India has only one decade to change its status into a developed country and will need to focus on education, failing which the much-hailed ‘demographic dividend’ will turn into a disadvantage, a report said on Wednesday.
If India is not able to get its act together, it will never be able to go into the developed group of nations, the report by the research wing of country’s largest lender SBI warned.
“India has perhaps now only a limited window of a decade to get into the developed country tag, or stay perpetually in emerging group of economies. Policymakers, wake up and smell the coffee!” the report said.
The report said the government and policymakers would have to focus on young people to ensure they become good citizens and invest in education to achieve the objective and realise the demographic dividend. “India’s strength of demographic dividend could actually turn into India’s disadvantage by 2030,” it warned.
The population growth trend indicates that incremental population growth has been stagnant in the last two decades at approximately 18 crore, and fertility rates are quite diverse across states, it added.
The report said Karnataka, which has seen a decline in birth rate over the last few decades that has led to share of those over 60 years rising to 9.5 per cent in 2011, from 6.1 per cent in 1971, is best representative of the need to focus on education.
With the affluence that comes as a result of slower population growth, people prefer to put their children in private schools and not the government ones, on which a large number of populations still depends.
“The need of the hour is thus to improve the overall situation of government schools across states,” it said, suggesting a slew of changes needed to make the state-run schools perform better. Among them, the SBI economists have suggested to stop granting funds to private schools under right to education and divert the same to upgrade infrastructure in the government schools.
There is also a need for better classrooms, more focus on making English as a medium of teaching, qualified teachers with better remuneration who are not forced to do duties like census surveys, the report said.