Introducing Mumbai’s youth to the workings of government
“The initiative focuses on deepening young people’s understanding of government while bridging the chasm that so many young Indians feel between themselves and decision makers “
Access to government is not only about direct communication with individual members of the legislature. Particularly for young people, it’s also about having access to the process itself – understanding who is making law and how. Introducing young people to the political process gives them a sense of agency and, along with that, responsibility. For the last five years, Milind’s Youth Parliament programme has aimed to do just that.
The initiative focuses on deepening young people’s understanding of government while bridging the chasm that so many young Indians feel between themselves and decision makers in New Delhi. The core of the programme is a mock legislative assembly comprised entirely of South Mumbai students who are then presented with local, national and international issues. Within law-making bodies that approximate the form and organization of the central government, students formulate laws to confront those issues, thereby fostering a first-hand understanding of government processes and developing habits of mind to consider important issues with a clear and open mind.
A chance to interact with lawmakers
In 2013, students visited the residences of Vice President Dr. K. Hamid Ansari, and of the Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, Mr. Sachin Pilot. They visited the offices of NDTV to speak with Dr. Prannoy Roy, Co-founder and Executive Chairperson, and with Mrs. Sonia Singh, Editorial Director of NDTV. These visits not only gave human faces to the people in prominent positions of power, but also gave the students an opportunity to ask their questions directly.
Milind’s Youth Parliament initiative has grown over the years into an essential feature on Mumbai’s calendar and a powerful tool for introducing young people to the day-to-day realities behind the forces that shape their world and their perceptions. With that introduction, Milind has also paved the way for a new generation of educated, informed, passionate lawmakers.