“India’s population is growing and is set to grow more … and stabilise at 170 crores by 2070. Are we ready to deal with this?”
The above is a report I read recently in the Newspaper. The stabilisation date which was earlier predicted as 2048 has today become 2070. Imagine the needs and the advantages of this….. Lets take the advantages first. It is called a ‘demographic advantage’. Even today, India has 55% of it’s population below 25 years age. The population between 18 years and 40 years age which is the most productive age group is also huge. It means that we have a great platform to work and to develop further and be a “Truly developed Nation”. I am not talking about GDP growth. That too will happen but we need to improve heavily on the “Human Development Index” first. That means that we should have low infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, high survival rate , better nutrition level for children, good education, good employment opportunities etc so that even our most disadvantaged population can have a more ‘dignified life’. Becoming a global power house will happen later.. but our first goal should be to improve our human development index….
Take other nations… US has a relatively aging population… China too has an aging population (due to their one child policy which has been there since 1979).. 20 years down the line India will have probably one-third of the world’s working population…. Can we not beat the world with that????
So….. We realise what an opportunity we have in our hand.. But….. Are we ready to grab it???? The current situation does not seem too encouraging… You might have read my other blog “Are government schools dying?”… We as a nation are today spending very little on children…. Just about 3.6% of GDP goes to school education…. Not enough effort being made to reduce infant mortality… Not enough to reduce malnutrition in children… Significant amount of child labour….How are we going to have a “really productive population” in 20 years????? I wont paint a totally gloomy picture… There has been significant positive steps taken towards better child health, nutrition, education etc…. the pace though is very slow….
Azim Premji’s investment in rural education today is a great step…. He is doing what the government should have been doing… 8800 crores is not a small amount… Huge.. My ‘Salute’ to him….
The children deserve it… Its not just that they are going to make us world leaders tomorrow.. Our children deserve it… It is their right… Do we not want to live in a society that is more happy on a whole? Just the sight of happy children is such an inspiration… We owe it to them…
Now, to the practical question of how we should go about this Mission? I dont have a ready-made answer… Of course not… But I am thinking what part I should play in the whole Mission… Out of the three main tasks listed below, I pick ‘education’. Simply because I am not qualified to look at the others…
1. Improve rural health, especially of women and educate them (to prevent infant mortality)
2. Improve nutrition and health of rural children (to allow stable and good growth and development)
3. Make education universal and bring in quality meaningful education
I am looking at the following ways.. (am not anywhere close to Azim premji 😉 ):
a. Spare some time to go and teach rural children personally
b. Prepare easy self-learning material (books, audio, video, animations etc) and spread them..
c. Some day, to start schools…. Hopefully soon…..
In an attempt to prepare some self-learning material, I prepared this one video.. please have a look. This is in english now.. I need to work on local language versions.. and see how to take it to the rural kids…
Would be happy to listen and share info on this ….