Innovative Ways Of Leveraging India’s Demographic Dividend In The 21st Century
India must focus more on the positive side to bring out the best inside the youngest population. Let us not forget that India is the largest democracy in the world with youngest population and we can tap it to our nation’s own best advantage, provided the government draws the right roadmap for it and works accordingly
Time and again one reads many articles in the media expressing serious concern at the growing population explosion in the country and how it is adversely affecting our overall progress and hindering us from marching forward to a poverty-free society. Similarly on different news channels too, we keep hearing the same thing time and again, pondering over how to contain the rising population. This is the gravest problem afflicting India.
But there are many innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century and the only problem is that very few dare to think on this line. In this regard, what better example than our immediate neighbour China who in spite of being the most populated country in the world is growing by leaps and bounds and is set to overtake the USA soon to become the most powerful country in the world. This is all because they know how to leverage their demographic dividends to their own best advantage and spare no effort in taking all such measures to achieve what they want to achieve.
In this perspective, let me also pose few thought provoking questions. Why can’t India emulate China? Why can’t India develop innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century? Why can’t India employ huge army of unemployed youth for the benefit of our nation by employing them in the areas of their specialisation? Why can’t India train those youth not educated at all in such fields where literary education is not a must and where they can gainfully be employed and contribute meaningfully in India’s development and progress?
When India can dish away billions of rupees to foreign countries like Mongolia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc, then why can’t India employ its own unemployed youth to contribute to the betterment of our nation and in developing their skills in various fields? Why can’t India ensure that money instead of going in the pockets of corrupt politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, corrupt policemen, etc, which will thus be utilised for developing innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century, and which will take our nation miles and miles forward on the road to progress and prosperity? What is required is dead honest political leadership at the top, implementing seriously and in totality what our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi had once famously said, “Neither will I eat nor will I allow others to eat under me!”
India is all set to overtake China’s population by 2050 and many feel may be even earlier and one shudders to think of the consequences of such a population explosion. One, however, very strongly feels that instead of being overly concerned about the huge rise in population what we instead need to focus on is how to leverage this demographic dividend in taking India forward. This is exactly what our policymakers also need to focus on and sit together to draw the right strategy to develop innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century to India’s own best advantage.
Why can’t India employ many of its unemployed youth to become its agent to keep a tab on anti-national elements and know what their next plan of action is to destroy India? We all know that if our security is not updated, we will expose our ordinary people as sitting ducks to be preyed upon by various terror groups operating both from within and outside the country. To check it, India needs to employ more and more of such unemployed youths in trouble-torn areas like Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern states, etc, but this has not been done on a massive scale as ideally this should have been the case.
India must make ensure that more and more of its youths are sent to such foreign countries that are peaceful and where they can be gainfully employed so that they can settle down there and always make sure that the interests of India are always protected and can contribute more for India’s development in a positive manner. Needless to say, a large section of Indian population can be settled abroad by the cooperation of Centre and that is only going to serve our own national interests, which even Centre understands fully well. A separate department must be created to work actively in this regard.
What India lacks as compared to China is not only strong political will but also honest leaders who accord more priority to national interests as compared to their own national interests. Why can’t many unemployed youths be employed in so many constructive fields in which not only will they benefit by being gainfully benefitted but the whole nation will also be simultaneously benefitted? But for this to happen, a lot of political foresight and political will is needed, which we don’t see in the present circumstances.
This is not to suggest that nothing is going to change. I am an eternal optimist and therefore can never allow myself to be swayed away by pessimistic thoughts. What is needed is more nudging by like-minded progressive citizens so that Centre feels it obligatory to act immediately in this regard and develop more innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century.
How shameful that even small countries like Pakistan keeps pinching us time and again and yet we never retaliate strongly. India needs to increase its army and employ more soldiers on border areas so that we don’t get caught unaware as happened during the Kargil war in 1999 when Pakistan army and terrorists penetrated deep inside Indian territory and we lost many of our brave soldiers before we could finally win back the lost territory. Like China we need to employ unemployed youth to not only join the army but also in making of roads and railway stations and air force stations to ensure better connectivity, which is imperative if we want to give a strong reply to such hostile nations as Pakistan and China whenever they dare to challenge us or cross the line of control.
