Skip to main content

Forfeited before realizing: Demographic dividend’s potential and reality in India

By IMPRI Team 

Demographic dividend is an important socio-economic factor which has the potential to aid the country towards progress and prosperity. It is hotly debated but has lost its relevance and presence in the larger public discourse. As part of its #WebPolicyTalk series, The State of Population and Development #PopulationAndDevelopment, #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, organized the panel discussion on Forfeited Before Realizing: Demographic Dividend’s Potential & Reality In India.
Mr. Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg, Germany; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI was the moderator for this discussion. He explained the concept of Working Age Ratio (WAR) and stated how the WAR can be highest for India in the 2020-40 period. He even mentioned the right conditions required for realizing a demographic dividend which includes education and health. Thus, Mr. Singh set the premise for the further discussion.

Story of demographic dividend: Indian context

Professor P.M. Kulkarni is a Demographer and a retired professor of Population studies at JNU University, New Delhi. He briefly explained the phenomena of demographic dividend and how it was founded by East Asian Tigers and rapid economic growth in East Asian countries. He iterated that the window of a demographic dividend is not planned and not included in Policy action plans but it can be controlled by steep decline in fertility rates and higher labor force participation rate.
When dependency ratios are less than the working age population then the conditions are favorable for the demographic window to be open. Professor also depicts the favorable demographic dividend through graphical representation and shows how for India the next 45-50 years are most favourable.A comparison with China is done in order to contrast its early dividend and display its long time period of window and low dependency ratio.
A region-wise division shows a stark contrast between the southern states who have reached the dividend earlier than Central states. The population growth is also supposed to fall after 2061 and the teenage population would decline. He later concluded by saying that India should find ways to combat challenges like Inter-state migration which hinder us from taking a benefit of the dividend.

The number game of working age population

Dr. Neha Jain is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). She elaborated more upon the Demographic opportunity and the two stages that can be expected in India. She also showed the relationship between the increase of the working age population to a proportionate rise in economic growth. She also applied the regression based inequality decomposition model to display the variation among states in the working age population. The demographic opportunity window in India is only 30 years which is comparatively low as per Dr Jain.
Post that, the aging burden would increase. She also listed out the various challenges and hurdles in managing this demographic dividend such as dwindling investment in education, low life expectancy rate and poor quality of governance. The rapid pace of aging in India in comparison to other countries like France is also a huge barrier in realizing the true benefits of the demographic dividend.

Employment growth and industrial policy: challenge for Indian States

Professor Jayan Jose Thomas is a Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He commenced by showing how India is a leading contributor in the working age population in the world in the 2010-2020 period. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu run the risk of ‘growing old before getting rich’ because of declining fertility rates. He hinted at an increase of 4.5 million jobs per year in the industry, construction and services sector as there is a gradual exit from the agriculture sector.
The employment challenge is of serious concern for states having a younger population as the actual rate of job creation is unable to match the rising rate of job seekers in the economy. This would create competition between workers and reduce their bargaining strength thus affecting the most vulnerable sections amongst the workers.
The ranking of states on ‘Ease of doing Business’ is based on cheap land and labor which in return do not create a labor conducive environment. Low wages depress demand and constrain growth and employment creation. Giving a case study example of Kerala, he explained the demand-supply mismatch in the labor market. He concluded by explaining the challenges in formulating an industrial policy which requires creating knowledge intensive industries which would require huge investments in infrastructure. However, limited financial resources pose a challenge for the same.

Comparison with China: A grim reality for India

Professor Santosh Mehrotra is a Visiting Professor at the Center for Development Studies at University of Bath, UK. He has also written a book on the same topic titled ‘Realizing Demographic Dividend’. He began by explaining why China’s demographic dividend was longer, mainly pointing out their early exit from agriculture. He highlights the ignorance of policymakers and academicians from the manufacturing sector and its ability to create unskilled jobs.
According to him, the alarming rate at which number of unemployed people are growing is also a cause of concern. He stated that 85% of the working age population in China and 90% in South Korea possess technical education and vocational training as compared to less than 5% in India.

