Population : news and updates

  • Birth and Death Registrations Increased in 2019
    What is the News?

    The Office of the Registrar General of India has released a report titled “Vital Statistics of India Based on The Civil Registration System”.

    About the Report:
    • The report provides an overview of the working of the Civil Registration System(CRS) in the country. It presents a compilation of data on registered births, deaths, and sex ratio based on Civil Registration Records.
    • Data: The level of registration was arrived at using Sample Registration System Rates for 2018. It is because the survey for 2019 which was scheduled for 2020 could not be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Key Findings of the Report: The level of birth and death registration with the Civil Registration System (CRS) in India has gone up considerably in 2019.

    Birth Registration:

    Read Also :-NFHS National Family Health Survey findings

    • Based on information received from the 32 States/UTs, the share of institutional births to total registered births is 81.2 %.
    • The level of registration of births has increased to 92.7% in 2019 from 82.4% in 2011.
    • 14 States/UTs have achieved the 100% level of registration of births. Around 10 out of 20 major States have crossed the 90% level of registration of births.
    • Out of the total registered births, the share of males and females are 52.1% and 47.9% respectively.
    • In case of registration of births within the prescribed time period of 21 days, the 15 States/UTs have achieved more than 90% registration of births to the total births registered.
      • The three States namely Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have achieved 80 to 90% registration of births within 21 days.
    • Highest Sex Ratio at Birth(SRB) based on Registered events has been reported by Arunachal Pradesh(1024), followed by Nagaland(1001), Mizoram(975) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands(965).
    • Lowest Sex Ratio at Birth(SRB) has been reported by Gujarat(901), Assam(903), Madhya Pradesh(905) followed by Jammu & Kashmir (909).
    Death Registration:
    • The number of registered deaths has increased from 69.5 lakhs in 2018 to 76.4 lakhs in 2019.
    • Out of the total registered deaths, the share of male and female are 59.6% and 40.4% respectively.
    • Based on information provided from 31 States/UTs, the share of Institutional deaths in total registered deaths is 32.1%.
    • In case of registration of deaths within the prescribed time period of 21 days, 11 States/UTs have achieved more than 90% registration of deaths to the total deaths registered.
    • The level of registration of deaths has increased from 66.4% in 2011 to 92.0% in 2019.
    • Among the states, 19 States/UTs have achieved 100% percent level of registration of deaths.
    • In case of registration of infant deaths, the share of urban areas is 75.5% compared to rural with only 24.5%.

    Source: The Hindu

    Read Also :-What is National Family Health Survey (NFHS)?

  • China’s shift from “one-child policy” to “three-child policy”
    What is the News?

    China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.

    About China’s One-Child Policy:
    • China’s One-Child Policy was announced in 1980 by then-leader Deng Xiaoping.
    • The policy was adopted out of fear that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
    • The policy was implemented through several means. Such as, incentivising families financially to have one child, making contraceptives widely available and imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy.
    • However, the policy was also a source of discontent as:
      • The state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.
      • Controversial for violating human rights
      • Being unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.
    Was the One Child Policy successful?
    • The policy has been blamed for making China’s population aged faster than other countries, impacting the country’s growth potential.
    • It is also suggested that because of the one-child policy, China would be unable to reap the full benefits of its economic growth and will need other ways to support it.
    China’s Two-Child Policy:
    • In 2016, China relaxed its One Child Policy. It allowed two children per couple. However, the policy change did little to change the rapid fall in population growth.
    • According to Census 2020, around 12 million babies were born in 2020. This is a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016 and also the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
    • Hence, this was the reason why China has now relaxed its two-child policy and has allowed couples to have up to three children.

    China's birthrate

    Will the Three-child policy increase childbirth?

    The experts have said that relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift. They have said that the reasons for fewer children being born in China are:

    • Rising costs of living, education and supporting ageing parents.
    • Country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.
    • Culture Shift with many couples believing that one child is enough and some expressing no interest in having children.

    Source: The Hindu

  • Supreme Court’s Directions for Welfare of Migrant Workers
    What is the News?

    The Supreme Court has passed a number of directions in connection with the problems faced by the migrant labourers and workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    What was the issue?
    • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court in connection with the problems faced by migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The petitioners asked the court to issue directions. It is to ensure that migrant workers are not deprived of ration and food security. Also, they should be able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    What are the directions issued by the Supreme Court?
    1. Firstly, the Supreme Court has asked the Central Government to complete the process of the National Database for Unorganised Workers(NDUW).
      • The database would make it easier for the government to identify and provide essentials; such as food and dry rations to stranded migrant labourers and workers.
    2. Secondly, the court directed states to provide migrant workers with dry ration under the Atma Nirbhar Scheme or any other suitable scheme.
    3. Thirdly, the court directed the states and Union territories to open sufficient community kitchens. It is to provide cooked food for the migrant workers.
    4. Fourthly, the court asked the Central government to clarify what steps it had taken under the Code of Social Security of 2020. The code provides for the registration of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
    5. Lastly, the Court underlined the need for a suitable mechanism. It is to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes are reaching the intended beneficiaries.

    Source: The Hindu

  • Significance of Rent Waiver in tackling Reverse Migration

    Synopsis:  State support for food and income along with rent waiver during the pandemic to workers and migrants can stop reverse migration.

     Why waive rents for migrants during the pandemic crisis?
    • One,  According to the findings by the RMKU and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Jaipur, on a survey of 500 domestic workers, rent formed the majority component of debt post lockdowns.
    • Two, it is one of the leading causes of mass reverse migration, according to the reports by the Stranded Workers Action Network.
    Why the steps taken by the government to waive rent for migrants failed during the first covid wave?

    Last year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in an order stated that the landlords should not demand rent from the workers, including the migrants for a period of 1 month. However, this measure was largely a failure due to the following reasons.

    • One, lack of clarity. The order did not state clearly whether the rent to be waived or just deferred.
    • Two, no incentives for Landlords. Many landlords, especially the old-aged population rely on rent for their sustenance. Thus, lack of incentives from the government for the needy resulted in noncompliance.
    • Three, lack of enforceable mechanism. There was no creation of a regulation body to monitor the enforcement of this order.
    Solutions to address this issue?
    • First, a moratorium should be announced with a clearer enforcement mechanism, with a clear distinction between deferment and rent waivers.
    • Second, the state should provide compensation to Landlords for lost rent, at least a partial amount.
    • Third, direct cash transfer for rent support based on rental market conditions can be a part of the solution.
    • Fourth, limited waivers on utility expenses of workers. For example, partial waiver on electricity bills and penalties charged on non-payment.

    Returning to their villages is not a willful choice for migrants, as villages are lacking employment, no skills for agricultural employment, and the absence of social ties. Yet, they are forced to take this painful journey due to a lack of livelihood options in urban areas. State support for basic food (PDS), shelter (Rent waiver), and direct cash transfer for basic sustenance can halt the reverse migration of migrants.

    Source: The Hindu


  • Government’s Apathy towards Migrant communities

    Synopsis: The government is not showing any Apathy towards Migrant communities to address the challenges faced by them. It is despite their increased vulnerability to the shocks in the economy.

    • The second wave of the Pandemic has once again led to the enforcement of Strict to moderate lockdowns in states.
    • This has resulted in a loss of jobs for Informal workers employed in many industries. Majority of the migrants work in the informal sector.
    • Despite their increased vulnerability in the informal sector, government efforts to support them through policymaking have been inadequate.
    About Migrants
    • Migrants are ‘mobile by default’, They are a product of growing rural distress and inadequate official policies failing to support the ailing rural economy.
    • They benefit the urban economy by providing cheap labor to manufacturing units and cheap services to households.
    What are the challenges faced by the migrant population?
    • Unemployment in urban areas due to Pandemic induced Economic distress.
    • Lack of access to accommodation.
    • A lack of sustainable income and savings to ensure food due to near insolvency.
    • Reverse migration by paying exorbitant costs for travel.
    • Falling victim to COVID-19.
    • Lack of livelihood opportunities in their hometowns in the rural economies.
    • Lack of new job opportunities, due to shrinking National Rural Employment Guarantee Act allotments by the government.
    • Lastly, Lack of legal status as a working population.
    What needs to be done?

