet her three weeks in. A month later, she flew to Seattle to marry him. “When we didn’t kiss even two months after our wedding, I began to wonder what was going on,” she says. Rajat told her he had intimacy issues and would need time. Meanwhile, his mother, who lived with them, began to pry and read their messages. “He had warned me that she was possessive. But he did nothing to help,” says Mittal. Three months in, Mittal returned to Mumbai and began divorce proceedings. “Though he still denies it, he is clearly gay,” she says. “It really took a toll on my self-esteem. It has made me develop trust issues, for which I’ve been in therapy.”

"He changed after the wedding"
Marriage lasted: 2 years
Rashmi*, 30, is still in shock that her seven-year relationship fell apart less than seven days after marriage. The two met in business school in 2006 and fell in love. “He was very affectionate and caring,” says Rashmi. “But he had always dreamed of moving to Mumbai to be an actor.” When the relationship became serious, the couple discussed how she could move to Mumbai with him, find a job, and support him while he looked for his break. They were married in 2012, with the consent of both families. “I noticed a change in his behaviour the day after our wedding,” says Rashmi. “He was no longer the loving, caring man I knew. And he wanted to move to Mumbai immediately.” When Rashmi said she needed time to quit her job in Lucknow and find a new one in Mumbai, he said she could stay behind. “This was less than a week after the wedding,” she says. Finally, Rashmi agreed to go with him for a short while. In Mumbai, he had friends he had never told her about. “He was acting like a big shot. It was like he never had any love for me.” Rashmi returned home. “For two years, I waited in Lucknow,” she says. “I can count on my fingers the number of times we spoke over the phone. We had very few meetings.”
Two months ago, she filed for divorce. Rashmi is now assistant general manager at a frozen foods factory; Rahul* is in Mumbai, seeking his big break.

(With inputs from Sudipto Mondal, Richa Srivastava, Arpit Basu and Danish Raza)