Taking forward the cooperation agreement between India and Saudi Arabia signed during the visit of King Abdullah to India in January 2006, the two nations have agreed to hold bilateral exchange programs involving students, youth, and sportspersons.
An Indian delegation led by Minister for Youth Affairs Mani Shankar Aiyar met with a Saudi delegation led by Prince Sultan bin Fahd in Saudi Arabia and discussed initiatives to further the memorandum of understanding signed during Abdullah's visit to India. Brainstorming multiple possibilities, the two sides agreed to create an institutional tie-up between Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Youth Development (RGIYD) and corresponding Saudi institutions. Further, an expert team is expected to visit Saudi Arabia in April to create specific programs between institutions to cover training and group exchange programs and specifically to cover soccer, volleyball, basterball, handball, athletics, and equestrian events.
Experts from both sides are also expected to form a Joint Committee which will meet in India during the first week of September and finalize details of the exchange programs. The Saudis will send a youth delegation during this meeting.
India has several youth programs but has been essentially non-productive in nature.
The Nehru Yuvak Kendras
was started in 1972 and claims to cover 2.16 lakh village level youth clubs and reach 80 lakh rural youth in the age group of 13-35. It also says that it develops 11,000 youth leaders from 2551 youth development centers and host 139 rural information technology youth development centers. It has also developed partnerships with several international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Save the Children, Child Line, etc. For its last 5-year plan, it received Rs. 826.09 crore (USD 187 million) it runs several programs that cost over Rs. 6500 (USD 147) a day and it is not clear how much of their budget allocation goes for administrative expense.
The RGIYD has most of its money in fixed deposits and its administrative expenses are 69% of its yearly program expenses. It does not even have an updated annual report on its website and the last one is 2004-2005. While it lists several objectives, its programs are grossly inadequate.
It is not clear if new initiatives will be funded or be used from the existing corpus in these youth programs.