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‘Youth Bulge’: Calling for Higher Public Investment on Child and Youth Development for Greater Future Returns


  • Seema Joshi

    (Dr Seema Joshi is Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Commerce, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007. E-mail :


The developed world is experiencing rapid aging, rising dependency ratio and shrinking youth population. How ever, the ‘youth bulge’ has been experienced in most Asian countries. India is not an exception to this phenomenon. India experienced fertility decline in the 1970s, so the youth peak was experienced in 1990. India is having 70% of its population below the age of 35 years (GOI, 2008). As per 2001 Census, the size of youth population in India was 422.3 million with 219 million males and 203 million females comprising of 41 percent of the total population. The population in the age group of 25-59 age groups is likely to grow very fast and will constitute half of the country’s population by 2050 (Alam, 2006). This phenomenon of emergence of a large, youthful population i.e. ‘Young Population Bulge’ can be a window of opportunity for India to harness the energy of the youth to fuel economic and social development and to bring in’ demographic dividend’. It has been argued in various studies that public investment on children and youth today can ensure greater future returns to society through higher economic growth (via raising human capital formation) and greater social well being of future generations. It is also believed that more than economic growth, it is the development of human capability in its population that makes a nation prosper. Unarguably, a nation cannot develop properly if people are illiterate, they are not free from illness and malnourishment, have no self respect, no work, and no freedom of choice. The development of these aspects of human capability begins in the early childhood and continues in adulthood. Inter alia, a supportive policy framework can play an important role in ensuring the progress of child development and youth development parameters.Given this background, an attempt will be made in this paper to provide a picture of the public investment targeted to children and youth in India. We will analyze the trends in central and state outlays on services having children or /and youth component (over 1990-2010 period) in case of India. The paper will also provide a brief overview of policy environment for the development of adolescents and youth in India.

Suggested Citation

  • Seema Joshi, 2012. "‘Youth Bulge’: Calling for Higher Public Investment on Child and Youth Development for Greater Future Returns," Working Papers 2012/19, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wendy Cunningham & Linda McGinnis & Rodrigo García Verdú & Cornelia Tesliuc & Dorte Verner, 2008. "Youth at Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean : Understanding the Causes, Realizing the Potential," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6483, November.
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    rapid aging; dependency ratio; youth bulge’; window of opportunity; demographic dividend’. central and state outlays; services having children or /and youth component.;

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