By Anupama Sharma, Executive Director, IIFL Wealth
Can you think of something common between Bhagat Singh, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Amelia Earhart, or for that matter, Alexander the Great? Yes, they all come from very different walks of life and may have walked the earth at different points in time and history. But, at their core, they were all a bunch of youngsters destined to leave a mark on the world. The impact and weight of the youth on the development and future of a country cannot be ignored. As India prides itself on having a ‘young’ population, it is time to note the excellent advantages of being one.
Who constitutes the youth in India?
For a country like India, the word youth is more than a combination of letters strung together. It is, in essence, the fuel that can keep the nation going. India has a large youth population, an asset that can help it touch great heights. Ideally, youth include people between the ages of 15 and 29. According to the ‘Youth in India 2022’ report released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), the youth population in India was 333.4 million in 2011 and will likely be 345.5 million by 2036. Additionally, in 2020, the country had more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and over 65% below the age of 35.
This key section contributes the most to the nation’s advancement, economy, social change, and professional disruption. This gives the country a considerable demographic edge over others. The younger the population, the higher the cumulative thirst of the country to become better. This can be seen across sectors, such as technology, innovation, human resources, art, finances, and others.
How is a large youth population beneficial to India?
The country has struggled with challenges like malnutrition, unemployment, poverty, etc., for decades. However, young minds are capable to channel their disquiet and restlessness into the zest needed for driving the country to a better destination. They bring to the table several valuable attributes like better health, energy, modernity, intellect, and the desire for knowledge. All of these can be instrumental for the growth of a democracy like India.
Internet and youth – a match made in heaven
Today’s change makers are better positioned to orchestrate revolution thanks to tools like the internet and growing nationwide awareness. India has the third-highest number of start-ups in the world. As of July 2022, India was home to 105 unicorns with a total valuation of $338.50 billion. Unicorns are start-ups valued at over $1 billion each. This speaks volumes of where the country is headed.
Calculated risks concerning start-ups, e-commerce, movies, music, dance, etc., are leading to an elevated entrepreneurial spirit among youngsters. The urge to find a source of income in the ordinary and, at times, the extraordinary is driving the country’s economy and creating a new breed of professionals that may not necessarily be doctors and engineers but are definitely better footed financially.
Digitisation has also given sportspersons from rural and urban areas access to quality training, nutrition, and the like. Indian athletes are performing better than ever and bringing back medals and titles from various international championships. The internet has certainly given them a perspective into the changing world dynamics, and, in turn, a platform to realise their full potential.
The art space deserves a pat on the back, too. The over-the-top WhatsApp videos or the aesthetically shot Instagram ones are proof. The influence of ‘influencers’ in even mundane domains like food, clothes, or house décor has given people, especially women, an outlet to monetise their skills. These skills were once only thought appropriate to be passed down to women to make them better wives and mothers. But now they can be seen contributing to the nation’s economic growth and social development.
To sum it up
While India’s youth is its greatest asset, the country is sadly consumed by social auto-cannibalism. It may be jeopardising its future by neglecting that of its youth. Lack of education, gender inequality, poor healthcare, etc., are alarming problems. Nevertheless, the thriving young workforce is a ‘force’ to reckon with. With the right government fellowships, gender equality, opportunities, and education, the biggest democracy can also be the greatest economy in due time.