Santosh Mehrotra is professor of economics at the Centre for Labour, Jawaharlal Nehru University. After an MA in economics from the New School for Social Research, New York, and a PhD in economics from Cambridge University, Mehrotra spent fifteen years with the United Nations (1991-2006) in research positions, heading UNICEF's global research programme at the Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, and as chief economist of the global Human Development Report, New York. He returned to India to head the rural development division and development policy division of the Planning Commission (2006-09). He advises the NITI Aayog, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Skill Development. His writings have been translated into Hindi, Spanish, French, Russian, German and Portuguese.
Every country in the world experiences the benefits of its demographic dividend, a period that comes but once in the life of a nation-when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working-age share. It has the potential to make a country progress towards higher incomes and development. But it can also become a nightmare if there aren't enough jobs.
India entered this period in 1980, and by the time it ends in 2040, ours will be an ageing society. As more and more youth reach working age, an increasing number of workers are moving from agriculture towards industry and services, sectors which have higher productivity and incomes. Higher incomes generate increased savings, which, when invested, convert into GDP growth, leading to development.
Since 2012, the number of youth entrants into the labour force has increased at an accelerating pace, while the number of jobs created has decreased. This situation might become graver between 2020 and 2030 as the labour force swells further. Reviving Jobs, the third volume in the Rethinking India series, offers suggestions on how India can make the best use of the remaining period of its demographic dividend-any failure to do so will cause millions to suffer in poverty for decades to come.