India's Demographic Dilemma - write up [Power Point presentation]


Most Indians are proud of the fact we are a young nation with 54% of the 1 Billion plus popular 25 years & under. There are so many projections of future that are made with this fact. “ India will be or is the Global Human Resources Capital” etc.

A huge young population is a great Resource and also can be a Curse, if not tended well. This presentation in View Graph (Power Point) form tells the story in a visual form.

Slide – 1 : Emphasize the need for Actions.

Slide – 2 : It is 2005 AD. Take if you want 2007 AD Picture is the same.

What is the approximate number of Children in each age – group ? This is the number of age – cohorts in 1 years, ….. 3 years, …. 5 years….. 25 years etc. When I have asked this in many forums – comprising either young school children or B.Tech students or Executive MBA class students or well informed adult persons – I get strange answers – from a few lakhs to 100 million ! Some think in percentage, say 30% etc (of what ??).

Well Slide – 2 shows what it is approximately i.e approximately 20 million for each age.

Slide –3 : India is a long train pulled by steam engine yet slow and puffing (if has to become a powerful electric engine with 10 to 12% GDP growth rate in order to compensate for the show motions of the past several decades !)

Slide – 4 : Each young age group is a bogie of 20 million each bogie. May be up to age 30 each bogie will be so ! Higher age groups will be less than that ! Due to longevity the old age bogies won’t get emptied easily ! Most Indians who pass 40 will easily go to 80 + !

So let us see what it will be in 2015 A.D. The story will repeat; the 20 million each bogie will go to 30 years plus more !

Goes on to 70 to 80 years bogies !

What are the solutions to the questions ???

Slide – 5 : Don’t jump at population control. Dictational control is not possible. People’s decisions on birth of children have an interesting logic or rationale. Young people will also marry and have children.

Young India therefore will produce children. Even with one child a couple (voluntarily), some two, still the bogies will be full. Demographic transition (zero growth) possible only by 2050 AD.

Slide – 6 : It is self-explanatory.

Slide – 7 : All our great claims about IIT’s, excellence etc are without seeing numbers. IIT’s, BITS Pilani etc cover only a small miniscule part of the youth.

Taking all those who get into MBBS, B.E., B.Pharma, MBA, Architecture, CA, IAS and all such reasonably well paying studies only about 1.5 – 2% of the 20 million get such opportunties. (Some “high brow” Indians will call many of them to be products of “mush room” institutions ! But these persons power the knowledge economy in India and USA.) The large number of persons abroad are from this lot.

Next below about 8% is all forms of higher education – B.A. in Indian Languages, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi etc., B.A. History, Philosophy etc. B.Com, B.Sc. etc i.e. 3 – 4 years of 10 + 2 including diplomas.

Actually unemployed amongst the category is very high because the knowledge & skills given to them do not fit into the requirements of modern economy. They are the products of old ossified syllabus and teaching systems standardised by UGC and such central institutions, though lots of exciting talks take place about modernisation, vocationalisation, quality etc !

Come below.

20% Either some 10 + 2, 10 + pass fail etc.

70% never reach 10 even to appear and fail.

So bottom 90% are God’s children, left to fund themselves. They don’t enter unemployment statistics obtained through the employment exchanges – as they have to survive marketing their physical skill – limbs, head body etc – the so-called unskilled labour.

(Those keen to look into details of statistics, the educational system etc may see my book “Choosing Career Paths”). Just 5 + 8 pass etc are just useless for the modern economy – they can be “gardners”, maid servants etc.

Slide – 8 : Re-emphasize the above reality.

Don’t get carried away by slogans of universal literacy. It may be good statistics – but does not help the individual to lift her / his economic status (therefore social status).

Slide – 9 : Poses questions. Answer it for yourselves ! Search your conscience.

Slide - 10 : See some more starker statements.

Are we a great place of Human Capital ?

Slide - 11 : It is applicable in 2007 also !

What are the answers ?

Be truthful !

Slide – 12 : Yes there is hope. In the short term give to the bottom 90% and also to most of 8% give modern skills.

Massive programme Domestically RELEVANT.Globally.

Since the country with its present 7 – 8% growth and due to sectoral mix (which has now less of manufacturing & agro-processing), cannot absorb all of them, in organised sector.

Many may have to go abroad.

Therefore let the skills be certified by agencies which have CREDIBILITY internationally (be it for a plumber or carpenter or hair stylist or a construction workers ……)

In addition, small micro-macro credits  Rs. 5000 to 10,000 or so be given freely to such qualified persons so that they can set up their own jobs as repairers, qualified maid servants, specialised cooks etc.

Slide 13 : It is not enough to leave them at that.

90% without higher education is not acceptable in a modern knowledge economy.

World experience shows that higher incomes are directly proportional to higher education.

Therefore liberalise higher education so that many more can get relevant higher education even though they may spend initial years earning through skilled jobs.

Slide 14 : Is the vision (very realistic) for all Indians.

Not just India – for Indians !.

All of us have to fight for it by removing oppressive Govt. controls and work for it.

If youth of India have to be the wealth of India,

they have to be empowered with right knowledge & skills

as a continual learning process.




Key Words : Indian demography, human resources; human capital; skills; Indian youth; Knowledge economy; Indian education system.