Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vanishing Opportunity

Thus the promise of demographic divined for India is fading fast. We are a country with 50% of its population below aged 26 but we rank very low on the global human capital index. This indicates that India’s not able to make use of its human resource. China, on the other hand, does a far better job in developing its human capital which has helped it to emerge as a strong economic power.

There are many worrying data points such as period children spend in school. The American kids spend 13.6 mean years in school wereas the Chinese and India children spend 7.9 and 5.8 years respectively. India’s has a smaller proportion of population working or looking for work (52.5%), while the Chinese have 70.7% and the US has 62.8%. The youth not in employment, education or training in India is a high 72.5%. Our public spending on education is only 3.8% as compared to 5.4% US.  

We have a grim job situation looming ahead of jobless growth. A sea of negative numbers is coming to light. Manufacturing, which accounts for 18% of the GDP and which directly employs 12% of the population, could have absorbed the growing number of young persons had they been trained technically. The problem of unemployment is looming day by day and is getting worse because of the India economy’s inability to generate jobs to those who entre the labour market. Even our youth literacy rate of 89% is well behind other leading emerging markets. India also has the world’s largest employment gender gap.

Even though many who are making policies are aware of these facts, we have not seen any concerted effort to retain the demographic dividend. This calls for joint action between the centre and the states. Since no one feels the felt need to do anything about it, the buck is being passed around and bandaids like the formation skilled development ministry with poor leadership are done half – heartedly. Time had come to deal with the issue on a mission mode. A joint central – state high power body of eminent and experienced people with executive powers should be set up with defined outcome target. Without concrete measures, the many advantages of being a young nation with the nodal age of 27 years would be lost forever. 


Prof. K. K. Krishnan
Chairperson - CCR &
Prof. Centre for Insurance & Risk Management
Birla Institute of Management Technology