Summing up

Mr. Devendra Singh concluded the Panel discussion by presenting the final statements and summary of the discussion. He recognized the poor preparation and extremely low rates of investment in education and healthcare which was echoed by the panelists as well. He mentioned about the worrisome learning outcomes in school, absolutely no vocational training and dismal number of women in the workforce as some of the biggest barriers in realizing the dividend. He also listed out the social security issues for the older population and low-quality of migration from Northern states to Southern states as concerning situations as well.
He concluded by saying that there is no urgency in high focus states as the 6 northern-central states would hone 2/3rds of the population growth. It remains to be seen what policy interventions are put into place to improve the quality of education and healthcare. Finally, he said that we would have a limited and skewed demographic dividend out of the potential moderate overall dividend. This would consist of upper-middle-class urban young people who are healthier, better educated and highly skilled and would be able to gain skilled jobs in India or abroad.
---
Acknowledgement: Manush Shah, Research intern, IMPRI

Comments

TRENDING

This activist played a monumental role in cases related to environmental issues

By Ekansh Agarwal, Pooja Agarwal, Shubham Tripathi, Sachin Uttarwar, Himani Rathod*  Rohit Prajapati is an environmentalist and has set up a voluntary organization named Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, which is a voluntary organization. Rohit calls his organization a people's movement that constantly raises voices against different environmental issues. Rohit believes that environmental problems are not only constrained to preventing pollution and proper disposal of wastes but should be seen holistically. He believes that social activists can never work in isolation and must work with the community to pressure the authorities to take corrective actions, and the only way to work with the community is to raise the issues that benefit the community at large. Hence, he also tries to raise the issue of social importance along with environmental issues. When asked what he thinks about the current norms and regulations of CPCB and SPCB, he said that the existing standards and regulations are

Complaints of adverse impacts due to COVID vaccine should be settled efficiently

By Bharat Dogra  In recent weeks it has been proved beyond doubt that mass COVID vaccination among women and girls has led to a massive disruption of menstrual cycle and more particularly to excess bleeding among them. A scientific paper that has been widely cited in this context is titled ‘Invesigating trends in those who experience menstrual bleeding changes after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination’. This paper authored by Katherine M.N.Lee et al was published in ‘Science Advances’ dated 15 July, 2022. According to this survey, as many as 42% of those with regular menstrual cycle bled more heavily than usual. Earlier in March another paper in the International journal of Women’s Health written by Nadia Muhaidat had reportd tht 66 per cent of women had experienced menstrual abnormalities after vaccination. In September 2021 the British Medical Journal had proposed that a link between excessive bleeding and COVID vaccination was plausible, adding that such complaints are being increasingly receive

Endless wait for pension for India's 60 million unorganized sector senior citizens

By Bharat Dogra  The most important support needed by elderly persons is for regular and adequate pensions. Only about 10 per cent of senior citizens in India have access to regular and reasonable pensions. They are mostly those who have served in the civil government, armed forces and related parts of the formal sector. For the remaining over 90 per cent of senior citizens, pensions either do not exist, or else are irregular, uncertain or extremely inadequate. The pensions for this unorganized sector are provided mainly by the National Social Assistance Program or NSAP (and to a lesser extent by some other programs). Out of the nearly 82 million elderly citizens in this informal sector, this scheme of the Union Government manages to reach just about 22 million people. Many eligible and selected persons have been denied pension due to insistence on Aadhar and biometric recognition, various irregularities and other factors. Thus around 60 million elderly people are still waiting to ge

World appreciates Bangladesh’s relative stability amidst global inflation, Ukraine war

By Samina Akhter*  Due to the Ukraine-Russia war after the corona epidemic, the whole world is suffering from economic recession. In various countries of the world, the value of currency is falling, inflation is increasing. One country after another is going bankrupt. At that time, Bangladesh is slowly taking steps to understand the situation. After overcoming the crisis, Sheikh Hasina's country is running on a positive trend of economy. And the media of different countries of the world are praising this. World media is talking about Sheikh Hasina and her country. According to a report of Thailand's Bangkok Post, Bangladesh will not have a crisis like Sri Lanka. According to a report of the Financial Times of India, the economy of Bangladesh is stable even in the global recession. On the other hand, the report of The Express Tribune of Pakistan said to Pakistanis, learn from Sheikh Hasina. He is the pride of Bangladesh. The highlights of these reports are as follows: The crisis

Do or die? August revolution and India's ruling class: hard facts as seen by Dr Lohia

By Prem Singh  "Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: 'Do or Die'. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge." (Excerpt from Gandhiji's speech at the All-India Congress Committee meeting) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia wrote a long letter to the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, on March 2, 1946. That letter is important and was appreciated by Gandhiji. The letter brings out the brutal and conspiratorial character of British imperialism. Lohia wrote that letter from jail. After playing an underground role for 21 months in the Quit India Movement, Lohia was arrested in Bombay on 10 May 1944. He was imprisoned first in Lahore F

