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Demographic Dividend Or Demographic Burden?

Almost 1.2 crore people enter the labour market every year in India. Demographic dividend has become the demographic burden.

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Globalization is not a new phenomenon. However, people are living in a more globalised world today. The process of globalization is irrevocable. It has on the one side generated immense opportunities and on the other side severely affected the billions. Free and open market economic policy has become the attribute of most of the nations. However, the vital question remains intact; does globalization succeed in the equal distribution of economic resources, income and wealth throughout the globe? Poverty, inequality, and unemployment are among the major impediments in the way of globalization. Globalization can create new opportunities, ideas, and open new markets for the entrepreneurs. However, the evidence also points towards the creation of unequal opportunities. For instance, in poor nations, skilled workers see a disproportionate rise in their incomes. Nevertheless, unskilled workers often see no such gains.  

Data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that unemployment rate in India stood at 2.7 per cent in 2000, increased to 3.1 per cent in 2005, and further decreased to 2.7 per cent in 2011. However, it increased to 5 per cent during 2015-16. Almost 1.2 crore people enter the labour market every year in India. 

Kumar Gaurav, Professor and Head, Department of Economics, S N Sinha College, says, "Although the unemployment rate is relatively high compared to past many years, one possibility might be the change in methodology as there is a shift in the weight assigned to the educated workforce. Nevertheless, the problem has reached to a serious stage and merits immediate remedial measures.

The government should play a proactive role in curbing the widespread gaps between educated and uneducated unemployment."

Demographic dividend has become the demographic burden. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data reveals that urban unemployment rate in India reached to 9.6 per cent, and rural unemployment rate at 7.8 per cent - the total unemployment rate is 8.4 per cent in August 2019. Moreover, in May 2019, the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) survey data on employment-unemployment shows whooping 6.1 per cent unemployment rate in India during 2017-18. This is more than four decades high. However, the government denied releasing the report since it is a draft report only. The officials have also confirmed that since new methodology has been adopted, the figures are not comparable with the previous years. However, there is a need to address the issue of jobs in a timely and more concerted effort.  

There are worldwide evidences of huge benefits of globalization like increase in competitiveness, influx of foreign capital and technology, free trade and more diversified basket of consumer goods have had multiplier effect in the domestic economy. The problem lies in the distribution mechanism. The benefits of globalization have not been evenly distributed in the domestic economy.  Indian economy is facing the twin problems of growth and unemployment. There is urgent need to revive the policy to cater to the growing needs of the masses, unless the demographic dividend turns into demographic burden.