We have entered a glorious time period in which there is scope for tremendous growth thanks to the shift in our population’s age structure. Today, the working population in India (15-64 age group) is more in number than the depended population. This is called a demographic dividend.
However, there is also a tiny possibility that this population dividend can go about underutilized due to one reason or another. Between 2016 and 2021, the working age population has increased by 11.22 crore but the total labour force has fallen by 2.99 crore. What could be the causes?
- Investment to Gross Domestic Product ratio is dipping. In 2011-2012: investment was 34.31% of the GDP. In 2020-2021: investment is 30.91% of the GDP. A record low. Therefore, with a lower investment in new businesses, fewer jobs are being created.
- Demonetisation and improperly implemented GST are partly to blame. Intention of both the initiatives may have been good but none can deny the damage they both caused to small businesses in the country.
- Every year in March we celebrate Women’s day but it is a deeply distressing fact that their participation in labour force is abysmal. Less number of jobs is as much to blame as our patriarchal society.
- The rate of unemployment increases with the number of years of education, with one in every five graduates being unemployed.
- Large multinational companies are setting up their factories in countries like Vietnam, Laos, Philippines and Indonesia while India is missing out. There is cut-throat competition for private as well government jobs.
If we wish to take advantage of our demographic dividend, 5 things will be necessary:
- People should start raising the key issue of unemployment with much more sincerity
- Only 3% of total GDP is being infused into our education system. That has to increase.
- Time to stop hoarding degrees and look to master more skills. Thanks to internet, that has become easier than ever.
- Inequalities like caste-inequality, urban-rural inequality must be reduced fast so that everyone has equal opportunity.
- Due to lower female participation, we have lost as much as 1.4 trillion to 2.8 trillion in our economy. More women must participate in the work force.