Indian Population – A Liability or An Asset
India is the second largest populous country of the world with a population of over I billion people. Every year 12 million people arc added, that is the rate of population increase per year.
From the time of our independence to late nineties. we may say Indian population was a liability- with low death rates due to achievement in controlling dangerous communicable diseases and better health services. So. more number of people, more mouths to be fed (hunger). poverty, scarcity of space or shelter, unemployment- all caused a set back to the developmental efforts and also made the successive five year plans least effective. When the standard of living fall automatically the new millions added every year become a liability.
When there is crisis and poverty, food grains are imported, involving foreign expenditure which could have been used for creating better infrastructure. Vast growth of population also reduced the capacity to invest because a large amount was spent to support the unproductive population. The number of unproductive consumers was 250 million in India in 1961.This made it clear that people who contributed or worked, were less, resulting in poor growth of our economy.
Gradually, with planning. in social as well as educational sectors the economy increased at 3.8% per year. With the family planning programs getting good responses. though hesitantly initially, concept of small family was introduced. Educational facilities increased and people had better access to it. In the eighties and nineties there was great competition among students to do well in the chosen fields. Science and technological advancements lured the students to different avenues of learning rather than the usually sought after medical & engineering courses. Students from villages migrated to urban areas to pursue higher studies. The country saw an increase in the number of qualified matriculates and graduates. The success of computers in government and business establishments made work environment a link less corrupt. Many young students specialized in compute administration and engineering. With the arrival of information technology, the employment scene took a leap and many youth were employed.
The change in the past decade was mainly bee’ of the new open policies and willingness to become of the globalization process. It’s during this decade the population which was a liability once seemed to turn into an asset. The Indian workforce comprising middle aged and youth and their enterprise put together contributed a lot to our economic growth. Though employment opportunities have doubled with the expansion of IT sector, still we have to bridge the gap between the urban and rural development so that the human resources can be productive.
Today, our human force is also ready to take risks and are entering joint ventures, turning into entrepreneur thus creating more job opportunities. Presently (20071 the growth rate is reported as 9-10 percent. If true, a figure which cannot deny partial credit to the young population The point is also proved by the fact that India and China (the two populous countries) are the two developing nations which are making their presence felt in the world with their human force. Our population is definitely a asset.