Social Infrastructure and Human Development

IAS Prelims 2023
  • By 2020, India is projected to be the youngest nation in the world in terms of size.
  • As per provisional results of Census 2011, 2001-11 is the first decade in independent India where in the population momentum coupled with declining fertility has dampened the pace of net additions to population. Thus, the net addition (between 2001-2011) is less than that of the pervious decade by 0.86 million.
  • At present a little more than one out of every six persons in the world is an Indian.
  • As per Sample Registration System (SRS) (2013) data, there has been a gradual decline in the share of population in the age group 0-14 from 41.2 to 38.1% during 1971 to 1981 and from 36.3 to 28.4% during 1991 to 2013.
  • On the other hand, the proportion of economically active population (15-59 years) or, India’s ‘demographic dividend’, has increased from 53.4 to 56.3% during 1971 to 1981 and from 57.7 to 63.3% during 1991 to 2013. On account of better education, health facilities, and increase in life expectancy, the percentage of elderly (60+) has gone up from 5.3 to 5.7% and 6.0 to 8.3% respectively in the same two periods.
  • The growth rate of the labour force will continue to be higher than that of the population until 2021. According to an Indian Labour Report (Time Lease, 2007), 300 million youth will enter the labour force by 2025, and 25% of the world’s workers in the next three years will be Indians.
  • Population projections indicate that in 2020 the average age of India’s population will be the lowest in the world—around 29 years compared to 37 years in China and the United States of America, 45 years in West Europe, and 48 years in Japan.
  • Consequently, while the global economy is expected to witness a shortage of young population of around 56 million by 2020, India will be the only country with a youth surplus of 47 million.
  • While only 73% literacy has been achieved as per Census 2011, there has been marked improvement in female literacy. Male literacy at 80.9% is still higher than female literacy at 64.6% but the latter has increased by 10.9 percentage points compared to 5.6 percentage points for the former.

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