India's demographic dividend will remain unpaid

Throughout India's post-Independence history, only about 10 per cent of workers have received a regular monthly or weekly wage with at least one social security benefit

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Ashoka Mody
India’s population is set to outstrip China’s. That, along with the rise of Indian unicorns and electronic payment transactions, has stirred heady optimism about the country’s economic prospects. Outside of Africa, India will have the youngest population for the next few decades. The “demographic dividend” of young Indians could power an economic boom. More likely though, a gargantuan problem — seventy-five years in the making — will get worse: given the Indian economy’s chronic inability to absorb job seekers, new generations of young aspirants will enlarge the pool of largely unproductive, poorly paid, and frustrated workers.

The severity of India’s employment shortfall is best measured by its “surplus labour,” a concept much broader than the “unemployment rate.” Quite simply, most Indians
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

First Published: Apr 25 2023 | 10:36 PM IST

Explore News

To read the full story, subscribe to BS Premium now, at just Rs 249/ month.

Key stories on are available only to BS Premium subscribers.

Register to