(MENAFN- Asia Times) India has recently become the world's most populous country, with 68% of its population working-age individuals between the ages of 15 and 64.
This demographic structure – often referred to as a demographic dividend – has the potential to generate very high economic growth if India can create productive employment opportunities for its large working-age population.
data from labor force surveys
indicates that this is a big challenge for the economy at present. Some 45% of the workforce continues to toil on farms in the agricultural sector, while in the non-agricultural sector, 74% of workers are employed in low-paying informal work in microenterprises.
Indeed, among young people aged between 15 and 29 years, approximately 28% are engaged as“unpaid helpers in household enterprises.” And here too, the agriculture sector remains the principal source of employment, accounting for 36% of employed youth.
India will need a radical reorientation of its growth strategy if it is to address the challenge of productive job creation and harness its demographic dividend, making the growth process more employment-intensive.
The Indian experience shows that growth alone cannot be the principal instrument of job creation, as it is the sectoral composition of growth that determines the quantity and nature of employment opportunities created.
India's idiosyncratic structural transformation from agriculture to services – leapfrogging the phase of manufacturing growth – has generated limited opportunities for well-paid employment for those at the lower end of the education and skills ladder.
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