Realising India?s Demographic Dividend

By Cearet Sood

India has been a very demographically rich country, it is the second most populous country in the world, containing about 17.5% of the world’s population. This ever increasing population could be compared to the two sides of a coin. It could be beneficial or may prove to be a hindrance in the path of development, depending on how well the potential of it is realised. 

This population, where youth dominates, where the median age is just 26, could make India a superpower, if the right policies are implemented at the right time. With majority being youth, one would tend to think that India could well be on it’s way to economic growth as more youth would lead to more productivity and thus more jobs. However, it is quite not simple as that. The basic problem lies in the fact that there is a huge gap between what is demanded and what is being supplied. 

There is disequilibrium between labour supply and labour demand. Around 81.1% of our youth is educated and have obtained their Bachelors and Masters degrees are not able to find jobs, mainly because of the quality of education being imparted in our schools and institutions of higher learning. People do not learn skill development here, just the bookish knowledge, which is of relatively less use in the real world. Less than 15% of the college graduates are job ready.  India’s workforce is expected to swell up to 1 billion by the year 2022, subsequently, there will be about 13 million Indians per year entering the workforce. 

 Another problem facing our workforce is training capacity. Our vocational and skills training system can give training to abut 4.4 million a year, which forms about a third of the workforce. Though, we are entering demographic dividend and China is exiting it, China has got it’s training system working well, around 90 million people can get trained there. People just do not have the kind of skills which are necessary to perform jobs. There is a ‘skill gap’ as about 15% of the workforce has marketable skills, whereas about 90% of the jobs here are skill based.

However, Narendra Modi, our current PM, is seen to taking this issue seriously. Having talked about it at length at the Madison Square Garden. He said that demographic dividend, along with democracy is our biggest strength. He has, for the same launched ‘Shrameva Jayante’, which will focus on skill development. He also unveiled new measures for the youth, workers and employers to improve ease of business for enterprises while expanding government support to impart skill training for workers. 

Let’s hope that these reforms work in the favour of our workforce and we achieve our greatest strength. 

Cearet Sood is a first year student studying Economics at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She likes to spend her time by reading books, whose genres range from social drama to thrillers to economics or by brushing up her general knowledge. She is a curious person, who wants to know more and more. She loves to participate in quizzes and paper presentations, where she gets different perspectives and views.  She’s a person who doesn’t talk much. An introvert, who doesn’t quite fit in, but she doesn’t want to.