    The recent official announcement of a free ration of 5 kg cereals to 80 crore families is the only benefit visible so far. However, it is not sufficient;

    • Government should strive to calculate the official estimate of migrant workers, either incoming or reverse. This will help in objective policy planning.
    • Need to alleviate rural distress by providing support to the ailing agriculture economy.
    • There is a need to provide some short-term relief for migrant workers and their families to support their livelihood during the Pandemic.
    • Migrant workers should be provided with legal backing.
    • Modifications  in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 are required to strengthen the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments

    Source: The Hindu

  • “Myanmar refugees” can approach UNHCR: Manipur HC

    What is the News?

    Seven Myanmar nationals entered illegally and stayed in Manipur. They demanded a safe passage to New Delhi to get protection from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). Recently the Manipur High Court has allowed them to seek protection from the UNHCR in New Delhi.

    About Myanmar refugees and the recent case

    • After a military coup in Myanmar, the country is facing many challenges. There are many Myanmar citizens who started fleeing their country. Of them, seven Myanmar citizens fled from Myanmar and entered India illegally.
    • The Centre has directed authorities in North-Eastern states to check the flow of “illegal migrants” coming from Myanmar.
    • Recently, a petition was filed in the Manipur High Court. The petition stated that the central government directions failed to differentiate between a migrant and a refugee.
    • Hence, the petitioner requested the court to allow the safe passage for seven Myanmar Citizens to approach the UNHCR at New Delhi for protection.
    • Recently the Manipur High Court permitted the safe passage of these 7 Myanmar citizens.

    Court observation on Myanmar refugees

    • Firstly, the court said that the Myanmarese individuals in question are not ‘migrants’ as normally understood. Instead, the Manipur HC mention them as ‘asylum seekers.
    • Secondly, India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions said the court. However, India is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
    • Thirdly, apart from that, certain protections are guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of India’s Constitution that is applicable to foreigners also.
    • Fourthly, protections under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution will also include the right of non-refoulement for asylum seekers. This was interpreted by the Supreme Court in several of its judgements.
      • Non-refoulement: It is the cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee cannot return to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
    • Hence, the court has allowed the Myanmar nationals to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the UNHCR.

    Source: The Hindu

  • What is “Maharashtra’s two-child norm” for govt employees?
    What is the News?

    A woman officer from the Maharashtra Prison Department has three children. But she suppressed that information to the authorities during the inquiry. As this is a violation of  Maharashtra Civil Services rules, she was dismissed from service recently.

    About Maharashtra’s two-child norm for Government Employees:
    • Maharashtra’s two-child norm for govt employees has been specified under the Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rules,2005.
    • The rules make the Small Family norm an additional essential requirement for Groups A, B, C, D of the Maharashtra government employees.
    • It mandates filing a small family declaration at the time of applying for a government job.
    • It defines a small family as wife, husband and two children. The definition of child under these rules does not include adopted children.
    • Further, the rules specify that a person is not eligible for a job with Maharashtra Government if he or she has more than two children after 2005 (date of commencement of rule).
    • The rules also provide that if one or more than one child is born in a single delivery within a year of the commencement. Then it shall not be considered for the disqualification of the rules.
    • Further, the rules also empower the state government to give relaxation in a ‘just and reasonable’ manner. But it also mandates to record such reasons for relaxation.
    • Maharashtra is one of the few states in the country that have a ‘two children’ policy for appointment in government jobs. This policy is also applicable even for the elections of some local government bodies also.
    • Other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Gujarat, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam also have a similar policy.

    Source: Indian Express


  • Migrants Workers, Who Returned to Cities Earned five-fold : Study
    What is the News?

     Yale University tracked 5,000 migrants workers across north and central India from April 2020 to February 2021. Recently, it released the findings of the survey.

    The survey was conducted over the phone by researchers from Yale and the Inclusion Economics India Centre. Bihar and Chhattisgarh are “source states”.

    What are the key findings of the survey?
    • Migrant workers who returned to cities for work after the first Covid-19 lockdown earned roughly five times as much as those who stayed back.
    • The first Covid-19 induced lockdown affected women migrants, more than men.
    • After the first lockdown, only 45% of female migrants returned to their urban workplaces. However, 40% of them earned no income across a week in which they were tracked in February 2021.
      • In comparison, 55% of men returned to their workplaces and only a quarter of them had no income across the same week in February 2021.
    • Male migrant workers who returned to urban areas after the first lockdown for work earned up to 90% of their pre-pandemic earnings. But the women earned up to 72% of their pre-pandemic income.
      • While, female migrant workers who did not return to urban areas earned only 23% of their pre-pandemic income. Whereas female migrant workers earned just 13%.
    • Further, more than 40% of those who stayed home were still concerned about running out of food after the harvest season. More than 20% of them said they were eating less than normal.
    Conclusion of the survey:
    • The survey has found that those migrant workers who remained at home in rural areas after the first lockdown were more likely to report being unemployed. It reduced their food consumption, mortgaging or selling assets, spending down savings, and taking loans to make ends meet.
    • Hence, it has urged policymakers to make efforts to retain workers in urban areas. It has also asked them to focus more on women by providing economic support through employers and rations.

    Source: Indian Express


  • A Crisis of Reverse Migration

    Synopsis- As the Covid-19 curb expands, a crisis of reverse migration of labors from manufacturing centers to native places has appeared once again.

    • The second wave of COVID-19 brings a threat of national-wide lockdown. It triggered a mass migration of low-wage migrant workers from industrial centers and cities to their native places just like a year ago.
    • As per study, only 5 – 7.7 percent of migrants reported being engaged in MGNREGA.
    • The Centre and the state governments have failed to learn from the previous lockdown.

    The misery of migrant workers is that existing government programmes cannot provide gainful employment opportunities to the migrants at their native places.

    Impact of Pandemic on migrant worker-

    ICRIER, in collaboration with the Inferential Survey Statistics and Research Foundation (ISS&RF) conducted a three phase survey on migrant workers. It aimed to assess the varying degrees of vulnerabilities among the migrants prior to, during, and after the first lockdown.

    • As per survey, after reverse migration there were no employment opportunity for these migrants in their native places. Thus, their household incomes fell by 86%.
    • The following data shows the employment status of migrant workers at native places after reverse migration-
        • 35.4 percent had no employment
        • involvement in agriculture as self-employed (SE) labour was 35.8 percent.
        • 9.7 percent worked as agriculture labour.
        • 4.6 percent in MNREGA and other public works.
        • 12.2 percent as casuals in other non-agriculture work.
    How can the government help migrant workers?
    1. Firstly, Priority should be given to the portability of entitlements and social safety nets.
      • Expansion of one-nation, one-ration-card scheme to make subsidized grains available at places of work in cities and industrial centres.
      • Provide free ration to migrant workers from the government overflowing godowns.
      • Financial help under the Garib Kalyan Yojana must extend to migrants to help them remain in their cities of their work.
      • Migrant workers should put under group medical insurance.
    2. Secondly, existing government programmes should be strengthened-
      • The scope of employment under MGNREGA should be expanded to include a wide range of skilled and unskilled migrants.
      • The government should engage returning migrants in the creation of new agri-value chains. It can generate sustainable jobs.
    3. Thirdly, Comprehensive database on migrants – The government should digitize all data on migrant workers in order to develop an action plan in the event that another mass migration occurs.

    Source- The Indian Express

  • Need to Prioritise Vaccination for Migrant workers

    Synopsis: The migrant workers contribute significantly to the economy, however, they are also more vulnerable to the Covid crisis. Hence, the government needs to prioritize Vaccination for the migrant population.

    • COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the nation and nearly 105 million Indians have been vaccinated so far.
    • Priorities for vaccination in India are based on occupation, age and health conditions.
    • But the migrant community with no specific definitions based on any criteria, are not on the priority list for vaccination
    Why Migrant population needs to be added in the priority list for vaccination?

    First, the Migrant Population is more vulnerable to the Covid crisis than any other community. For instance,

      1. One, Covid crisis has severely impacted their livelihood opportunities. During lockdown, millions of migrant workers lost their jobs, forcing them and their families to poverty.
      2. Two, owing to their informal employment, they lack access to adequate healthcare, nutrition, housing as well as sanitation facilities.
      3. Three, the COVID-19 crisis displaced nearly 200 million migrants. It was the second-largest population displacement since Partition

    Second, despite their informal nature they contribute significantly to the Indian economy. For instance,

        • Out of 90 percent of work in the informal sector, 75 percent of work comes from migrants. Further, vulnerable circular migrants manage most of the essential services.

    Third, lack of access to vaccination will deprive them of employment opportunities. This will result in a drop in developmental indicators such as the health and education of migrant families. The migrant community needs an adequate support system to survive this Pandemic.

    Fourth, further, failure to prioritize their vaccination will result in an economic crisis such as low productivity, increasing unemployment, and breakdown of the critical informal services.

    Welfare measures for the migrant population

    To ensure food security, the government announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore spending plan for the poor through cash transfers and other measures.

      • One, the average daily wages under the MGNREGA were increased to Rs 202 from the earlier Rs 182.
      • Two, free food grains for 80 million migrant workers through PDS were also announced.
      • Three, the government-operated separate buses for the stranded migrants.
      • Four, the Centre issued an order instructing landlords not to demand rent and employers to pay wages without deduction during the lockdown period. (the order regarding payment of wages was later withdrawn)
    Issues in welfare measure for migrants 

    Despite these efforts, the welfare measures have not been able to effectively address the problems of the migrant population.

    • One, migrants were unable to benefit from the food security schemes. Because ration cards were area-specific and some fair-price stores were inaccessible during the lockdown. Further, lack of awareness about One Nation, One Ration Card schemes denied them access to free food grains.
    • Two, the Supreme Court denied a plea requiring payment of the minimum wage to the migrant population. It stated that labourers had already been supplied with free food at the relief camps.Source: Indian Express
  • Covid-19 Pandemic and Internal Migration in India- Explained, Pointwise

    As per the 2011 census, there are 450 million (38% of the population) internal migrants in India. The World Bank report titled Migration and Development Briefmentions that nearly 40 million internal migrants are affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Further, the Internal migrants in India faced various challenges in their migrated state, migration path and home state.

    The Covid-19 second wave is presently forcing states to implement lockdown. This once again highlighted the challenges faced by internal migrants in India.

    The amount of Internal Migrants in India

    According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Migration and Cities’, India’s internal migration is growing at 4.5 per cent annually.

    The Economic Survey of India 2017 estimates that the magnitude of inter-state migration in India was close to 9 million annually between 2011 and 2016.

    • UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP had the highest ‘outmigration’.
    • Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat had the largest ‘in-migration’.

    Causes of Internal Migration in India
    1. Urbanization: Rural-urban migration is a major characteristic of urban transition in India. The rates of urbanization influence rural-urban wage differences. An increase in the demand for labour in urban areas and better wages increase migration.
    2. Marriage: Marriage is an important social factor for migration. As observed by Census 2011, the majority of the women migration is due to marriage.
    3. Employment: The prime reason for migration from rural to urban areas and urban to urban areas in search of better employment in industries, trade, transport and services.
      • For Example, significant numbers of people from drought-prone regions—e.g. from areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra—migrate seasonally to work in brickmaking, construction, tile factories, and agricultural work. Such migration is of both rural-rural and rural-urban streams.
    4. Education: Due to the lack of educational facilities in rural areas, people migrate to urban areas for better academic opportunities. In the 2011 census, about 1.77% of people migrated for education.
    5. Lack of security: Political disturbances and interethnic conflicts is another reason for internal migration.
    Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on internal migration

    According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) report 4.1 million youth lost Jobs during the pandemic.

      • Construction and agriculture witnessed major job losses among seven key sectors.
      • The worst-hit migrant is “vulnerable circular migrants”. Almost 200 million of them were affected by the Covid-19 disruption.
      • Further, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) mentions that three-quarters of these job losses were at small traders and wage labourers level.
        Vulnerable circular migrants: These are the migrants who also have a foothold in rural and urban areas. For example, They might work in construction sites, rickshaw pullers in cities, etc. But when these urban jobs face any issues they will go to their rural areas in search of Job.
      • Migrant workers from the Textile and garment industry and construction industry and other migrants in brick kilns were also affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic induced lockdown.
    Impact of the pandemic on internal migrants

    Migrants are less familiar with their new environment. So the pandemic caused various social, economical, psychological and emotional trauma on internal migrants.

    1. Associated non-covid death of internal migrants: nearly 1.14 crore migrant workers moved towards their home. This is more than the population of Uttarakhand state. Overall there is at least 971 non-covid death. In that, nearly 96 workers died on trains.
    2. Increased demand in MGNREGS jobs: According to Government data, over 11 crore people worked under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS) during the financial year 2020-21. This is the first time since the launch of the scheme there were 11 crore beneficiaries. This is due to the returning of internal migrants.
    3. Challenges in the distribution of essential items and relief materials: As there is a lack of credible data or registration of migrants the migrants not received their essential items and relief materials. This is because the last migration survey by the National Sample Survey was conducted in 2007-08.
    4. A rise in the level of inequality: The Oxfam international points out the level of increased inequality due to the internal migrant movement in “The Inequality Virus report”. The migrant exodus worsened the level of inequality further.
    5. Challenges under temporary shelters and quarantine centres: During they move towards their home state they have to cross various states. As each state followed different protocols for quarantine the migrants faced both mental trauma and physical challenges.
    6. Absence of effective laws: As there is no coherent law on the unorganized sector. Migrant workers were not able to demand their rights and entitlements. Further, there is also a Poor implementation of protections under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979. The ISMW Act provides protections for inter-state migrant workers, especially from exploitation. But the Act poorly implemented as the penalties are lower.

    Impact of the pandemic induced reverse migration on economy

    Indian economy suffered largely due to massive reverse migration(exodus). The impacts include,

    1. The collapse of mini-economies: Migrants remain as a sustainable labour supply in urban areas. The sudden internal migrant exodus changed this drastically. For example, closure of small petty shops in front of urban offices.
    2. Increase in cost of labour: This is witnessed especially in industrialised and manufacturing states. The internal migrants supplemented the local workforce. But since they move to their home state, the high demand for labour increased the cost of labour.
    3. Production delay: India’s GDP aggregate depends on high growth industrial or trade centres. For example, the Covid-19 mask manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra faced a shortage in labour as the Internal migrants moved to home states.
    4. Stress on MSMEs: The MSME sector that relied on cheap labour and ancillary inputs also faced challenges. Further, there was also a domino effect in the MSME sector due to the hardships of bigger companies.
    5. Framing of local reservation policies: Since migrant workers faced challenges at local, regional and national levels, the states try to protect them by making reservation laws. These laws aimed towards providing reservation for locals in private jobs. States such as Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh tried to implement them.
    6.  Crowded agricultural sector: The migrant workers who lost a job in manufacturing moved to the rural areas and demanded jobs at very low wages. This made the agriculture sector more crowded and also created Stagnation in agricultural wages.


