Bharat has been surprising everyone by its attainment, 3,600 performances and its growing influence in global socio-economic agenda. Be it positioning itself as the fifth largest global economy or reaching towards five trillion economy, taking over the leadership of G-20, the role of Bharat is certainly more visible globally. The world has seen how New India has developed, distributed and contained effectively.
Bharat’s and Covid–19 management
Not only its management of pandemic is appreciated, but also providing vaccines and critical medicines to more than 100 countries during Covid–19, running biggest food security scheme in a sustained manner for years or the evacuation mission for bringing out nationals from war-torn areas of Ukraine,the determination and strength of New India have been very clearly reflected.
Energetic, talented, and skilled youth are the pillars of virtue, respect and the future of Bharat. Although, no one is born with skills, one can develop them with time and age. Learning keeps you growing, opening doors and ways for new paths, and makes you adaptable and open to new possibilities.
The National Education Policy has clearly defined the sets of skills which our country looks for in our youth. All our youngstars are anticipated to have acquired life skills, values, physical and mental fitness, respect for diversity, societal engagement, Rashtra Bhav, constitutional values, democratic traditions, idea of India or Bharat Bodh, and groomed up as all rounded development. They must be rooted in our continuum of heritage and cultural ethos at the same time equipped with 21st century skills.
India is the second most populated country after China and may soon surpass it. It accounts for nearly a fifth of the world’s population. According to the 2022 revision of the World Population Prospects, the population stood at 1,407,563,842, of which more than 50 per cent is below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35. In 2020, the average age of an Indian is 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India’s dependency ratio will be just over 0.4 However, the number of children in India peaked more than a decade ago and is now falling. The number of children under the age of five peaked in 2007, and since then the number has been falling. The number of Indians under, 15-years-old, peaked slightly later (in 2011) and is now also declining. The National Youth Policy (in 2003) defined the youth as those in the age group of 13-35. However, National Youth Policy, 2014, modified it and defined ‘youth’ as persons in the age group of 15-29 years. Thus, we have clear demographic dividend in our favour and our young population, especially highly skilled and educated ones, has become our great strength. Indian youth as well as Indian diaspora world over is performing astonishingly well in almost all fields of life. In fact, in 21st century skills including ICT, AI & ML, Pharma sector and Fintech, are leading most of the MNCs of the world.
Youth and Development
India’s 1.4 billion people, with an average age of 29, has one of the youngest populations globally. As this vast resource of young citizens enters the workforce, it could create a ‘demographic dividend’. A demographic dividend is defined by the United Nations Population Fund as economic growth resulting from a shift in a population’s age structure, mainly when the working-age population is larger than the number of dependents. India’s youth representing 1/5th of the world’s youth demographic and this population advantage could play a critical role in achieving the nation’s ambitious target to become a US$ 5 trillion economy. India’s unique demographic advantage presents a plethora of opportunities in today’s dynamic world. As India experiences this demographic shift, along with changing social dynamics and technological advances, the youth population will contribute significantly in realizing the country’s economic potential.
Literacy rate rise in Bharat
Over the past decade, a steady rise in India’s middle class has led to a higher literacy rate, fuelled by the aspirations of financial security and quality of life for the next generation. India continues to contribute the largest number of qualified engineers and technologists to the global workforce even today. It is at the forefront of new technologies such as data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
In addition, the overall rate of literacy among India’s youth has increased, with approximately 90 per cent being able to read or write. Coupled with the prevalence of social media and internet penetration, this has created a digitally savvy population. With internet access and affordable smartphones, these young people are accessing online resources that encourage learning and acquisition of skills. Additionally, several public and private initiatives aim at imparting skills to the country’s youth. One example is the government’s Skill India Mission, which aims to empower the youth with adequate skill sets that will enable them to work across relevant sectors and also improve productivity. The increasing internet reach in the country opens up a number of opportunities to deliver education, learning and skills development online. Catering to the aspirational levels, this has created an optimal climate for new industries such as e-learning and EdTech and FinTech. Moreover, our youth is attracted in disruptive technologies, manufacturing automation and internet-based services and sales in a big way. This has influenced a start-up culture, creating more entrepreneurship opportunities that young and qualified Indians are tapping. This is reflected in more than 100 unicorns and nearly 80,000 start ups being sets up. India’s large population is also a market for these young entrepreneurs who are creating services such as healthcare, wellness, fitness, teaching etc. Government initiatives such as Startup India , Atal Innovation Centres, Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) have further enabled entrepreneurship and increased employment opportunities. These new initiatives have created start-up such as ByJU, Phone Pe, Zamato, etc. that are doing very well. They are contributing significantly in Make in India program.
