The Demographic Structure of the Indian Society

The Demographic Structure of the Indian Society

Question

Do you think the changing age structure will offer a domographic dividend for India?

Answer

As the age structure of the population indicates, India is one of youngest countries in the world. We have seen from census of 2001 that age-group of 15-59 years is 59% of the total population while it is 34% in case of 0-4 years age group and 7% in 60 + years. It is a position that provides a demographic dividend because India has a vast work-force of youth. As India's one-third population was below 15 years i.e. in 0-14 year age group in 2000, it will attain 29 years age in 2020 while in case of China and USA it will 37, in Western Europe it will 45 and in Japan it will attain 48 years. Thus, India with remain more youth than these countries. This implies a large and growing labour force which can deliver unexpected benefits in terms of growth and prosperity.

No doubt, therefore, it is favourable position of age structure yet this work force can bring amazing prosperity to India only if they are provided with productive education and employment within the country. In absence of education, their productivity will remain lower and if they remain unemployed, then they are unable to earn at all and become dependent rather than earners.

Hence, we can stat that mere change in age structure can not guarantee any benefits unless it is properly utilised through planned development. In our country, dependency ratio is worked out by working out working age and non-working age population while it should be worked out by taking in account, the ratio of non-workers to workers. We see that dependency ratio in terms of workers and non-workers in India has fallen from 79 in 1970 to 64 in 2005 but age based dependency ratio is projected to fall to 48 in 2025 due to continued fall in the proportion of children in the total population and it will rise to 50 by 2050 because of an increase inthe proportion of the aged people viz. they will till then become old.

As data from to National Sample Survey Studies of 1999-2000 say and census of 2001 reveals, the growth of employment between 1987 and 1994 for rural and urban youth was recorded 2.4% while it was fallen to 0.3% between 1994 and 2004. Hence, it can not be hoped that this demographic dividend would be utilised and exploited in India for her prosperity and growth.

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