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School TodayA predicament for the future

A predicament for the future

Published: 1st Aug 2021 6:46 pm

India is the second-most populous country in the world behind China. The population of India is estimated to be around 1.38 billion or 138 crore people in 2020, up from 136.6 crore people in 2019. In 2020, there were 71.7 crore males and 66.3 crore females living in India. By 2027, India will most likely overtake China to become the most populous country in the world with 1.47 billion people. India’s population will peak in 2059 with 1.65 billion people according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation (UN world population Prospectus 2019 dated 17th May 2020).

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According to a United Nations study, “The share of the population worldwide over the age of 60 is projected to increase from 8 percent to nearly 20 percent in 2050.” Ageing of the population is a direct consequence of the downward trends in fertility and mortality i.e., low birth rates coupled with long life expectancies. Even though India is among the youngest populated countries in the world we will also encounter the effects of such demographic shifts (i.e. an ageing population) over time.

Major concern for policymakers

This phenomenon of population ageing is becoming a major concern for policy makers all over the world, for both developed and developing countries. However, the problems arising from it will have different implications for underdeveloped, developing and developed countries. For a developing country like India, the size of the elderly population, i.e., persons above the age of 65yrs is likely to pose mounting pressures on various socio-economic fronts. This includes pension outlays, health care expenditures, fiscal discipline, savings levels etc.

Currently, India is experiencing a labour shortage – not enough qualified replacements are available to fill positions in manufacturing, utilities, transportation, government and agriculture, hospitality and gentle care, spirituality, culture and tradition etc.

Several surveys of HR professionals and hiring managers have found that workers over 50 or nearing age of retirement are viewed as having a number of positive qualities, including: loyalty, reliability and dedication, high levels of engagement, strong work ethic, job-related skills, including good communication skills, existing networks of professional and client contacts, broad work and life experiences.

Research also shows that age is essentially unrelated to core task performance and that mature workers outperform younger workers in many areas. Seasoned employees understand the organization’s clients, internal workflows and processes, and lessons from past successes and failures. This knowledge can provide them with a competitive advantage.

Ikigai, the Japanese way of leading a purposeful and happy engaged life, principles can be adapted to Indian cultural norms and used to enrich the lives of our ageing population. The Covid 19 pandemic has impacted the lives of all of us, even more so the ageing population and has adversely affected their socio, emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing.

There is an emerging need to pay greater attention to ageing-related issues and to promote holistic policies and programmes for dealing with an ageing society. Finding an engaging happy win-win solution for a spiritual philosophy-based country like India may set an example for other countries. Lessons from other countries around the world to engage and honour ageing population will be discussed in the Indian context in my next article.

Sudha Turaga – Director Academics , DPS- Pallavi Group of Institutions

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