India will need to generate 280 million jobs between now and 2050, the year when the working-age population (15 to 64) will peak, according to a new report, amid indicators that the country’s demographic dividend could be at the cusp of disaster. Over 22 years of unprecedented economic growth (1991 to 2013), less than half the Indians who sought jobs got them, 140m of 300m, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report. “In China, the number of jobs grew from 628m to 772m between 1991 and 2013, an increase of 144m, but the working-age population increased by 241m,” the report said.
A wider gap in India suggests a more limited capacity to generate employment – a serious challenge given the continued expansion of the workforce. With fears that India is experiencing jobless growth and skepticism abounding that the country may not be able to cash in on its “demographic bonus”, the world’s largest working-age population-869m by 2020-because of limited progress on health, education and job skills.