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Aging Crisis and Demographic Catastrophe in India – The New Indian Express

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For many years we have spoken eloquently of India’s future demographic dividend which will soon elevate us to the ranks of developed nations. A country benefits from the demographic dividend when the ratio of the working-age population to that of children and the elderly is high. Experts say India entered the demographic dividend window in 2005-06, and this opportunity will remain open until 2055-56. The working-age population ratio will be highest between 2021 and 2041, peaking in the early 2030s.

In other words, we are already in the golden age, and if we can harness our nearly one billion working-age population, we can change the destiny of our country and the world. However, this does not mean that we will automatically achieve prosperity because we have a billion young people. Some prerequisites for the utilization of this potential are the availability of a healthy population, education, gender equality and increased participation of women in paid employment, a skilled labor force and the creation of high quality jobs.

The rise of the United States, Japan and China after World War II was fueled by the combination of all these factors. They were equipped to reap the dividend when it happened. How prepared are we? The sad answer is that we have not prepared our young population for these advantages.

From 2001 to 2011, we added one million people to enter the labor market every year. Barely a few lakhs had the qualifications and skills, and a few thousand landed gainful employment each year. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 has shown just how grim the reality on the ground is and what the future holds if we don’t act right and fast enough.

Opinion piece by Dr K Srinath Reddy | Provide comprehensive primary health care

Sometimes you wonder what we have accomplished in 75 years of independence. What did successive governments do from 1947? As we expect NFHS-6 within the next two years, the previous survey results are sobering.

A third of our children are stunted, indicating poor health and poor education. Nearly 60% of our women are anemic. Barely 3% have had any professional training.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on our already shaky health and education sector. Our life expectancy has fallen from 70.9 years in 2019 to 67.2% in 2021. We are not creating enough jobs and not equipping our young workers with the skills to fill those jobs. As automation and robotics make huge leaps in the next decade, even skilled labor is at risk of losing its relevance. India’s heavily populated states lag behind in social progress and skills.

No one can guess what the hordes of billions of unskilled, unhealthy and semi-illiterate young men and women would portend about the future of a country on the threshold of greatness. Alongside this worrying trend, another problem looms on the horizon. About 12.5% ​​of India’s population will be over 60 by 2030, or about 19 million people over the next eight years. By 2050, one in five Indians will be over 60.

While exaggerating the demographic dividend that awaits us, we often ignore the problem of aging. We are totally unprepared to deal with the situation. We have almost no facilities for the elderly. There is no social support system for the elderly.

A large part of the elderly population will have to depend on income generated by young people. Only a third of elderly people in India receive some sort of pension from their former employers. Pension bills from most state governments now eat up the lion’s share of state revenue. Sooner or later this boat will sink and many retirees will find that there is no Treasury check. We have seen how ill-prepared our healthcare system was during the pandemic.

An aging population means unimaginable stress on the already broken healthcare system. The concept of dedicated geriatric wards and nursing staff is unknown in India. We need to quickly build an ecosystem of caregivers and senior care facilities. It is unfortunate, however, that we have virtually no discussion in our public space about the twin crisis that lies ahead.

In short, we have let down children, young people and old people and we will continue to do so, following the trends. History has confronted these crises with wars, civil unrest and revolutions. Our greatest advantage can be our worst nightmare if we’re not careful. The clock is turning.

Anand Neelakantan is the author of Asura, Ajaya Series, Vanara and Bahubali trilogy. He can be reached at [email protected]

For many years we have spoken eloquently of India’s future demographic dividend which will soon elevate us to the ranks of developed nations. A country benefits from the demographic dividend when the ratio of the working-age population to that of children and the elderly is high. Experts say India entered the demographic dividend window in 2005-06, and this opportunity will remain open until 2055-56. The working-age population ratio will be highest between 2021 and 2041, peaking in the early 2030s. In other words, we are already in the golden period, and if we can harness our population closely one billion working age, we can change the destiny of our country and the world. However, this does not mean that we will automatically achieve prosperity because we have a billion young people. Some prerequisites for the utilization of this potential are the availability of a healthy population, education, gender equality and increased participation of women in paid employment, a skilled labor force and the creation of high quality jobs. The rise of the United States, Japan and China after World War II was fueled by the combination of all these factors. They were equipped to reap the dividend when it happened. How prepared are we? The sad answer is that we have not prepared our young population for these advantages. From 2001 to 2011, we added one million people to enter the labor market each year. Barely a few lakhs had the qualifications and skills, and a few thousand landed gainful employment each year. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 has shown just how grim the reality on the ground is and what the future holds if we don’t act right and fast enough. Opinion piece by Dr K Srinath Reddy | Delivering Comprehensive Primary Health Care Sometimes you wonder what we’ve accomplished in 75 years of independence. What did successive governments do from 1947? As we expect NFHS-6 within the next two years, the previous survey results are sobering. A third of our children are stunted, indicating poor health and poor education. Nearly 60% of our women are anemic. Barely 3% have had any professional training. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on our already shaky health and education sector. Our life expectancy has fallen from 70.9 years in 2019 to 67.2% in 2021. We are not creating enough jobs and not equipping our young workers with the skills to fill those jobs. As automation and robotics make huge leaps in the next decade, even skilled labor is at risk of losing its relevance. India’s heavily populated states lag behind in social progress and skills. No one can guess what the hordes of billions of unskilled, unhealthy and semi-illiterate young men and women would portend about the future of a country on the threshold of greatness. Alongside this worrying trend, another problem looms on the horizon. About 12.5% ​​of India’s population will be over 60 by 2030, or about 19 million people over the next eight years. By 2050, one in five Indians will be over 60. While exaggerating the demographic dividend that awaits us, we often ignore the problem of aging. We are totally unprepared to deal with the situation. We have almost no facilities for the elderly. There is no social support system for the elderly. A large part of the elderly population will have to depend on income generated by young people. Only a third of elderly people in India receive some sort of pension from their former employers. Pension bills from most state governments now eat up the lion’s share of state revenue. Sooner or later this boat will sink and many retirees will find that there is no Treasury check. We have seen how ill-prepared our healthcare system was during the pandemic. An aging population means unimaginable stress on the already broken healthcare system. The concept of dedicated geriatric wards and nursing staff is unknown in India. We need to quickly build an ecosystem of caregivers and senior care facilities. It is unfortunate, however, that we have virtually no discussion in our public space about the twin crisis that lies ahead. In short, we have let down children, young people and old people and we will continue to do so, following the trends. History has confronted these crises with wars, civil unrest and revolutions. Our greatest advantage can be our worst nightmare if we’re not careful. The clock is turning. Anand Neelakantan is the author of Asura, Ajaya series, Vanara trilogy and Bahubali. He can be contacted at [email protected]