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Young, conservative, traditional: Here’s India’s gen-next

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Young, conservative, traditional: Here's India's gen-next

By Sanjoy Narayan

It can only be one of these two:  that a) I must have certainly fallen in with a bunch of depraved deviants in my youth, most of which was spent in the 1970s, or, b) compared to their rebellious and iconoclastic counterparts in earlier generations, today’s urban middle-class youth are die-hard conformists, steeped in conservatism. Last week, when Raghu Roy, who heads MaRS, a research firm that partners with Hindustan Times to do a large youth survey every year, texted me to say that this year’s findings were in and that there was “far more orthodoxy among today’s youth, coffee shop and denim culture notwithstanding”, I wasn’t quite prepared for what was to follow in the actual findings of our fourth annual Indian Youth Survey (to be published from Monday).

Every generation shares a pet peeve that theirs is in some way superior to the subsequent ones. Secretly or otherwise, mine, for instance, feels that the urban middle-class youth of the 1970s was far more questioning of established convention and much less driven by materialism and a sense of entitlement. Many of my generation think today’s youth are limp milquetoasts and not the toughened adventurers that they themselves were. But that’s the way it is: every generation thinks the ones that come after it are lesser in many ways. It’s a sociological thing and there’s nothing more to it.

But perhaps there is. In this year’s HT-MaRS Indian Youth Survey, conducted among 5,214 middle and upper middle class youth (equal numbers men and women; ages 18-25) in 15 top Indian cities, the conservatives outweigh the deviants — by a big margin. We asked those surveyed whether they preferred joint families to nuclear ones and more than 67% said yes; 68% said they’d always listen to their elders and 70% said smoking in front of them was a no-no; just 4% said they’d marry a person selected by themselves over-ruling any parental objection; and an overwhelming number — 88% — preferred to get married in traditional style with elaborate rituals and not formalise it in court.

Our survey throws up other things, of course, and many of them come as no surprise: Narendra Modi is the biggest icon for the youth in Indian politics; Arvind Kejriwal, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi follow, in that order; and, Salman Khan is voted by our respondents as being, ahem, the ‘sexiest man alive’. In sports, the usual suspects win as youth icons (yes, Sachin Tendulkar is on top and there’s also MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli rubbing shoulders with him up there).

India’s urban youth have ‘aspirations’ (a word that has become a wantonly used cliché) and very strong attitudes of entitlement—most of them have huge expectations from their future and believe that the country “owes” that to them; and around half of those we polled say they want to get rich quickly. Predictably, they are quite swept up by a consumerist wave, fretting about not having money to buy what they want (more than half the women we polled said they bought something last year that they couldn’t afford); and, logically, the young in the richer cities have more money to spend every month.

All that is fine. What is of concern are some of the survey’s other findings. India’s youth is tradition-bound and conservative. Sadly, that could also imply that they can be regressive. Nearly seven out of 10 men and women felt the onus was on women and not men to save marriages from divorce; less than four out of 10 men felt that they should share housework with women; and, alarmingly, more than six out of 10 middle-class youth in Indian cities are all right if dowry is involved.

You could say that a survey of this sort has its limitations (although its methodology is robust) but some of its findings can make you want to pray for the future of our young. Praying, incidentally, comes naturally to our youth — nearly 60% of those we polled say they do that regularly.

Indian Business News

COCA-COLA BOTTLERS TO INVEST RS510 CR IN HARYANA

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Coca-Cola bottling firms Kandhari Beverages and Enrich Agro Food Products on Tuesday said they will invest Rs510 crore in Haryana to add new manufacturing lines. The authorised franchise bottlers of Coca-Cola India, inked a pact with the State Government to expand their manufacturing infrastructure.

“A fresh, combined infusion of Rs510 crore will create an additional direct employment for 325 people,” both the companies said in a joint statement. As a part of the pact, Kandhari Beverages will invest Rs300 crore to set up multiple high speed manufacturing lines for juice, energy and sparkling drinks at Saha in Ambala and will be completed by 2018.

Enrich Agro Food Products will invest Rs165 crore to set up a new manufacturing line for beverages in Rohtak by 2018 and also invest Rs45 crore in a packaging unit for Coca-Cola.

Kandhari Beverages Pvt Ltd Executive Director Bikram Kandhari said: “This investment which will be utilised to enhance infrastructure in our bottling facilities and setting-up new manufacturing lines.”

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Indian Business News

Uber to Invest Rs. 120 Crores in India

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Taxi-hailing app Uber on Tuesday signed a pact with the Haryana Government, wherein it will invest Rs120 crore in technology based ride-sharing services. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Happening Haryana Global Investors Summit 2016.

Under the agreement, Uber will invest in technology based ride-sharing services, which includes peer-to-peer transportation using private vehicles where the driver is reasonably compensated for expenses, tolls and other related costs.

Uber said this new form of reliable and convenient urban mobility will help create a real alternative to car ownership. Uber will also collaborate with the Government in creating smarter cities in Haryana.

“Haryana has been a leader in promoting information technology and we are excited to launch private vehicle ride-sharing to promote urban mobility, prevent pollution and reduce the time spent in traffic in our cities,” Vijayendra Kumar, Secretary IT, Haryana said in a statement.

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Indian Business News

FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal – Big win for salaried class!

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FM Arun Jaitley rolls back Budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawal - Big win for salaried class!

New Delhi: In what will bring cheers to millions of salaried class individuals in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday rolled back the controversial budget proposal to tax EPF withdrawals.

Taking the first opportunity available, he made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha in which he also announced withdrawal of imposing monetary limit for contribution of employers to provident and superannuation fund of Rs 1.5 lakh for taking tax benefit.

He however stated that 40 percent exemption given to National Pension Scheme (NPS) subscriber at the time of withdrawal remains.

“In view of representations received, the government would like to do a comprehensive review of this proposal and therefore I withdraw the proposal,” Jaitley added.

Clarifying government’s stand on EPF in Lok Sabha, Jaitley said, “The main argument is that employees should have choice of where to invest. Our intention was to encourage more and more employees join the national pension scheme”.

Jaitley in his Budget for 2016-17 had proposed that 60 percent of the withdrawal on contribution to employee PF made after April 1 this year will be subject to tax. This would apply to superannuation funds and recognised provident funds including EPF.

This was criticised by all employees unions as well as political parties.

The proposal would not have impacted 3.26 crore EPFO subscribers drawing statutory wage of upto Rs 15,000 per month. Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has a total subscriber base of 3.7 crore.

(With Agency Inputs)

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