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Population: India's strength or weakness?

07-11-2010 13:43 BJT

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India's nearly 1.2 billion people can provide the strength or be a set back, as the country tries to develop its economy. As the globe marks World Population Day, our India correspondent Shweta Bajaj, found out that although skilled and cheap labor has helped create many entrepreneurs, much needs to be done to fully utilize India's population in a positive direction.

In a small market in New Delhi, designers are mushrooming. Rachna is one of them. Rachna has a small scale business. Even though the business is small in scale, she has more than 15 people working for her. Something, unthinkable in many other countries.

Rachna, Entrepreneur, said, "Labour is cheap and easily available. Also availability of stuff is also easy. Also many other countries outsource work to us from all over the world."

Rachna is not the only one. Bhumika started this boutique less than a year back. Her business involves handwork and availability of skilled labour makes doing business easier.

Bhumika Grover, Entrepreneur, said, "About 20-22 people work for me and availability of skilled labour makes businesses like these possible."

India's labour force is young and growing. A sizeable section of this population is also proficient in English and the remaining masses are eager for employment opportunities. A strength, being used by many sections of the country.

Shweta Bajaj from New Delhi, said, "India's population is likely to over take China's population by the year 2025. But to use this population is the key for the India. For this nurturing its entrepreneurs and shifting population from subsistence agriculture to other means of living would be important."

Despite having one of the youngest populations in the world, India's situation is distinctly different.

In developed countries like Japan where the population growth rate has stabilized, the population is aging.

In comparison, India seems happier. A country poised to become an economic power can rejoice in its huge young workforce.

But that large workforce would need to sustain itself on rapidly depleting resources.

Even though fertility rates have declined in India, older people are living longer.

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