    Suggestions for improving the conditions of internal migrants
    • India needs to formulate migration centric policies, strategies, and institutional mechanisms. Such as,
      1. Providing equal or better wages to migrant workers by implementing national minimum wage.
      2.  The government can also explore displacement allowance, home journey allowance, free medical facilities, etc for internal migrants.
      3. Creating present migrant data pool instead of relying on past information like NSSO, Census, etc.
      4. The state governments have to generate decentralised data and enforcement officers for implementing the labour codes, ISMW Act, etc.
      5. The government has to provide amenities and social securities for the migrant population.  For instance, pan India implementation of the Kerala government’s Aawaz health insurance scheme for migrant workers.
    • The government can also assess the implementation of NITI Aayog’s “draft national policy on migrant workers. The important recommendations of the policy are,
      • The Ministry of Labour and Employment has to create a special unit to help converge the activities of other Ministries. This unit would manage migration resource centres in high migration zones.
      • Role of Panchayats:  Panchayats should maintain a database of migrant workers. It would issue identity cards and passbooks to workers.
      • Inter-state migration management bodies should be set up to cover the nation’s key migration corridors: Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai; Bihar and Delhi; Western Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, etc

    The world reports points out that India’s internal migration is growing 4.5 percent annually and the urban population is expected to be 50 per cent by 2050 India needs to take care of the situation of internal migrant effectively. But for that, India has to start working on the current data of internal migrants. Further In-depth understanding of the cause and effect of internal migration is the need of the hour.

  • An Anlaysis of SC Ruling on Rohingyas

    Synopsis: Supreme court recently ruled against providing protection to Rohingya refugees. It signifies a flawed understanding of the international convention to protect Refugees.

    • Recently an application was filed before the supreme court to release the Rohingya refugees. They were detained in a sub-jail in Jammu and were likely to be deported to Myanmar.
    • The Supreme court disposed of the application.
    • It signifies a lack of understanding of international law and constitutional protections for refugees.
    About Rohingyas
    • The Rohingyas are termed as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority by the U.N
    • In August 2017, the Myanmar military launched a clearance campaign in the Rakhine state (home to the ethnic Rohingya).
    • As many as 7,50,000 Rohingyas fled to the neighboring states to escape a military crackdown and brutality.
    India and Rohingyas
    1. Nearly 40,000 Rohingyas who were feared of Genocide entered India and got settled in Refugee camps.
    2. Recently, the home ministry had issued circulars to states sharing borders with Myanmar to identify, detain and deport Rohingyas back to Myanmar.
    3. Following this, few states withdrew their support to provide food, shelter, or even essential medical care to the refugees.
    4. In Jammu and Kashmir after a biometric verification drive, over 170 Rohingya refugees were detained despite having UNHCR refugee cards.
    5. The Indian government labeled them as illegal economic migrants and perceived them as a national security threat. They are also excluded from the Citizenship Amendment Act.
    6. In the past, India has differentiated illegal migrants and Refugees in its treatment of Afghan, Sri Lankan, or Tibetan refugees.
    7. However, lack of consideration over Rohingyas as refugees is a disservice done to thousands of lives who are already affected by Ethnic cleansing.
    What arguments are given by the supreme court?
    1. First, SC held that refugees cannot invoke Article 32 right. However, the constitutional safeguards of Articles 14 and 21 are equally available to every person, including refugees.
    2. Second, the distanced itself from commenting on the genocide happening in Myanmar. The court distanced itself despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) observation that the Rohingya had suffered genocide.
    3. Third, the court ignored India’s binding commitment to non-refoulment and obligations in prohibiting genocide. India has ratified the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1959.
        • Principle of Non-Refoulement: It prevents expulsion of a refugee where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
    4. Fourth, allowing Rohingyas to get deported is a breach of Article 21 and against the Gujarat High Court ruling In Ktaer Abbas Habib Al Qutaifi v Union of India. Even, Delhi High Court in Dongh Lian Kham v Union of India (2016) held the same view.
        • According to the Delhi and Gujarat High court, the Principle of Non-Refoulement protects the life and liberty of a human being irrespective of his nationality.
    5. Fifth, the court stated that petitioners’ claim to a right against deportation should be seen along with the right to reside. Under Article 19 right to reside is only available to citizens. But Rohingyas had never asked for the right to reside. Rather they have prayed for the right to life to reside in a camp and the right to liberty to protect them from arbitrary arrests, harassment, and intimidation.

    Source: Indian Express

  • UNFPA Releases “State of World Population Report 2021”

    What is the News?

    The United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) has released its flagship report “State of World Population Report 2021” titled ‘My Body is My Own’.

    About State of World Population Report 2021:
    • The State of World Population is an annual report. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publishes it.
    • The focus of the Report: Bodily autonomy is the first time the focus of the report. Bodily autonomy defined as the power and agency to make choices about your body without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you.
    • Examples of Violation of Bodily Autonomy: Some examples of violation of bodily autonomy include:
      • child marriage
      • female genital mutilation
      • lack of contraceptive choices leading to unplanned pregnancy,
      • unwanted sex exchanged for a home and food
      • when people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities cannot walk down a street without fear of assault or humiliation.
    Key Findings of the Report:
    • Nearly half the women from 57 developing countries do not have the right to make decisions regarding their bodies. Decisions including using contraception, seeking healthcare, or even on their sexuality.
    • Choices over Health Care: Only 55% of women are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception, and the ability to say yes or no to sex.
    • Maternity Care: Only 71% of countries guarantee access to overall maternity care
    • Access to Contraception: Only 75% of countries legally ensure full, equal access to contraception.
    • Sexual health: Only about 80% of countries have laws supporting sexual health and well-being.
    • Sexuality Education: Only about 56% of countries have laws and policies supporting comprehensive sexuality education.

    India’s National Family Health Survey(NFHS) Report: According to NFHS-4 Report(2015-2016):

    • Decisions on Healthcare: Only about 12% of currently married women (15-49 years of age) independently make decisions about their own healthcare. While 63% decide in consultation with their spouse.
      • For a quarter of women (23%), it is the spouse that mainly takes decisions about healthcare.
    • Use of Contraception: Only 8% of currently married women (15-49 years) take decisions on the use of contraception independently. While 83% decide jointly with their spouse.
    • Information on Contraception: There is limited information provided to women about the use of contraception. Only 47% of women who use a contraceptive were informed about the side effects of the method. Further, only 54% of women were provided information about other contraceptives.
    About United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA):
    • UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. It aims to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
    • Headquarters: New York, United States.

     Source: The Hindu

  • Ambiguities Over the Status of Rohingyas in India


    India has shown an ambiguous stance over the status of Rohingyas in India. This has created some complexities, thus it desires alteration as per international law.

    • It is assumed that the Supreme Court(SC) has implicitly accepted the center’s view that Rohingya in India are illegal immigrants. 
    • The belief is based on the court’s refusal to release 300 Rohingyas from detention camps in Jammu and Delhi. The court called for their deportation under the Foreigners Act, 1946.
    • However, different countries/organizations have different stances over them.
    Stand of different Stakeholders over the status of Rohingyas :
    • The UN treats Rohingya as refugees. As per the organization, the Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine state in 2017 created the world’s biggest refugee crisis.
      • The 1951 UN convention on the status of refugees and 1967 protocol defines refugees as:
        • Persons who fled their homes and countries due to a well-founded fear of persecution. The persecution can be because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
    • Bangladesh gave refuge to Rohingyas in the Cox Bazaar region on humanitarian grounds. It converted the region into the biggest refugee camp in the world.
    • Myanmar believes that Rohingyas are illegal immigrants that entered their country from Bangladesh. 
    Ambiguous Stance of India:
    • The Indian PM has assured Bangladeshi PM that both countries will ensure the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar sustainably. There are about a million refugees in Myanmar and 40000 in India.
    • Further, India allowed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to carry out verification and provide some of them with identity cards. Approximately 14000  issued refugee identity cards.
    • However, the solicitor general has imposed allegations of terrorism and communalism on them and demanded their deportation.
    How has India been able to maintain this ambiguity?
    • The country is non-signatory to the 1951 UN Convention or the 1967 Protocol.
    • Further, it doesn’t have a dedicated refugee law or policy that determines who should be given the refugee status.
      • Some people say the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 comes closest to a refugee policy. Although it discriminates between refugees on the basis of religion in offering them Indian citizenship.

