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A Letter To The Prime Minister

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A Letter To The Prime Minister

  1. 1. www.18minus.org +91 998 605 1097 To, The Prime Minister 7, Race Course Road New Delhi 1 January 2015 Dear Sir Subject: Include the minors to create a truly democratic India! Today, as India stands on the cusp of history, she is passing on the reigns of her chariot to the rising generation with the paramount responsibility to evolve a developing nation into a developed one. My name is Chanakya Varma, and I am the cofounder of 18minus, an organization that aims to provide a platform to the 500 million strong under- eighteen population of India, which is often excluded from the citizen engagement process, as we are merely ineligible to vote. 18minus believes that each opinion contributes in its own small way to building a more inclusive and developed India. Founded in March ’14, 18minus has taken up the two-pronged mission of creating a nationwide awareness amongst the non-voting populace – whether it is the “tabooed” topics of rape and homosexuality, to the legal nuances of filing an RTI – and then taking the opinions and solutions proposed by this audience forward. Today, 18minus is active in over six cities worldwide and has a core team of over 40 high schoolers all over India and beyond. We strongly believe that age is no bar when it comes to nation building. Sir, given your Government’s emphasis on a Digital India, we feel that e- governance can prove to be an extremely important opportunity for citizen engagement. Today, India has the most number of teenagers registered on any social network, and this number is only increasing. 18minus plans to use this online presence in a way to strengthen democracy and reinforce the belief that democracy is truly “of the people, for the people and by the people.” We propose the expansion of Digital India to include a national political social network – “Soch”, which would comprise only of “18minus” users. Here, debates on trending topics of national importance will be curated in an attempt to: a. create an awareness and induce a critical approach toward current events so as to create a more active and aware populace; b. identify who among the youth has the potential and aptitude to contribute constructively towards better policy making. The relative success of each user will be measured by his or her Change Quotient (C.Q.). The aim of this will be to identify twenty thinkers for a new India,
  2. 2. www.18minus.org +91 998 605 1097 each of who will be mentored by a Union Ministry for a period of one fiscal year. These twenty teenagers will represent the interest of the entire non-voting population, and be members of the third house, the “Bal Sabha” – House of the Young. They would not only gain exposure to the inner workings of governance, but also contribute back by providing a fresh perspective. I understand that this is by no means an easy task, but I feel that if India – the world’s largest democracy – takes this step forward, then we can truly say that politics has evolved since its days in Ancient Greece. With this is mind, 18minus, along with the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) co-hosted Jagriti 2014. With over sixty students taking part from all across Bangalore, Jagriti was truly a convention of thinkers as students discussed, dissected and resolved hotly debated issues, proving to the world that they were indeed, old enough to make a difference. In Rajneeti, the Youth Parliament, youngsters donned the robes of various parliamentarians and discussed the pertinent issue of inclusion of mandatory sex education in high school curriculum. The students drafted a comprehensive recommendation, entailing the economic, biological, cultural and legal aspects of the agenda at hand. Another event was Sandesh, in which students had to write a letter to the Prime Minister from certain perspectives, such as “an unborn girl child” or “a fish swimming in the polluted waters of the Ganges.” The students displayed an immense grasp of the problems plaguing society, but more importantly, proposed solutions that were truly well beyond their years. I have attached the scanned copies of the same and request them to peruse through them and give your valuable feedback. As Bangalore has seen from Jagriti, we children have a mature and focused approach to policy and governance. Our opinions are certainly not frivolous or baseless, but instead, well supported by thoughtful reason. India has a great chance to leave a footprint on the international community as far as true inclusivity is concerned. I, along with many other children, dream of leading the country to new frontiers, and we at 18minus believe that Soch is the way forward. Yours truly, Chanakya Varma Cofounder and CEO 18minus
  3. 3. “Mahatma Gandhi looking at India 2014” 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  4. 4. 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  5. 5. 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  6. 6. “A graduate student who has been unable to find a job for over a year” 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  7. 7. 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  8. 8. “A patient that can not afford to be treated at a private hospital and must resort to incompetent and understaffed government ones” 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners
  9. 9. 18minus Archives - Jagriti 2014 - Sandesh Winners

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