Sandeep Jain Writes: Two news articles in the morning newspapers caught my attention. The first described greater people to people engagement with UAE as part of India’s “Look West Policy” and the second described the likely expansion of our urban population as a result of increase in population. The latter article mentioned that by 2022 we may overtake China as the most populous nation as also almost 40 Percent of the population will reside in urban centers. The country would have more population or rather already has a huge population is well known. Successive governments have grappled with the problem of converting this into a demographic dividend by creating better education infrastructure, more jobs and so on.
I want to suggest is that irrespective of the type of education facilities or the number of jobs we create, we cannot accommodate all our population within the country. The only way the demographic dividend can be achieved is by exporting this population to other needy countries. So far the youth have been seeking and getting opportunities abroad mainly on their own. But this has to be actively supported by the government. The 2.6 million Indians in UAE get very little support from the Government of India. While things may have partially improved now, there still are any numbers of instances where Indians get exploited abroad.
The Government has to take steps to actively facilitate movement of population to countries in Middle East, Europe, USA and anywhere else. This should be in form of ensuring their legal rights, ensuring much better counselor services, even subsidies for the initial travel arrangements etc. The government does all these in partial measures but not as a keystone national policy. By creating a large Indian diaspora we get leverage in the host country. One of the reasons for pro India leanings in USA may also be the presence of a growing Indian vote bank in their national politics. The expats also become a source of foreign remittances. They also create a base to attract more relatives and kin.
The government would therefore do well to create structures and opportunities for migration of population abroad. This should be done in a concerted manner while concurrently ensuring that the rights of our nationals do not get easily violated. Then only the demographic dividend that we have been dreaming off can happen.