United Nations: Youth are leading India's start-up ecosystem where the median age of founder-entrepreneurs is only 31 years, according to India's youth delegate at the UN.

Seema Punjani told the eighth Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum here on Tuesday that in India, one of the youngest nations in the world with a median age of only 29, youth "are overcoming challenges and shining bright in all walks of life".

India has the second largest start-up ecosystem in the world and youth are its leading force, she said.

As the significant segment of the electorate, Indian youth have the ability to influence policy-making in the country and the nation's implementation of the UN sustainable development goals, which is critical to their global success, she said.

The two-day ECOSOC Youth Forum on the theme, "Empowered, Included and Equal", brought together UN leaders, high-level government officials and youth representatives for a dialogue on the UN's sustainable development goals.

Punjani, who represented India, is a 2015 IFS officer, who is currently an under secretary in the External Affairs Ministry.

"Youth empowerment and inclusive social development are at the heart of flagship programmes of the government of India that seek to target gender equality, increased access to financial services, digital connectivity, skill development and higher education, universal health coverage, sanitation and housing for all," she said.

India is one of the first countries to launch a comprehensive reproductive and menstrual health programme for its 250 million adolescent population and so far 7,298 Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics established across the country have served about six million adolescents in a year, she said.

(Story by Arul Louis)