India’s growth rate of GDP has faltered to just around 5% in the last year or so. It was hovering at 8-9%, which though far less than China’s for most of last 25 years, but still substantial for an increase in jobs and prosperity for many.
What people are losing sight of is that in the coming decades, not only will India need to increase the growth of the economy, but also its education infrastructure. Because the population is increasing at a rapid clip. Specifically the youth. From 15-50. This would require massive infrastructure to educate them and to absorb them into the workforce!
Given India’s demography, harnessing its knowledge capital assumes even greater significance not just for the country but also for the world. At present, more than half of India’s population of 1.2 billion is less than 25 years of age. It is estimated that while the global economy will experience a skilled manpower shortage of 56 million by 2020, India will be one of the few countries in the world with a working-age population that exceeds its number of retirees. The TeamLease India Labor Report 2009 estimates that the country’s population will increase from one billion in 2001 to 1.4 billion by 2026, and 83% of this increase will be in the 15-59 age group. This means that in the next 12 to 13 years around 25% of the new workers entering the global workforce will be Indians. (link)
If the growth falters, the absorption into the workforce will not happen for this growing youth. Suddenly, what can be an asset for a turbo charged growth, can turn into a big raging inferno. The rage and the intensity of the youth was visible in the protests against the government. They will only increase. Until their needs, their voices are heard.