Utilising Demographic Dividend
Today is the World Population Day. It is celebrated every July 11 to spread awareness about the exploding world population and the importance of reproductive health. The population of the world took thousand years to reach 1 billion mark and 200 years to increase seven times. Today it stands at a staggering level 7.7 billion now and predicted reach 11 billion in 2100. The population trends have far reaching implications for generations to come. The trends affect economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty and social protections. They also affect efforts to ensure access to health care, education, housing, sanitation, water, food and energy. But at the same time, human resource is the most important block for economic development.
India has one of the youngest populations in an ageing world. The median age in India is just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe, and 49 in Japan. Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependant population — children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age. This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning. Effectively tackling the challenges of poverty and skill deficit will make India set its name at the top charts because India is still young as the world is ageing. The youth has the potential to become a demographic dividend if the focus is paid to three important aspects or else it will become demographic deficit. Unemployed youth, beyond a threshold, can lose hope of a job and can easily stray into becoming unsocial elements because half education is more harmful than no education.
The three aspects are :
- Improve the quality of jobs by improving productivity in agriculture and in enterprises
- Align education, technical and vocational education and training to market demand
- Enduring and long-term investments in human capital through good-quality education and skills, and on-the-job training, as well as in basic social protection
But the most important point in the control of population has been the invention of the birth control pills. That is the single most empowering tool for women in India and all over the world. The right kind of policy intervention to promote family planning is important because above a certain level of threshold, it will become impossible to manage the balance between people and the planet.