The best way to attract foreign investment in any country is when there is a surety that no terror attack or any other kind of attack will take place on those interested in doing business in India. This is the primary job of any government in power both at Centre and in States which they must fulfil with utmost dedication for herein lies the key to India’s success or failure story as an emerging economic superpower. For this to happen, more and more youth must be employed in police and all such services where they can meaningfully contribute to make sure that foreigners are able to work fearlessly without fear of any kind to their lives or their property or any fear of any kind.
There are many other fields where even illiterate youth can be gainfully employed such as cleaning of roads, railway stations and all other public places so that more and more foreigners are tempted to come to India deeply impressed by its cleanliness and this will bring in more money in our country and boost our economy to a great extent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly harped on cleanliness campaign but a lot more needs to be done so that more foreigners are attracted to come to India and for this to happen more and more youth must be employed to contribute their best in this direction. Just doing photo-ops session, which makes news headlines as we keep seeing repeatedly whenever PM Modi decides to spare some time for it without backing it up by necessary homework by employing more and more unemployed youth to work gainfully in this direction, will take us nowhere and we will keep seeing dirt, dirt and nothing but dirt everywhere as we see right now also. More efforts need to be done on the ground to make a real difference felt.
Centre and States must both deliberate and work unitedly on employing more and more such unemployed youth in all such areas where they can gainfully be employed and where there is a dire necessity like in making of roads, railway stations, factories, hospitals etc. Also, wherever the staff is inadequate as in hospitals and other necessary services, more recruitment must be done on a war footing to fill in the unnecessary gaps and render more effective services to patients and others. All this will go a long way in enhancing our image internationally and attract more and more foreigners to come to India thus boosting the economy and in reducing employment problem among youth, which is currently assuming Frankenstein monster proportions.
Not only this, the youth must be accommodated wherever they can be accommodated whether in India or abroad. This will most certainly prove to be the most innovative way of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century and will help ease the burden of rapidly multiplying population on our overall economy. One hopes the Centre fully realises this and takes more steps in the coming years to ensure that India leverages its demographic dividend most profitably to our own best advantage.
It goes without saying that those who have determination, strong will power and ability to work hard relentlessly to achieve what they want are able to achieve their coveted goal even though many of them are physically handicapped but they conquer it all. The most recent example is Ira Singhal, who in spite of being physically handicapped has topped the most prestigious and toughest All India Civil Services exam. India too can similarly follow suit by developing more innovative ways of leveraging India’s demographic dividend in the 21st century.
India must focus more on the positive side to bring out the best inside it. Let us not forget that India is the largest democracy in the world with youngest population and we can tap it to our nation’s own best advantage, provided the government draws the right roadmap for it and works accordingly. It is heartening to note that now India is launching foreign satellites on a large scale and even developed countries like the UK, which formally ruled over us, take our help not only in this regard but in many other respects also.
India has more than 229 million students in our 1.41 million schools and every year we have almost 17 million students transiting from grade VIII to grade IX, who must be provided adequate opportunities of a productive secondary education and skills in order to realise India’s true “demographic dividend”. Let us also not be oblivious of the glaring fact that our Prime Minister has set a target of skilling 500 million youth by 2022. When this happens actually, India’s demographic dividend will leverage it in advancing ahead.
To state the obvious, India certainly enjoys the demographic dividend and all we need to do is to leverage it rightly. To avoid demographic dividend from becoming a dividend disaster it is imperative that our policymakers put their heads together and work out the right plan to take India to greater heights and make India emerge not only as a military superpower but also as an economic superpower. Not only this, the people of India too have to join hands to work relentlessly in this direction and fully understand their responsibility, which they owe not only to themselves and their family but also to the nation. Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, very rightly said a long time back: “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
By Sanjeev Sirohi