Steve Otto strived to unite different trends of Communist camp, confronted dogmatism

By Harsh Thakor  One of my closest comrades Steve Otto, expired last week while sitting on the porch of his house. Some months ago, he lost his wife Cammy. He ran blogs ‘Ottos War Room’ and ‘Idiot Factor.’ I may not have personally met him but I don't have words to express my sense of loss at his demise and my gratitude for his support to my work. A writer who dipped his pen for service of the oppressed peoples. Few have ever been so supportive to me, giving such a platform to project my view. Such figures create avenues for young writers to blossom in the revolutionary movement. In hardest times, he helped me stand afloat. I deeply admire how he supported my writings on struggles in Punjab, Naxalbari, Maoism and progressive cultural activists, Hindi film actresses and actors, philosophers and swimming. Overall he was manifestation of the Marxist revolutionary as a spiritual being, revealing a subtle human touch. Steve portrayed why a Marxist or Maoist was creative. I recommend eve

GN Saibaba's book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating India's parliamentary system

By Harsh Thakor  “Why Do You Fear Me So Much: Poems and Letters from Prison” by Professor G.N.Saibaba portrays the sheer inhumanity prevailing within prison walls in India, illustrating the barbaric jail practices. It is the best illustration of how genuine activists are falsely fabricated in India today ,with the judiciary virtually a tool or completely subservient to the ruling classes. The book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating the parliamentary system at height unscaled, laws passed similar to colonial times. We get an insight into how spiritually the resolve of a political prisoner to combat fascism is further intensified within the confines of prison walls. The book illustrates the death defying courage of Professor Saibaba and his wife Vasantha Kumari in bearing the situation. It is the voice of all the oppressed people of India. A mascot for all revolutionary democrats confronting proto-fascism. Introduction In the Introduction Vasantha’s letter to Sai is published. H

Wickremesinghe should know: Sri Lanka has nothing to gain by declaring support to China

By NS Venkataraman*  There appears to be a unanimous view in Sri Lanka and other countries that appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President of Sri Lanka is the best decision that has happened in the present turbulent time in Sri Lanka. Ranil Wickremesinghe has served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka six times and he has not completed full term even once and is not generally recognised as an exceptional administrator. However, he has been recognised as a reliable and decent and least controversial person by popular view and that is perhaps why governance of Sri Lanka has been handed over to him. Except a few professional demonstrators in Sri Lanka, the country is, by and large, willing to support him if he would take appropriate policy decisions and implement them in a pragmatic way. This is a good situation as far as it goes. Obviously, the priority for Ranil Wickremesinghe is to retrieve Sri Lankan economy from the present mess, which implies that he should ensure tha

Presence of supremos in political parties does not allow young leaders to grow

By Sudhansu R Das  Democracy in India is not serving people well due to the absence of morally and intellectually strong leaders who can highlight the basic problems of the people with elaborate details. The majority of the opposition leaders as well as those who are ruling are too much obsessed with narrow caste, language, region, religion, ideology and turncoat politics to gain power; they spend less time to collect authentic information about issues like water scarcity, poor education, unemployment, price rise, food adulteration, corruption and lack of affordable quality health care facility etc which adversely affect human development in their own districts. Though the opposition leaders can’t make laws, they can contribute to formulate sound policies through powerful debates and public contact. First, the leaders should take up Padyatra to know people closely. The more they walk and live with people the more they will learn about people’s real problems. “Gandhi and Health @ 150&qu

Role of indigenous women in preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge

A report on a webinar on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on “Tribal Development: Policies and Challenges” organised by In-Minds Society and Anthro International: *** International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was observed in Srinagar on August 9. The theme for this year’s World Tribal Day was “The Role of Indigenous Women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge”. On the occasion, In-Minds Society and Anthro International organised a webinar entitled “Tribal Development: Policies and Challenges” in which Research Scholars, Professors, subject experts, students, civil society and indigenous people from different parts of the country participated. Speakers in the panel included Irfan Ali Banka, Dr. Abdul Khabir, Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat, Dr. Javaid Rahi and CEO Anthro International. The role of indigenous women in preserving tribal culture, developing and promoting uses of natural products, integration of traditional knowledge and pra