India has the world’s largest youth population with more than 41% of the population lying under the age of 20, half the population between the age group of 20-59 and only 9% is above the age of 60.
When we look at these statistics, it gives us a feeling of pride and confidence, doesn’t it? What if I tell you that over half of our work force is either illiterate or has not even completed their primary education. Scary, isn’t it? Something that we consider to be our biggest advantage is actually turning into a big liability. A lot has been said about India’s “Demographic Dividend” in the past few years but recently it has been brought into notice that chances are that soon it might become the greatest nightmare.
Let us first see why is this considered to be a dividend. In simple terms, if the working-age population is more, then the income generated in the country would be more. Also, lesser number of dependents means more savings and investments. These two major factors contribute in increasing the growth rate of the country. Is this what is happening currently? The answer is “No”.
Low level and quality of education has a significant impact on their employ-ability. Due to this, most of them are working in the informal sector which provides them enough to survive but not to save for future expenditures. Due to lack of savings and investments, by this portion of the population, which acts as a safety net for when they are older, enormous burden will get created on the government in future.
One of the solutions could be training them in a particular skill and help them get a better job. Government has taken various initiatives in this direction such as formation of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which catalyses creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions and programs like ‘Make in India’ are running which can help in minimizing the liability. Apart from this, there are many NGOs as well that are working in skill development and livelihood generation.
We, as responsible citizens, should understand the gravity of such issues, make efforts to create awareness among the target group.