Demographic Dividend and India

Demographic Dividend is the new term founded to show the population rise in a positive light. IT entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani’s book ‘Imagining India’ celebrates our population growth. The youth of India is an attractive investment in the future, he reasons. He says India’s population contributes to global economy as workers and consumers. But I fail to understand how an uneducated and unskilled youth can be an investment of future India. Our literacy rate is around 65% and population increases mostly among BIMARU(Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh) states which are most backward in India.

I feel the corporate czars are kind of arm- chair writers as they don’t see the real India. India’s growing population can be a worrying factor in the future. During my travels I have befriended poor workers from many parts of India. Many confessed to me about the humiliation they have to face. I have seen in Goa, how young boys working at restaurants are treated as lesser humans. But they don’t have any option as they are trapped in poverty. Nobody treats them as human beings, let alone with respect. Whether this youth, having no self- respect or education will fit in the demographic dividend?

Foreigners often get shocked seeing women work on construction sites and on roads. Many ask me ‘How can they do that kind of work?’
But this is a common sight in India, of which nobody bothers about. Often this women seem to work with little kids their beside. They are under paid and not even aware of their rights. This is an irony in a country where women goddess are worshipped and motherhood is celebrated. How those hapless women can be considered an asset in the Demographic Dividend?
Corporate houses, elite class, politicians and Bollywud industry, probably benefit from the population explosion. Many big Corporate houses employ boys on contract basis for a monthly wage as less as Rs-2000/- they can be out of job any time. Rich often find this uneducated poor as walking machines.

Ignorance is the main cause of population explosion. I often wonder why the authorities turn a blind eye towards it when I see many kids begging on street. As poor have more children, its impossible to control population without female education. The case of Kerala is a good example in this regard where family planning is implemented successfully. Because there every woman is educated.

Education and awareness is important any country to progress. Growing population in India will contribute more violence, unemployment, environmental disaster, if not controlled. And if not invested heavily on educating the poor, our population will be a real problem in the future. Family planning and education must be our top priority.
Demographic Dividend is a new term founded to put the population rise on

Maoist Threat

By perpetuating violence throughout India, Maoist again proved that they can’t be ignored. If Terrorism can be blamed on external factors, Naxalism( this name derived from Naxalbari in West Bengal-the place where this movement begun) is more or less a home grown outfit, though certain external help can’t be ruled out. Maoism is an old wine in new bottlI don’t really know if it is something to do with Mao except the love of red among all those revolutionaries. But feel Maoist can’t be treated on par with terrorists even though I am not at all an admirer of Mao.

India’s poor states are the fertile soil for Maoists. Some areas are virtually under their control. Many are forced to obey their diktats out of fear. I think Indian political system contributed to a great extend to this menace. Tribals and poor are deprived of their fundamental rights for years. Political and bureaucratic apathy made this people vulnerable and desperate. Self -serving political class in India treat ‘aam admi’ as vote bank, except paying lip service during elections.

Financial situation is one reason though not the only, to the rising influence of Maoism. Most of the poor in India live on the margins of the society and don’t benefit from the economic boom of India. This exclusive growth is not something that can be proud of as we are made to believe. Prosperous states as Punjab, Gujarat, Hariyana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have hardly any presence of Maoism. But these state’s progress has nothing to do with politicians. Particular social situation and hard works of certain people made this possible.
Naxalism was very active in Kerala during 70’s and early 80’s. Even many educated and privileged youth were got attracted to it. Unlike Maoists, murder the rich and distribute money among the poor was the method adopted by them then. But they couldn’t even win the hearts of poor, instead left scary image of violence and bloodshed in the minds of people. Later Gulf money and the unique social system, made the journey of Naxalites very hard. Few Naxal leaders even turned to spirituality.

Today India is forced to fight her made- in India brand of violence and imported violence as well. Whatever the reason I don’t agree the method use by Maoists to achieve their means. Infact they don’t achieve anything in this way rather than garner bad publicity. Besides one can’t win hearts by violence, even though won, it may not be real. But before fighting Maoism, we must treat the root cause of it. I hope new govt. will handle Maoist threat more sensitively.