    It allows the government to declare any person as an illegal migrant. Despite this, the country has nearly 3 lakh refugees.

    Issues with Deportation of Rohingyas:
    • An influx of Pro-Democracy Protestors: They have entered India through Manipur and Mizoram since the Feb 2021 military coup in Myanmar. If refugee status is given to them, then it would be very difficult to deport Rohingyas as both face a threat of persecution.
    • Cooperation from Myanmar: Myanmar is reluctant to admit Rohingyas under its territory. Further India has been able to send back only a few refugees in the last 4 years. 
    • Principle of non-refoulment: The desire to send back Rohingyas goes against this principle. India is bound to follow it as it is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
        • The principle states that no refugee shall be returned in any manner to any country where he or she would be at risk of persecution.
    • Differential Treatment: India offers Voluntary repatriation to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees after the end of the civil war in 2009. Further, they can seek jobs and send their children to schools. 

    Thus, the need is to engage with agencies like UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and country of origin (Myanmar). This will result in the creation of an enabling environment for voluntary repatriation in consonance with international law.


    Source: Indian Express 

  • Refugee problem in India and its solutions

    Synopsis: By introducing appropriate legal and institutional measures India has to solve the issue of the refugee problem in India.


    The fleeing Myanmar citizens were turned away at the Indian border in the Northeast. This revived the debate about protecting refugees in India. Rohingyas also faced similar problems earlier.

    • India was witnessing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and its impact on those seeking refugees. Now, the refugees from Myanmar will not get any benefit under the law.
    • India wants an end to the illegal immigration from neighbouring countries. Illegal immigration is a threat to the socio-political fabric of India.
    What refugee problems India have?

    The issue of refugees often gets included under illegal immigration. These two different issues get jumbled together. Policies and solutions to deal with these issues suffer from a lack of clarity.

    • Firstly, confusion in policies is because as per Indian law, both categories of people are viewed as the same. They both are covered under the Foreigners Act, 1946. The definition of a foreigner in the act is a person who is not a citizen of India.
    • Secondly, India lacks legal provisions to deal with them separately. India is not a part of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. The absence of such convention and its legal framework leads to policy vagueness.
      • It also increases the risk of the domestic politicisation of protecting the refugees.
    • Thirdly, informal methods allow the government to pick and choose the refugees it wants to admit or send back.
    • Fourthly, India is concerned that their decision might annoy the Generals in Myanmar. Further, protecting refugees will also bring closer China-Myanmar ties. This will hurt India’s interests in Myanmar.
    • Fifthly, The CAA is not the solution to the refugee problem. Because it is discriminatory in nature based on religion. The CAA is an act of refugee avoidance, not refugee protection.
    Should India become a part of the refugee convention?

    India has the largest number of refugees in the world. Even though, it was not a part of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

    • The definition of refugees in the 1951 convention only refers to the violation of civil and political rights, but not economic rights. If economic rights were to be included, then it would pose a major burden on the developed world.
    • Scholar B.S. Chimni suggested that India should not agree to the 1951 convention when the European countries themselves are violating the provisions of it. He mentioned that the no entry regime of Western countries is a clear violation of the 1951 convention.
      • The non-entrée regime is constituted by several legal and administrative measures. This includes Indirect policies to reject refugees like,
        • Visa restrictions, carrier sanctions and interdictions.
        • Restrictive interpretations of the definition of a refugee.
        • Removal of social welfare benefits to asylum seekers etc.
    Suggestion to improve the Refugee situation in India:

    India must use its history of refugee protection to begin a global conversation on the refugee problem.

    • Creation of New domestic law aimed at refugees.  In the absence of proper legal measures, refugee documentation, and work permit, refugees may end up becoming illegal immigrants. So, such a law should include certain essential provisions. Such as,
      • Allowing refugees for temporary shelter and providing work permits.
      • Differentiate between temporary migrant workers, illegal immigrants and refugees.
      • The law should deal with each of them differently through proper legal and institutional mechanisms.

    Source: The Hindu

    Issue of Refugees in India – Explained, Pointwise

  • Refugee Problem in India – Explained, Pointwise

    The Refugee Problem in India is again in the limelight after the February 2021 coup in Myanmar. Numerous people are coming to India from Myanmar to save their lives. However, the Indian government is reluctant to allow this influx considering the challenges posed by refugees.

    India’s stance towards refugees had remained accommodative in the past. It has welcomed them from diverse countries subject to national interest and resource availability. 

    Humanitarian spirit, national security and legal framework can tackle the current refugee problem. 

    About the recent Refugee Problem
    • Myanmar witnessed refugee influx after the coup in the country and subsequent military rule. Some democratic groups started protesting against the coup. It resulted in the military crackdown on the dissenters. 
    • So, Many people in Myanmar and the security forces who oppose the coup, start fleeing the country and entering India.
    • Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directed Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India.
      1. It has also called for sealing the border with Myanmar so as to curtail the influx.
      2. The ministry clarified that state governments have no powers to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner.
      3. Intelligence inputs suggest 733 Myanmar nationals have made it into Mizoram.
    International conventions and forums for Refugees 
    United Nations Refugee Convention,1951:
    1. The 1951 Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention is a United Nations multilateral treaty for the protection of refugees.
    2. The convention defines a refugee as a person who fled their homes and countries. Especially due to a well-founded fear of persecution of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
    3. The Convention also mentions people who do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals.
    4. The Convention builds on Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. The article recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.
    5. non-refoulement: The cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee should not be deported to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
    6. The 1967 protocol of the convention allowed even the non-Europeans to get refugee status. Thereby making the convention more comprehensive.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
    1. It was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes.
    2. It is a global organization for saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future. The organisation covers refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people
    Global Refugee Forum (GRF)
    1. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, and the government of Switzerland together host the GRF. 
    2. It aims to debate and discuss the response of the world’s countries to the global refugee situation.
    Refugee Problem in India
    • India does not have a separate statute for refugees. Until now India is dealing with refugees on a case-by-case basis.
    • India is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention on Refugees or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. 
      • However, India is a signatory to a number of United Nations and World Conventions on Human Rights. Such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It affirms basic rights for all persons – citizens and non-citizens in the same manner.
    • India has been generous to refugees and asylum-seekers. The two largest Refugee Influx in India are including some 62,000 Sri Lankans and some 100,000 Tibetans are directly assisted by the Government of India.
    • In late 2011, the Rohingya started to arrive in India’s Northeast following stepped-up persecution by the Myanmarese armed forces.
    • According to the Home Ministry, there are roughly 14,000 Rohingya refugees in India who are registered with the UNHCR. Apart from that, there are estimates of around 40,000 Rohingya living in India illegally.

    Read about the legal Provisions for Refugees in India

    Factors behind Refugee Problem in India
    Direct causes for Refugee Problem
    • Prevent persecution: Refugees often face a grave threat of persecution in their native countries that induce them to migrate towards safe havens like India.
    • Accommodative approach: Despite being a non-signatory to the 1951 refugee convention, India has welcomed refugees since 1947. This includes Tibetans, Bangladeshis, Afghanis etc.
    • Diversity: The multi-religious, multicultural and multi-ethnic diversity of India creates social bonds with numerous foreign citizens. For instance, it was the Tamilian Bond that induced Sri Lankan Tamils to look towards India for migration during the civil war. Similarly, the kinship between Myanmar people and Manipur people is attracting the Myanmar refugees towards India. 
    Indirect causes for Refugee Problem
    • Open Borders: This is not a direct factor but it facilitates movement towards India. Many people from Myanmar were able to enter India due to the open border.
    • A deficiency of Personnel: The government’s order to curb the refugee influx from Myanmar was not implemented effectively. As the Assam Rifles wasn’t able to effectively monitor the border with just three battalions.
    • Favourable Agreements: The majority of refugees from Myanmar are holding their position around the Free Movement Regime. It is a region of 16 km on either side, where there is unrestricted  access as per a pact between the two countries.
    • Unstable Neighbourhood countries: India’s neighbourhood countries are facing one or other problems since their formation. For example, the Civil war was now followed by Human Rights Violation in Sri Lanka. Similarly, the Bangladesh liberation war later followed by military rule, etc.
    Arguments in favour of permitting Refugee Influx
    • Humanitarian Rights: India has an implicit obligation under UDHR to protect the human rights of non-citizens as well. Thus, the refugees facing persecution threat should be allowed into India.
    • Prevent Civil War: The armed rebel groups have threatened Myanmar’s military with retaliation if the atrocities do not stop. If India returns back the Myanmarese, then more hatred will be generated that might trigger a civil war in future.
    • Responsible Regional Power: The country aspires to be regional and global power that itself calls for adopting an accommodative stance towards refugees.
    • Champion of Democracy: The world’s largest democracy has a responsibility of protecting the rights of people who put their lives in danger for upholding democracy. This was seen recently in Myanmar.
    Arguments against permitting Refugee Influx

