Sunday, July 15, 2012

India's growing population - asset/liability?

A year ago, i had the privilege of reading a book titled 'Imagining India'. I am not a voracious reader, and if i count the books i have read until now, perhaps the number might be lesser than my fingers (excluding those of my legs). But after reading the book i was sure of one thing - those were the best ~80 hours spent until now. Yes, i did take ~80 hours to read it, don't judge me on my speed; I told you I'm a rookie. 
The book was a breath of fresh air amidst all the criticism and pessimism that we are surrounded by in our country today. Most of us had(and still have) this notion that the root cause of all the problems in our country is our ever growing population. True that, but it's also true that it will be one of the mysterious weapons that will help us fulfill our dream of becoming the world super-power. If right now you're thinking I'm just a foolish optimist and if you don't trust me, grab hold of the book - Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani. I gladly endorse this book and if you're skeptical of our country's growth, it's a must read.
This book motivated me to go onto Google and search for current as well as future unemployment- and population-related statistics of India. To my astonishment, Nandan was right, and our government has realized the same potential in our youth, too. Let me jot down a handful of statistics that amazed me : (Click on Read More to read more...)

  • Currently, India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan. : If this turns out to be a reality, which it will, imagine the workforce that India will have compared to the most developed nations around the world. The prospects of having such a young population are humongous if used appropriately.
  • By 2014, up to 25% of world's new workers will be Indian. : If we are able to provide quality education and provide proper vocational skilling to all our youth, imagine the impact that Indians will have on the world. Our workforce and brainpower will drive the most advanced economies. 
  •  In the next two decades, Indian population will add over 200 million people to India's working age(not overall) - between 18 to 60 years - population. Much more than any other country in the world. Even China, seen as the mother lode of the global economy this century, will see its workforce shrink by about 100 million by 2030. : That's an addition of 200,000,000 people to our workforce.
  • Dr. C.K.Pralhad says "Double-digit growth in India will see light only if the country is able to make available 200 million graduates and 500 million skilled people by 2022". : 500 million skilled people by 2022...that is 50 million(5 crore) skilled people every single year! Right now, we produce just 3 million(30 lakh) skilled people each year through various organizations.
If you wish to see more such eye-opening statistics, you can visit websites such as this or even this.

At a recent Skills Summit, Mr. Kapil Sibal, Union HRD minister provided a great set of statistics which show how we need to roll up our sleeves and work at a war-level. He said, "Let me just you give you a perspective of the task we are confronted with. There are about 40 million children who reach class 9th to 12th every year and this is with the existing 56% dropout rate. With the Right to Education Act, we hope by 2020 there will be 100% retention of students in class 12. Let’s assume that this number of 40 million will go up to just 50 million in the next 10 years, which means we will have 500 million children moving out of class 12. Our gross enrollment ratio on children aged 18 to 24 years who enter college is 15% at present. Let’s assume that we are able to take that up to 30%. This means that by 2022, there will be 150 million people out of these 500 million who will actually go to colleges while the rest 350 million will not". Now that looks scary, isn't it? Imagine if even half of those 350 million cannot go to college, while they should, we would have missed the opportunity to strengthen our workforce by a considerable amount. 

Today there are various organizations, under the umbrella of NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation), working towards making our youth skilled and employable. If things fall into place and if efforts by such organizations bear fruit, our dream of having a Shining India can indeed become a reality. If not, then our country will be thrown into a social upheaval. We would have lost a golden opportunity! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

No comments:

Post a Comment