Increasing Indian working-age population needs better jobs

Indian economy suffered a lot at times when the population of the country increased at a fast pace. However, there were steps taken by the government that led to a decrease in high fertility rates. The reduced population led to an increase in the working-age population as the dependents to workers ratio came down. This happened between 1990s and 2000 when it was a booming period for workers. Due to more working-age population, the rate of savings and investments also increased. It helped in the better expansion of industries, leading them to employ more and more workers in good jobs. Millions overcame poverty during this time.

The timing around mid-2000s was probably the most encouraging in terms of investments and better jobs. Comparative to other countries like China, there was a good rise happening in Indian labor force. Now, the situation has totally reversed. The growth rate is exactly half of what it was in mid-2000s. As compared to other developing economies in Asia whose industry is 40-47% of the output, Indian industry is just 27% of its output. The increasing inflation has led to people saving more in terms of physical assets, rather than putting their money in the financial systems. In addition, the ‘balance of payments’ problem has been raising its head with lesser manufacturing exports happening. In addition, borrowings by India have increased to a significant level and the country has been squeezing its welfare budget to keep up with it, which is resulting in joblessness even in cities thereby causing uproar among citizens.


Though there are several politicians who are considering the rising joblessness as a critical condition, but are there any steps being taken or are they too late to wake up? It has become a massive challenge to create good jobs, considering the fact that India’s working-age population (15-64 years) is predicted to rise by 125m by the next decade. Within another decade, it would add another 103m to this population. Also considering the estimates that not everyone from the working-age population works, there still are around 100m new jobs to be created over a decade.

It’s not always about the quantity of jobs that people are frustrated of, but also about the quality of jobs. There are just a few million good jobs created out of a billion jobs in total where workers are getting a regular compensation. There is lack of manufacturing and most of the jobs exist in tiny operations. India has majorly lost the textile or clothing market to China. Economists also suggest industrial policies and laws in India to be a problem of the manufacturing sector. Thus, there has to be a total mindset change in the Indian industry so better jobs can be created for a better future of the country’s working-age population.

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