The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation’s young get a voice

Mumbai, Oct. 29: For a young nation with old men at the helm, a forum to represent its youth was, perhaps, long due.

It got one today.

The Confederation of Indian Industry, the apex association of Indian business, launched Young Indians that aims to be a pressure group and tap the talent pool in the nation’s cause.

CII president Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director of automobile maker Mahindra & Mahindra, said the forum’s objective is to give “something back to the country, which is more satisfying than seeing our company’s bottomline grow”.

Mahindra, who thinks the young Indian is confident and does not carry the baggage of his senior compatriot, said the group, using a “we can, we will” approach, could bring a change in the “economic and social agenda of our country”.

“We have to nurture the next generation of leadership and steer the talent available,” he added.

G.V. Sanjay Reddy, the national chairman of Young Indians, said the forum seeks to develop leaders who will realise the “Indian Dream”.

“The concept is new,” said Rajeev Karwal, managing director of Electrolux Kelvinator and member of the Delhi chapter of the forum. Asked if young politicians can become members, Karwal said the focus would be on getting members from other sectors.

Not everyone can join. Those who want to have to be between 25 and 40 at the time of joining, and must be a professional with three years of successful contribution to their vocation.

The advisory board includes Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu, ICICI Bank CEO K.V. Kamath, Infosys chairman .R. Narayana Murthy and CII director-general Tarun Das.

“Even Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, our country’s President, is very enthusiastic about the project and has promised us that he will contribute meaningfully to the forum,” Mahindra said.

The forum will have eight chapters initially — in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kochi — and plans to expand over the next few years to all major cities in the country and across the world. It aims to be a movement of young Indians, but will not be limited to India, said Reddy.

Quoting the CII director-general, Reddy said “money will not be problem, if the cause is good”. The initiative has the support of the industry association.

Mahindra, however, clarified that the forum will not be like an activist organisation, but we will not be pacifist either. “It will be a vibrant movement that’ll be a catalyst to a multiplier effect. We will act as change leaders,” he said.

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