The demographic dividend reaps the most benefit through a rising consumer classism. A young earning population with no dependents tends to have more disposable income, creating a new category of buyers. Companies are creating products and services with pricing models that are targeted at this generation of consumers.
The availability of neo banking, online wallets and interest free or low interest buy-now, pay-later credit facilities further enable the aspirations of a young and digital savvy population.. With the increase in spending power, the Indian consumer market is set to scale up, resulting in higher economic activity.
Around 62.5 per cent of India’s working age population is aged between 15 and 59 years, ensuring that India will have a demographic advantage all the way to 2055. This is an attractive proposition for investments both locally as well as via FDI. According to CII and EY, India has the potential to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) of US$120-160 bn per year by 2025.
Investors are already considering India as an investment hub for its skilled and young working population. Initiatives such as the Make in India program encourage manufacturing investment in India, where the workforce is a key differentiator. Several global brands see the advantages of both a labour pool and a key market in the same country, and have set up their factories in India. Thus, pioneering electric vehicle maker Tesla is likely to set up an electric car manufacturing unit in Karnataka.
While India has the advantage of a large population of educated youth, most countries will fall short of working-age people, caused by lower birth rates and an ageing working population. In such a scenario, India can provide a host of services to several countries in various labour intensive sectors such as IT, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, etc.
India’s youth representing 1/5th of the world’s youth demographic and this population advantage could play a critical role in achieving the nation’s ambitious target to become a US$ 5 trillion economy
Awareness on diversity and inclusiveness has grown in leaps and bounds recently, along with the understanding of the benefits an inclusive workforce brings to an enterprise and the economy. The migration of the large youth population to cities which are the centres of employment will add to the country’s cultural diversity. Given the rapid urbanization and employment opportunities, young people from rural areas often move to urban conglomerates. This culturally diverse population will bring various language skills, shared languages, new ways of thinking, innovative ideas and creative solutions to the table, creating a more productive workforce.
The demographic dividend opportunity in the country is the longest in the world, accessible for 5 decades, starting from 2005 to 2055. Owing to the change in patterns and demographics, India is expected to emerge as one of the largest consumer economies in the world. The surge in the young, working population presents multiple unique and interesting possibilities for India’s future, in terms of economic growth, social mobility, and even a more inclusive and diverse cultural fabric.
It is also a fact that many of the CEO’s of fortune 500 companies are Indian diaspora world over. Now, many of the world leaders including the prime Minister of Britain, Ireland and several important world leaders are of Indian origin. The make in India program has reshaped the country position as a potential exporter of defence items rather than one of the biggest importers of these items. A great revolution is entering initiated by India that is green hydrogen entry as an alternate fuel having capacity to replace fossil based crude oil. The Green hydrogen mission and its follow up has signalled the emergence of world green fuel giant viz. India. It is expected that in coming decade, India may export green hydrogen to many of the countries globally. The Vishwa Guru role of Bharat is clearly visible and the Sanatan chintan of “Survey Bhavantu Sukhinah” and Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam is the philosophy that Bharat has realized is becoming the Mantra for better, peaceful and developed globe called Earth.