Much has been said about India’s demographic dividend. 66% of the country is under the age of 35 and the median age of India is 22yrs. As a result our economy has potential to grow faster than any other country including China. We will hold this advantage for the next 2 decades. Can we really benefit from this demographic advantage?
A young population is just the raw material. Unless we have systems to nurture the raw material into a quality finished product, there is no value in it. Most important is the educational system. We need to develop our educational system from bottom to top or we will miss this opportunity.
The state of Andhra Pradesh is a case in point. There are 500 engineering colleges producing about 1.5 Lakh engineers each year. Less than 20% of these engineers are employable and less than 10% are placed immediately after graduation. The rest form the tsunami which hits Ameerpet, a locality in Hyderabad which hosts hundreds of training institutes to train these engineers to find jobs.
Cashing in on the students graduating from the pathetic education system, an entire industry has spawned in Ameerpet where students from all over the country come to get trained on various courses, shelling out Rs 60k – Rs 1.5L for each course. It is like a treadmill where you feel you are getting somewhere and yet get nowhere. Several years pass. Meanwhile agents are paid to get an interview, experience certificates are faked, HRs in companies are paid kickbacks etc. All this for a job in the IT sector, it is just mind boggling. Frustration of an IT job and the increasing suicides of IT employees is a story for another day. As the famous quotation goes: ‘The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat’.
So what is the recourse, while we wait for the education system to improve and the industry to offer more jobs? Entrepreneurship. Combining the private and public sectors, India can offer jobs to only 7% of its population. It has always been like that. What this generation needs to see is that most of India is self employed, right from the farmer to the street side vendors. India has always been a country with a high entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately the IT glitter has blinded the youth and misled most of them.
It is time this generation steps down from the Ameerpet treadmill and looks in the direction of entrepreneurship. There are several options and nothing beats the satisfaction of making it big on your own. Work hard, have fun, make history!
posted by shobhit mathur(youth for seva)