    Refugee Influx poses many challenges to India’s internal security. This include,

    1. Social consequences of permitting refugees:
      • Refugees might create an identity crisis with the indigenous people. For example, Bangladeshi refugees in Assam and Arunachal threaten to overtake the indigenous population of the region.
      • Difficult to identify and deport them back to their country after a few years. For example, the Rohingya refugees entered through the North-East. But later they spread to all other states.
    2. Economic consequence of permitting refugees:
      • Increased financial responsibility of the state. According to the UNHCR report in 2014, there were more than 200,000 refugees in India. India at present does not have the financial capacity to satisfy all their basic needs.
      • Decreases domestic wage level and replaces the native people. Since illegal immigrants and refugees require food and shelter, they also work at very low wages in their settling areas. 
    3. Political consequence of permitting refugees:
      • Issue of terrorism: These refugees, since not accepted by governments, are vulnerable to join terror outfits for work and revenue.

    Suggestions to solve the Refugee Problem

    • Firstly, India should put forward its constructive arguments in the upcoming UNSC meeting related to the Myanmar coup. A proposal to impose global sanctions on Myanmar can be considered here.
    • Further, there is a need to formulate a comprehensive refugee policy that would provide greater clarity in differentiating between a refugee/illegal migrant.
      • A National Immigration Commission can be appointed to frame a National Migration Policy and a National Refugee Policy for India.
    • Thirdly, the government has to strengthen the Foreigners Act 1946 and also sign bilateral agreements with neighbourhood countries regarding deportation.
    • Fourthly, the states must cooperate with the centre on the refugee problem. As law and order is a state list while international relations come under the Union list.
    • Fifthly, the states should follow the MHA guidelines of 2018 to identify illegal immigrants. The MHA recommendations include,
      • Restrictions of Illegal Migrants specific locations as per provisions of law
      • Capturing their biographic and biometric particulars
      • Cancellation of fake Indian documents
      • Initiating legal proceedings including deportation proceedings as per provisions of law

    The people demanding refuge are in a vulnerable situation and see a last ray of hope in an inclusive and tolerant country. Considering this, there should be an intake of refugees but not at the cost of the native population. So, It is high time for India to define a clear-cut refugee policy. 

  • Refugees from Myanmar and India’s internal Security challenge


    Mizoram and the Indian government are taking a different stand on the current issue of refugees from Myanmar.


    After the coup in Myanmar, at least, 1,000 people from the adjoining Chin state of Myanmar crossed the border and are currently at Mizoram. Since the Chins are ethnically related to the Mizos, the Mizoram government favours providing refuge to the Chins.

    But the (Ministry of Home Affairs) MHA has issued a few directives to the States and UTs for taking measures against the influx. Further, The MHA directives advised Mizoram that India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol. 

    Mizoram, at present, is facing a dilemma between acting on humanitarian grounds or on India’s refugee policy.

    Challenges in India-Myanmar Border management:

    1. Most of the borders are without fence: India-Myanmar border is not like India’s border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The majority of the border areas are not fenced. The Assam Rifles at the India-Myanmar border is facing challenges in maintaining strict vigil.
    2. Close people to people ties: There are more than 250 villages with almost 3,00,000 populations living within 10 km of the India-Myanmar border. In 2018, both Indian and Myanmar agreed to streamline the movement of people within 16 km of the border.

    Previous such Refugee problem in Myanmar:

    • Myanmar in the past faced also Extremism, counter-insurgency, and sectarian violence. All these act as a push-factor and made Myanmar people flee into India as refugees. For example, In 2017, More than 1,200 Buddhists and Christians from Myanmar’s Arakan State fled as a refugee to Mizoram.
    • Thousands of Chins are living in Mizoram for more than 40 years now as a refugee. Similarly, in Manipur, the villages of the Kuki-Zomi have often had people crossing Myanmar border and staying in India for some time.

    Mizoram’s stand on refugee:

    •  Mizoram’s government issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to Deputy Commissioners of border districts. In that, they mentioned facilitating the entry of refugees and migrants.
    • Further, the Mizoram government mentioned giving medical care, relief and rehabilitation, and security to the refugees.

    Indian government stand on Mizoram:

    • The central government expressed displeasure to the Mizoram government. However, the Mizoram government revoked the SOPs later.
    • The North East Division of the MHA issued a letter to chief secretaries of India-Myanmar border states and Director General of Assam Rifles. In that, the MHA directed few important suggestions like,
    1. Not to allow refugees from Myanmar and take appropriate action as per law.
    2. The state governments have no powers to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner.

    Mizoram’s response to Central government:

    The Mizoram government mentions that they share close ethnic ties with the people of Myanmar. Further, they also clarified a few important things to the central government. Such as they don’t want to provide full-time citizenship or employment to the refugees. Instead, they want to provide refugee status until Myanmar returns to normalcy.

    Source: The Hindu

  • Update on “National Population Register(NPR)”

    What is the news?

    The Central Government may allow the residents to fill the National Population Register(NPR) form on their own, through the online mode.

    About National Population Register(NPR) 2021 Process:

    • During NPR 2021, the Centre may allow residents to fill NPR forms on their own through the online mode. This will be conducted a month before the start of door-to-door enumeration by Census officials.
    • After filling the form online, residents will get a reference code. Residents will give this code to the field enumerator at the time of her or his visit.
    • The details of the respondent will be displayed on a mobile application developed for conducting the Census exercise. These details will then be stored in the system.

    About National Population Register(NPR):

    • National Population Register(NPR) is a register of usual residents of the country.
    • Objective: To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
      • Usual Resident: A usual resident for NPR, is defined as a person who is residing in a local area for the past 6 months or more. Or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
    • The NPR was first collected in the year 2010 along with the house listing phase of Census 2011. It was again updated in 2015.
    • Conducted by: The process of updating NPR will be carried out under the aegis of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India.

    Legal Provisions:

    • NPR is being prepared at the local, sub-District, District, State and National level.
    • It is conducted under the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
    • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.

    Source: The Hindu

  • Issue of Refugees in India – Explained, Pointwise

    A Mizoram based, Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) petitioned the Prime Minister to impose sanctions on current military-ruled Myanmar. It is also demanding to shelter the refugees from Myanmar on Humanitarian grounds.

    However, recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs communicated to four Northeast states bordering Myanmar to maintain strict vigil and not allow anyone to enter India illegally. The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) also mentioned criteria to accept refugees in an absolutely essential situation, on humanitarian grounds. In this article, we will explain the issue of refugees in India.

    About the recent Refugee issue with Myanmar

    After the coup in Myanmar, widespread civil disobedience movements(CDM) are taking place all over Myanmar. The Military ruled Myanmar is following stringent methods to curb the protests like shooting the public, night raid on protesters home, etc. Myanmar shares a 1,643-km-long border with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

    So, Many people in Myanmar and the security forces who support the CDM started fleeing the country. The majority of these people entered India through the international borders in Mizoram and Manipur. Earlier Myanmar also wrote letters to Mizoram and asked the Indian government to return the 8 Cops who fled the country for various reasons.

