India’s rising population has been a grave concern for the country’s growth. The 1.3 billion population contributes to about 17% of the world’s total, making it the 2nd most populous country in the world after China. In a few years, India will dethrone China to take the title of the most populous country in the world. (weforum.org)
The continuous rise in the population has made India younger. Currently the median individual age of the country is 29 years old making it one of the youngest countries in the world. At a time when leading economies like Europe, US, South Korea, Japan are ageing, India holds the advantage of having an increased working population. This demographic dividend is an asset that needs to be utilized. There is a need to tap into the country’s youth segment by educating and training them. By providing facilities like health, education and infrastructure, the focus should be to mobilize the large workforce that could drive India’s economic growth.
While improving quality of education and upskilling the work-force is one part, transition from schools to workspace needs to be faster. The huge population offers a bigger pool of human resource and in the past decade, the country has emerged as a major back office to the world with global firms outsourcing work to take advantage of the less expensive, skilled and English speaking workforce. But with the fourth Industrial Revolution ringing at the door, most of the skills will soon become obsolete and there is a dire need to create more employment opportunities in new areas. Some areas where there can be focus on are - electronics and mobile manufacturing, solar technology, deep technology and core manufacturing.
The actions need to be taken faster. India’s young population won’t remain young for long. There is a need to become richer faster than we become older. By 2036, the proportion of people below the age of 24 will fall to 34.7% from over 50% in 2011 (Livemint). The median age will also jump to 35 by 2036. India has a limited time window to harness this dividend and absorb it into its workforce. The ageing population will have its own consequences such as loss of productivity in the workforce, dependence on socio-economic life, and need for wider social security coverage.
The Road Ahead
The government in the past few years have come out with multiple initiatives to harness the dividend and upskill the population.
Skill India Initiative
The chief objective of the Skill India Mission is to provide market-relevant skills training to more than 40 crore young people in the country by the year 2022.
New Education Policy
The government has rolled out much required reforms in the education sector by revamping the curriculum and making it more holistic. Equal footing has been deployed to education, co-curricular, extra-curricular and vocational activities. This will empower our youth to go after their interest and make them well rounded individuals.
The public schemes targeting the poor need to be implemented properly and honestly because after that it would be easy to bring the large chunk of the country’s population into national mainstream so that they are able to play a decisive role in nation building.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 PGupta0919
PGupta0919 (author) on April 22, 2021:
Yes, India is already working towards turning this pool into an asset.
Kalpana Iyer from India on April 22, 2021:
Interesting thoughts. Population is a big problem in India. Hopefully, we will come up with a solid resolution for it soon.