NEW DELHI: India’s much-vaunted demographic dividend — its ace in the hole to vault itself into the community of developed nations — might run out in just a decade, a report from SBI Research warned on Wednesday. If India fails to take advantage of this huge, young workforce by then, it may well turn into a disadvantage, the report added.
Making the observations after analysing school enrolment trends across the country, SBI Research pointed out that states that have reduced birth rates have begun to see an increase in the proportion of senior citizens. The population growth trend indicates that incremental population growth has been stagnant in the last two decades at approximately 18 crores, and fertility rates are quite diverse across states.
“The population of Karnataka is ageing with less number of babies born. In 1971, there was only 17.9 lakh (6.1 per cent of total population) 60+ population in Karnataka which has increased to whopping 57.9 lakh (9.5 per cent of total population) according to the census of 2011,” it said.
While this is seen in an increase in the demand for private schools, with such populations becoming richer and hench able to afford better options for their children. “There is a larger picture here. How will the Karnataka government handle this problem of ageing? We believe this is a problem across other states too and India’s strength of demographic dividend could actually turn into India’s advantage by 2030,” SBI Research warned.
“The moot point of this discussion,” concludes the report, “is that India has perhaps now only a limited window of a decade to get into the developed country tag, or stay perpetually in emerging group of economies. Policymakers, wake up and smell the coffee!”
According to analysts, India currently sits on a demographic “gold mine”, with Deloitte India observing last year that India has a median population age of 27.3 years compared to that of 35 years for China and around 47 years for Japan.