    The Mizo people of Mizoram and the Kuki-Zomi communities in Manipur maintain close kinship with the people of Myanmar. Mizoram Chief Minister earlier announced that his government would provide shelter and other relief to the Myanmar refugees.

    But recently the MHA has issued few directives to the State Governments and UTs. In that, the MHA mentioned that the state governments have no powers to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner. Further, the ministry also pointed out that India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol. So the MHA wants the state governments to perform strict surveillance on borders.

    Few important terminologies:

    Who is a refugee?

    A refugee is a person who fled his country due to the risk of serious human rights violations and persecution there. These refugees have a right to international protection under the UN Refugee Convention and its protocol.

    Who is an asylum-seeker?

    An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated. An asylum seeker will turn into a refugee if the claim is evaluated and justified.

    Refugee Status Determination (RSD) is a legal process used by governments or UNHCR(UN High Commission for Refugees) to determine the refugee status of an asylum seeker under international, national or regional law.

    Who is a migrant?

    Migrants are persons moving to another country not due to direct threat or persecution but due to improving their lives. Migrants can return home if they wish(But refugees and asylum seekers cannot).

    Legal Framework for Refugees in India
    1. Article 51 of the Indian constitution: This provision states that the state shall endeavour to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another.
    2. As per the Citizenship Act of 1955, an illegal immigrant can be of two types.
      • Foreign national enters into India with valid travel documents but stays beyond their validity, or
      • Foreign national entered India without any valid travel documents.
    3. As per, the Foreigners Act, 1946, the central government have the right to deport any foreign national.
    4. Apart from that, India is also not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 UN refugee Protocol.
    5. Further, India does not have any national law on refugees.
    6. While law and order is a State subject, international relations and international borders are under the Union government. This has resulted in, both the Centre and the State government agencies, dealing with the refugee problem in India.
    7. In 2011, the Union government circulated a Standard Operating Procedure to deal with foreign nationals who claim to be refugees.
    8. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 aims to provide citizenship to those who sheltered in India for religious persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries. But the Act only covers the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
    9. So, India at present, does not have any separate law to govern refugees. The refugee matters at present dealt with on a case by case basis.
    Challenges with the refugees
    1. Social consequences of permitting refugees: By permitting refugees India might face many social consequences. Such as,
      • Refugees might create an identity crisis with the indigenous people. For example, the refugees from Bangladesh currently in Assam and Arunachal threatens to overtake the indigenous population of the region.
      • Difficult to identify and deport them back to their country after a few years. For example, the illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Rohingya refugees entered through North-East. But later they spread to all other states, like Haryana, Kerala, Telangana and UTs like Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, etc. Identifying them among more than a billion Indians is a great challenge.
    2. Economic consequence of permitting refugees:
      • Increased financial responsibility of the state. According to the UNHCR report in 2014, there were more than 200,000 refugees in India. There are millions of illegal immigrants in India. India at present does not have the financial capacity to satisfy all their basic needs.
      • Decreases wage level and replace the native people. Since illegal immigrants and refugees require food and shelter, they also work at very low wages in their settling areas.  It impacts the lives of locals, as they don’t get adequate jobs.
    3. Political consequence of permitting refugees:
      • Issue of illegal voting: The illegal migrants to avail the benefits, procure illegal national identity cards such as voter id. By procuring that, they also vote in elections and influence the outcome.
      • Issue of terrorism: These refugees, since not accepted by governments, are vulnerable to join Pakistani based terror outfits for work and revenue.
    1. India should encourage the State governments to carry out the NRC (National Register of Citizens) and identify the number of refugees and illegal immigrants.
    2. The Central Government should appoint a National Immigration Commission to frame a National Migration Policy and a National Refugee Policy for India.
    3. The government have to strengthen the Foreigners Act 1946 and also sign bilateral agreements with neighbourhood countries regarding deportation.
    4. Further, the state governments have to follow the MHA guidelines of 2018 to identify illegal immigrants. The recommendations are,
      • Restrictions of Illegal Migrants specific locations as per provisions of law
      • Capturing their biographic and biometric particulars
      • Cancellation of fake Indian documents
      • Initiating legal proceedings including deportation proceedings as per provisions of law
    5. Strengthening the borders: India also needs to strengthen the border areas as the borders are porous and the neighbourhood countries are facing political vulnerabilities constantly. India can improve border surveillance, exploring the options of border fencing and smart walls, etc.

    India is facing the issue of illegal immigrants right since independence. It is high time for India to define a clear-cut refugee policy. This will not only prevent the state governments from taking a different stand from that of the centre. But also prevent India from the large influx of illegal immigrants.

  • MHA directive on “Influx of Illegal Immigrants From Myanmar”

    What is the News?

    Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has written to states, sharing international boundaries with Myanmar. Chief Secretaries of these states (Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh) are asked to take appropriate action to check illegal influx from Myanmar into India.

    Why was this directive issued?

    • Myanmar’s military has seized full control of the country’s government. After that, it ordered a crackdown on protesters.
    • Due to this situation in Myanmar, several Myanmar citizens are illegally entering India.

    What are the other directives MHA has issued?

    • The State governments had no powers to grant refugee status to any foreigner.
    • India is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
    • The directive also recalled the guidelines addressed to all States in 2017. In the guidelines, instructions were issued to sensitize all law enforcement and intelligence agencies for taking prompt steps in identifying the illegal migrants. So that, they can initiate the deportation processes expeditiously and without delay.
    • Further, another set of guidelines were sent to States in 2018. The guideline provides for the appropriate steps for identifying illegal migrants, such as:
      • Restrictions of Illegal Migrants specific locations as per provisions of law
      • Capturing their biographic and biometric particulars
      • Cancellation of fake Indian documents and
      • Initiating legal proceedings including deportation proceedings as per provisions of law.

    About United Nations Refugee Convention,1951:

    • The 1951 Refugee Convention also known as Geneva Convention. It is a United Nations multilateral treaty for the protection of refugees
    • Who is a refugee? The convention defines a refugee as a person who fled their homes and countries due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion is a refugee.
    • The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals.
    • Non-Refoulement: The cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.

    Source: The Hindu

  • Critical Evaluation of Draft National Policy on Migrant workers

    Synopsis: NITI Aayog has released a draft National Policy on migrant workers. Though it is well-intentioned, it fails to address the policy misrepresentations which is at the root of migrant workers’ issues.


    The suffering of migrant workers during the pandemic raised awareness about their scale, vulnerability, and role in the economy. It also led to several measures taken by the central and state governments.

    Read moreDraft policy on migrant workers

    • Niti Aayog prepared an umbrella policy document for migrant labourers, including informal sector workers. 
    • The draft policy provides a perspective on recognising the scale and role of migrant workers. It states that a complete policy must be viewed from a “human rights, property rights, economic, social development, and foreign policy lens”.

    What are the features mentioned in the draft policy?

    It states that a rights-based and labour rights perspective built around the core issue of the dignity of labour must be the principle of policy. It should meet ILO commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

    1. Firstly, the document appreciates the magnitude of the migrants and their role in the economy. It also finds that the present data fails to capture the growth in their numbers. 
    2. Secondly, many sources of vulnerabilities of migrant labourers have been described in the document. It includes:
      • Their invisibility and political and social exclusion to informal work arrangements.
      • Exploitation and denial of labour rights.
      • Lack of collective voice, exclusion from social protection arrangements.
      • Formal skills, health, education, and housing.
    3. Thirdly, it identifies the transferability of social protection, voting rights, right to the city. It recognizes health, education and housing facilities as key issues to be dealt with. 
    4. Lastly, it proposes a governance structure with the Ministry of Labour. It will act as a focal point for inter-ministerial and Centre-state coordination. It also proposes mechanisms for coordinating the effort on inter-state migration. 

