dmpq-India has the opportunity to harness it’s demographic dividend to bolster it’s economic progress.” Comment.

A nation’s growth requires the productive contribution of all segments of society, particularly the children and the youth, who need to be provided opportunities for self-expression.  Household and national investments in children and youth yield long-term returns in terms of high productivity of the economically active population till they enter the elderly cohort.

Currently, India’s population is among the youngest in an ageing world, however, a major proportion of India’s population will be aged by 2050. This calls for more forward-looking policies incorporating population dynamics, education and skills, healthcare, gender sensitivity, and providing rights and choices to the younger generation so they can contribute up to their maximum potential in the nation’s economic growth in future.

As fertility declines, the share of the young population falls and if this decline is rapid, the increase in the population of working ages is substantial, yielding the ‘demographic dividend’. The smaller share of children in the population enables higher investment per child. Therefore, the future entrants in the labour force can have better productivity and thus boost income.

With falling fertility (currently 2.0), the median age of India has risen from 24 years in 2011 to 29 years now and is expected to be 36 years by 2036. With a falling dependency ratio (expected to decrease from 65% to 54% in the coming decade taking 15-59 years as the working age population), India is in the middle of a demographic transition.

India’s demographic transition provides a window of opportunity towards faster economic growth. Although, in India, the benefit to the GDP from demographic transition has been lower than its peers in Asia and is already tapering. Countries like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have adopted forward-looking policies to empower the youth in terms of education, skills and health choices and achieved incredible economic growth. This points towards the urgency to take appropriate policy measures.

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