No cheer there as a whopping 30 per cent of our youth aged between 15 to 30 years are neither studying nor working
The first day of the new decade saw the birth of an estimated 400,000 babies around the world with India recording the highest number at 67,385, a whopping 17 per cent of the new births. We managed to leave behind the world’s most populous country China, which welcomed 46,299 newborns the same day. The good news is that according to the UNICEF, child mortality is down in the country and worldwide as in the last 30 years, the number of deaths of children under five fell over 50 per cent. According to a Government report titled Children in India 2018 — A Statistical Appraisal, there has been a significant fall in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the country from 46 in 2011 to 34 in 2016. The Under-five Mortality Rate (U5MR) has also gone down to approximately 39 for 2016. However, the figures worldwide are not so positive as far as newborns are concerned. In 2018, a whopping 47 per cent babies died in the first month of their birth, which is an increase of seven per cent from 1990. Though each life is a cause to celebrate because of the potential it holds, India, which is already labouring under the burden of overpopulation, hardly has a reason to cheer. As it is the country’s population is expected to exceed that of China’s by 2027. We are projected to add nearly 273 million people to our piece of the planet between 2019 and 2050. This, in a country which is unable to feed its children as is evident by our dismal performance in the Global Hunger Index. India slipped from the 95th rank in 2010 to the 102nd in 2019, behind its neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan!
Though our burgeoning millions make us an attractive market for most countries, we have a demographic slag to deal with besides distorted development paradigms. The lack of employment opportunities in rural areas has seen a rise in migratory flows to urban areas and by the middle of the century, half of the population will be in cities. This will result in more urban slums, law and order problems and stretch the already thinly spread water, power resources, sanitation facilities and urban infrastructure. The Government is already struggling under a healthcare burden. Despite a huge middle class, a whopping 25 per cent people live on less than Rs 143 a day. India accounts for one in three of the global population living in poverty. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and in the next 20 years, the number of job-seekers or working-age population is expected to go up by more than 200 million. A whopping 30 per cent of the country’s youth aged between 15 to 30 years are neither studying nor working. Till we cannot guarantee a good life to our children, we must hang our heads and apologise to them as they did not ask to be born in this mess that we have created.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)