UPA faces tough options
Census 2011 revealed that officially the urban population aggregated about 32%. But it also identified a segment called census towns—overgrown villages that are still governed by panchayats and not a municipality or corporation as in the case of urban areas—or as rural development minister Jairam Ramesh puts it: Rurban.
Taking these census towns into account, the urban population is nearly 50%. In other words, one in two Indians live in urban or semi-urban areas. Further, the census also estimates that 65% of the population of India is less than 35 years of age; implicit is that they were born around or after 1980. This generation differs from the previous one in terms of the aspirations, consistent with how India has gained in economic prowess over the last decade and its gross domestic product is now estimated at nearly $2 trillion.
Unfortunately, their aspirations are not being realized, at least for the majority. Part of the reason is that the education system, mired in a different era, has not equipped them with the requisite skills. The other is that the economy, despite its spectacular surge in the last decade, has not generated sufficient jobs; the phenomenon of jobless growth has been the biggest dampener to the growing aspirations of India’s next generation. Visible corruption in public office will only worsen their frustration levels. Read More