Hidden Wealth


India is all set to grab the “Demographic Dividend”, reports say soon average age of India would be 26, and workers to dependence ratio would decrease.

Delhi is already on the go with massive constructions on the way. New stadiums, better transportation, and off course make up of the whole city. Common Wealth games are in vogue. Uttar Pradesh on the other hand has definitely done more, construction of chief minsters own statues, and totally hollow structures which neither lend substantial public utility nor are environmentally friendly.

Education, which could eradicate every social ill received superficial policies, which moreover created conflicts between state and centre. Mayawati (Chief Minster, Uttar Pradesh) had criticised the UPA government for enacting and implementing the RTE (Right to Education) without provisioning funds for the programme and asked the Central government to provide the money for imparting compulsory education to children of the state. This was criticized by centre. Their answer was just another cyclic-dramatic-response, that if state did not had enough money then why is it wasting on the humongous construction of parks and statues. Centre should then also think why are they wasting money on commonwealth games when India’s athletes are still provided with the least nutrition and archaic sports facilities.

I wonder why we call our nation as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic when there is conflict regarding fund flow. Its more like capitalist society where common man is the victim and political kings and queens are capitalist.

So, can we really grab Demographic Dividend, with the hollow structures and statues. Not at all, demographic dividend is only achievable when human capital is nurtured with superb education and is provided with the best resources.

Number of children in India are 447,291,160 (persons under age group of 19, Source: census of India 2001), which comprises of 43.47% of population. Therefore, children are to be the one on which policies have to concentrate, not only are they majority that can bring substantial change, they are also insecure and innocent.

Childhood, is a critical age, since child’s mind is tender. They are quick to perceive and assimilate thoughts. Since their mind is fresh and without complexities, good education initiates concrete development of ideas. A child who is educated against social ills such as caste system and gender discrimination may totally disown it when taught about it.

Children spread education faster to their peers and family. Mothers feel empowered and secure which leads to positive ramification. Father receive more satisfaction and thus work harder to achieve economic success. But children are very sensitive, a little flaw in system can damage and destroy it . Therefore it requires social and political will with precise infrastructure. That can sustain it.

Children of India are dynamic small units, so vibrant that they can lead to a unstoppable change.

They are nothing but India’s hidden wealth. Waiting to come out.

                                                                Avi Kabir

5 thoughts on “Hidden Wealth

  1. Good one…I like your comparative approach…..thoughtful….I will be happy to see more such reflections on your blog….

  2. Beautiful photo. The basic point you raise, that India can only begin to achieve a demographic dividend when it treats its children with human dignity and respect, could not be more relevant.

    And just a small point I would like to add. The problem we face is not merely disagreements about fund flow. Even if all the funds for SSA and various education schemes reached the appropriate places, one still has to ask whether such programs mean anything when teachers are absent and do not teach, when schools lack proper drinking water facilities, when parents and communities feel distanced and disempowered by the Education Department. And as much as I agree with your that capitalist markets may not be a solution here, one has to wonder why even very poor families have given up on government schools and rely on private education?

    While we sit in our air conditioned rooms spewing hot air about rights, it seems that much of India has already rejected them. As responsible members of society, we should join them in rejecting such “paper rights” as illegitimate and offensive, and we should criticize governments for failing to meet some very basic, basic obligations to children. After all, what value is a Right to Education that does not take seriously the EQUAL dignity of every child?

  3. Most developed countries with high employment rates have focussed on school education and vocational studies. In India, on the other hand, we have been obsessed with higher educatiion, glorifying them with descriptive names like Centres of Excellence. And the better-equipped schools are only for the rich (and the idle ?).
    This could well be a result of our centuries-old upper caste domination. The poor are not to be helped, because that is their lot — this is a lurking feeling in our upper and middle classes. Not that we are always inclined that way — but there is no doubt that in our proactive thinking, we have the higher education in our minds.
    We forget that a good school system and vocational studies covering the majority alone would push us towards meritocracy. And meritocracy is the not only the surest but also the only way to progress.

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