India’s Looming Demographic Shift: Young vs. Old

GS-1 Mains : Society

Short Notes or Revision Notes

 

Question: Discuss potential strategies for maximizing the demographic dividend, addressing the needs of the elderly population, and mitigating regional variations in demographic trends.

India’s Ageing Population

  • A Lancet report predicts India will become an ageing society within 3 decades.
  • Fertility rate concerns:
    • India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) will fall to 1.29 by 2050 (below replacement rate).
    • 1 in 5 Indians will be over 60 years old by 2050 (aligns with UN Population Fund report).
  • This is not a new concern: The UN Population Fund’s (UNPF) India Ageing Report (2022) also projected a doubling of elderly population (from 149 million in 2022 to 347 million by 2050).

Challenges of an Ageing Population

  • Limited Demographic Dividend Window:The opportunity for economic growth won’t last forever.
    • China’s example:
      • Working-age population peaked in the mid-2010s, coinciding with impressive economic growth.
      • TFR dropped to a record low by 2023, and the working-age population shrank by over 40 million.
      • Pro-population measures haven’t reversed the trend.
    • Global Trend:Developed nations show that low fertility rates are difficult to reverse once below replacement rate.
    • India’s Working Age Peak:UNPF estimates the peak will be in the late 2030s or early 2040s.

Maximizing the Demographic Dividend

  • Policymakers must act now to utilize the coming decades for:
    • Skill development to address skill gaps.
    • Investment in the knowledge economy.
    • Job creation outside low-paid informal sector and agriculture (focus on quality jobs).

Planning for the Elderly

  • Ensure adequate social security and healthcare provisions for the growing elderly population.
  • Develop strategies to effectively harness the skills and experience of the elderly.

Regional Variations

  • TFR rates vary across states, with South and West India showing faster ageing compared to the North.
  • This presents unique challenges for policymakers who may need regional planning strategies.

Conclusion

  • The Lancet report is a wake-up call. Policymakers must prepare for India’s ageing population.
  • Understanding the demographic shift in all its dimensions is crucial for effective planning.

 

 

Pakistan’s Vulnerability Exposed: Attacks and CPEC

GS-2 Mains : IR

Short Notes or Revision Notes

 

Question : What is the future of CPEC in light of the recent attacks in Pakistan?

Recent Attacks in Pakistan:

  • Three major attacks on strategic sites in one week:
    • Suicide bombing targeting Chinese workers at Dasu hydropower project (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
    • Attack on naval airbase in Turbat, Balochistan (Baloch Liberation Army – BLA).
    • Attack on Gwadar port, a key part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) (BLA).

Beyond Security Issues:

  • These attacks highlight the wider problems of Pakistan’s political economy:
    • Reliance on CPEC creates vulnerabilities.
    • Attacks not an isolated incident (e.g., 2021 Dasu plant bombing).
    • Baloch insurgents and terrorist groups (TTP, ISIS-K) oppose CPEC.

China’s Reaction:

  • Reiterated strong ties with Pakistan but urged them to find the attackers.
  • “Iron-clad friendship” rhetoric challenged by strategic and political costs of CPEC.

Pakistan’s Challenges:

  • Security issues: conflicts with neighbors (Iran, Afghanistan), Baloch separatists.
  • Overdependence on CPEC and weak economic diversification.

Recommendations for Pakistan:

  • Systemic overhaul needed:
    • Open up and diversify the economy.
    • Improve relations with India for broader trade ties.
    • Move away from “parochial political rhetoric.”
  • A strong and broad-based economy is essential for:
    • Long-term stability.
    • Reducing CPEC as a target (lesser vulnerability).

Conclusion:

  • Attacks expose Pakistan’s economic and security vulnerabilities.
  • Pakistan needs to act for its own benefit:
    • Improve its economic situation.
    • Normalize relations with India.

 

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