With the continuous rise in the young Indian population, India is growing younger. There is a “demographic dividend” that needs to be exploited. As per the findings of the ‘State of the Urban Youth, India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills,’ a report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, every third person in an Indian city today is a youth. In about seven years, the median individual age in India will be 29 years, very likely a city-dweller, making it the youngest country in the world.
No discussion in India about the environment, health, employment, and various other issues can be carried away by skipping the burning issue of the rising population. With a 1.2 Billion population (17% of the entire world population) India is the second most populated country after the People’s Republic of China. However, set to be utilized in a channelized manner Indian Population will prove to be a valuable asset rather than a liability.
Rising population and asset, how?
The youth segment of India’s population is growing rapidly and is projected to continue to do so for the next 30 years. This demographic dividend has the potential to inject new dynamism into the country’s flagging economy if the state acts quickly on health, education, and employment. Right now more than 50% of India’s population is below 25 which can be tapped for all-around socio-economic growth of the nation as the young workforce has more innovative minds.
Except for China, no country in the world has such big manpower as India has which is indeed a blessing for the country. Such a huge and skilled manpower coupled with resources needs to be regarded as an asset. The huge population offers a bigger pool of human resources and hence a bigger consumer market. Our population will remain our strength only when we have the power, strength, and will to feed the people, provide them clothing and shelter, good education, health care, and jobs. In the past decade, India has emerged as a major back office to the world with global firms outsourcing work to take advantage of the country’s less expensive, educated, young English-speaking workforce. India produces 2.5 million IT, engineering and life sciences graduates a year, besides about 650,000 postgraduates in science and IT-related subjects. The IT sector alone employs about 850,000 graduates and professionals while the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are snapping up others.
Near about 402 million Indians are aged between 15 and 59 – the working-age – and this number is expected to grow to 820 million by 2020.
For the all-round progress of a large nation, its entire population must contribute significantly to diverse areas and sectors of the economy. A talented and hard-working population can easily emerge as a source of national development. A country like India can use vast natural resources coupled with huge manpower to make the country progress in the right direction. In India, there are more workers than dependents, which is good for the development of any economy.
How to channelize the continuously rising population?
No capital in the world can substitute human capital, the Indian state and the government need to properly utilize its skilled and talented population. There is a need for an increase in employment opportunities in the rural areas to make productive use of people’s skills. We cannot talk about the rising population without taking into account the problems of corruption, poverty, and illiteracy which go hand in hand and have been creating hurdles in the country’s progress as a whole. There is a need for the implementation of the government schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the rural areas at a massive scale so that more and more people can join the national mainstream. There is no doubt that India has one of the most highly skilled populations and these skills need to be used for employment generation.
There is a need to make the rural population of the country more and more literate and bring them out of poverty. The schools in the villages need to be made more developed with the curriculum and education system matching with that of the schools in the cities. The schemes like Mid Day meal need to be implemented properly and honestly and the education system in the rural areas should be made more attractive so that the rural children are attracted towards studies. The public schemes targeting the poor need to be implemented properly and honestly because after that it would be easy to bring a large chunk of the country’s population into the national mainstream so that they can play a decisive role in nation-building. There is a need for various job schemes in the interior regions where there is not much industrial activity.
The advantages of such a large population can be had for the making the country more developed and to achieve these goal policies must be made to harness the potential of country’s youth population, which will certainly help in galloping the economy ahead in the double digits. A huge population creates demand which is also a major indicator of the economic growth of a country. The need is to provide the right share of employment opportunities, education, a proper meal, and a corruption-free environment.