India is the second most populous country in the world only after China with 1.3 billion people. According to estimates it is well on its way to overtake China as the leader in population by 2050. Overpopulation is always seen as a problem because it leads to a host of problems. First of all there is a need to provide basic amenities to everyone. Secondly, there is a need to provide adequate infrastructure for the proper functioning of the overpopulated society and finally, there is a need to provide jobs to everyone.
Achieving the above objectives is no mean feat. It is already so hard to keep 50 people in a room happy, let alone 1.3 billion people across the country with diverse backgrounds. As such, this humongous population is considered a big liability both by the government and citizens alike. Yet, the need of the hour is not to sulk over this fact but to explore how this mass of human resource can be harnessed.
When we talk about using a country’s population as an asset, we are talking about the working age population. India is a young country. More than 50% of the population is under the age of 25. This can be tapped for the all round social and economic growth of nation. The mere existence of so many people opens up the need for grains to feed them, clothes to clothe them and housing to shelter them. Hence, these industries can be used to employ a significant portion of the population. Besides this, in the current globalized world there is a need for various services such as telecommunications, internet, banking, finance, advertising, luxury services etc. These industries can employ a significant portion of the population too.
The most salient feature of the service industry is its low use of tangible raw materials and high use of human capital. As such it can be used to export services to different nations while employing people from our own country. Some examples being Airtel and Reliance telecom networks in Africa and the Indian IT industry which serves as an outsourcing hub for most of the companies in US, UK etc.
Besides the service industry, human labour can also be used as an export. India has supplied the largest number of emigrants to the world. Pick up any country and you will find a community of Indians living there. Ever heard of a country named Djibouti? There is a high chance that you haven’t, yet, that is exactly where Dhirubhai Ambani used to trade in his younger years before he founded Reliance. This just motivates entrepreneurs to ply their trade anywhere in the world with pride and dignity.
Now that it has been established what needs to be done for the population to be used as an asset, an even bigger and more profound question awaits, how do we do it. First of all, educations needs to be sure. It needs to be made sure that the enrollment rates are high and dropout rates are at a minimum. Also, it needs to be realized that not everyone can become a doctor or an engineer or a scientist. There should be community centers to assure the youth what they are good at and encourage them to learn that specialization. The government needs to step up and ensure employment to these people not only in India but also on contracts abroad. The wages should be adequate and standard of living should also be maintained.
In conclusion it can be said that the demand created by a large population only ensures a better economic growth for the country but besides there needs to be a focus on employment generation in diversified fields if indeed the population is to be used as an asset.