    What are the issues missed by the draft policy?

    The draft misses recognising and addressing many critical issues.

    1. First, gaps in development and inequalities have grown constantly in the last 3 decades. It requires corrections in the development strategy without which migration is bound to grow unchecked. The report did not acknowledge this.
    2. Second, the report fails to recognize the root cause of the uneven urban development strategy. The urban strategy has marginalised the poor and the migrants. 
    3. Third, the report has denied approaches that rely on cash transfers and special allowances. The denial of the first approach has resulted in ignoring the migrants’ and informal workers’ right to social security. 
    4. Fourth, the biggest weakness of the report is its approach towards labour rights and labour policy. It puts grievance and legal redressal above regulation and enforcement.
    5. Lastly, the labour codes which are promoting ease of business, have shifted the balance firmly in favour of capital. This weakens the bargaining power of labour and further weakens an already drained enforcement system.

    The way forward

    • The draft policy identifies the problems but fails to address the policy distortions. However, if the draft will be opened up for further discussions and feedback, it will enrich and complete what is already a significant beginning. 
  • List of “Indian diaspora members” holding key positions globally

    What is the News?

    Indiaspora, a US-based organisation released the 2021 Indiaspora Government Leaders List. The list includes Indian origin persons occupying the highest positions globally.

    About the Indiaspora Government Leaders List:

    • The list recognizes more than 200 persons of Indian origin. It includes persons, occupied leadership positions in as many as 15 countries. More than 60 of these leaders are holding Cabinet positions.
    • It includes diplomats, legislators, senior civil servants from countries with significant histories of Indian diaspora migration. Countries include Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK, and the US.
    • These persons were part of their country’s first wave of immigration. Other PIOs serving in their governments are part of subsequent waves of diaspora.
    • Significance: These leaders in the list collectively represent the population of more than 587 million. Their countries account for an estimated USD 28 trillion in GDP demonstrating the impact that these leaders are having globally.

    Source: Indian Express



  • Awareness Campaign to dispel ‘rumours’ on NPR, Census

    What is the News?

    The Union Home Ministry is planning an awareness campaign for the National Population Register(NPR) and Census.


    1. Need: As per a parliamentary committee, there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among people regarding the upcoming NPR and Census exercise.
    2. Communication Campaign: Ministry will use the right kind of messaging to tackle the miscommunication and rumours around NPR and Census. All kinds of media like social media, digital, outdoor, print, and word of mouth will be used for that.
    3. During the NPR exercise, no document is to be collected. Only the demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be updated/collected.
    4. Information Collected in Census: As per the provisions contained in Section 15 of the Census Act,1948, all individual-level information collected in Census is confidential. In Census, only aggregated data are released at various administrative levels.
    5. Postponed Census and NPR: The first phase of the Census and National Population Register(NPR) has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.

    Read Further on the postponement of Census and NPR

    Source: The Hindu

  • Socio-Economic and Caste Census: A Need for reforms

    Source: click here

    Syllabus: GS 1 – population and associated issues

    Synopsis:  Socio-Economic and Caste Census is suffering from many issues. All the issues must be removed before the next exercise is conducted.


    The Census of India is one of the largest exercises which counts and collects demographic and socio-economic information on the Indian population. It has its own history, context, and purpose.

    About the Census

    The census was a colonial exercise practiced since 1881. It has evolved with time. It is used by the government, policymakers, etc. to estimate the Indian population and its access to resources.

    • Census Commissioner for India in 1941 had pointed out that the census is a very powerful tool. But it is not a suitable tool for detailed enquiry about the population.
    • Later, many scholars also found census as not useful enough for a detailed and comprehensive understanding of a complex society.

    The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was conducted in 2011. It was the largest exercise of the listing of castes and has the potential of finding inequalities at a broader level.

    However, there were many concerns associated with it.

    What are the main apprehensions with regard to the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)?

    First, This census has the potential to solidify the caste identities of individuals.  It won’t be helpful in eliminating discrimination from society. 

    Second, SECC has not been able to cover the effects of the caste system on social structure from the local, to the regional, and to national scale. 

    Third, the data captured by the census is considered confidential under the census act of 1948. Whereas the personal data captured by SECC is open for use by Government departments. It makes the SECC data prone to use and for misuse by govt. 

    Fourth issue is the time duration between each census and the delay in the release of data after it is done.  It makes the data obsolete and unusable to estimate the present status of issues. For example, a sizeable amount of data collected under SECC has not been released even a decade later.

    What can be done?

    There should be transparency on the use of existing caste data by the government for granting or withdrawing benefits. Further, the following steps should be taken:

    • First, the collected census data should be linked with other databases of national sample surveys or the National Family Health Surveys that cover issues such as maternal health. This will help in the utilization of this data for dealing with social issues in a better way.  
        • Scholars like Mamta Murthi have suggested linking the data of surveys in the past.
    • Second, This linking of data sources that involve the Census should be inclusive and non-discriminatory.
    • Third,
    • Fourth, there should be a closer and continuous engagement between officials of the Census and SECC. It is because the Census and the SECC are projects of governance as well as of academic interest.
    • Fifth, there should be an evaluation of the previous exercise before the next SECC is conducted.

    Way forward

    Concerns regarding methodology, significance, rigidity, spreading, transparency, and privacy need to be taken seriously.

  • HelpAge India gets ‘2020 UN Population Award’

    Source: Click here

    News: HelpAge India,an NGO has received the ”2020 UN Population Award” in the institutional category for its contribution towards serving disadvantaged elderly people and raising awareness on their cause.


    • UN Population Award: It was established by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in 1981.
    • Objective: The award honours an individual and/or institution in recognition of outstanding contributions to population and reproductive health questions and to their solutions.
    • Committee: The Committee for the United Nations Population Award is composed of 10 UN Member States with United Nations Secretary General and UNFPA Executive Director serving as ex-officio members.

    Additional Facts:

    • United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA): It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.It aims to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted,every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.Headquarters: New York, United States. Report: State of World Population Report.
  • Partners in Population and Development (PPD)

    Source : Click here

    News: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has addressed the Inter Ministerial Conference by Partners in Population and Development(PPD).


    • Partners in Population and Development(PPD): It is an Intergovernmental alliance formed during the International Conference on Population and Development(ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994.
    • Aim: To expand and strengthen South-South collaboration between and among the developing countries in the field of reproductive health, population and development.
    • Members: Currently, PPD has the membership of 26 developing countries, representing more than 59% of the world’s population.
    • Secretariat: Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    Additional Facts:

    • South–South cooperation: It is a term used by policymakers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology and knowledge between developing countries also known as countries of the Global South.
    • Triangular cooperation: It is collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems as well as other forms of support.
  • The issue of Demographic Dividend in India | Nov. 10th, 2020

    In News: India can achieve the goal of self-reliance (Atma Nirbharta) by enhancing the capability of youth.

    About Demographic Dividend:
    • According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend meansthe economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure. The change in age structure is typically brought on by a decline in fertility and mortality rates.
    • India has one of the youngest populations (62.5% of its population in the age group 15-59) in an aging world.
    • The demographic dividend leads to an increased labor supply that will increase the production of goods and boost savings and investment on the other.
    • The first demographic dividend occurs during the demographic transition process, when the working-age population increases as a share of the total population, and the percentage of both young and old dependents decreases.
    • The second demographic dividend results from an increase in adult longevity, which causes individuals to save more in preparation for old age. This increase in savings can thus contribute to capital accumulation and economic growth.
    Major findings of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on demographic dividend:
    • Demographic dividend phase in India: Report says the availability of demographic dividend in India, started in 2005-06 and will last till 2055-56 based on the following facts:
      • India’s Population structure: Close to 30% of India’s population is in the age group 0-14 years. The elderly in the 60-plus age group is still a small proportion (8%) of the country’s population. The working-age group 15-59 years accounts for 62.5% of India’s population. The working-age population will reach the highest proportion of approximately 65% in 2036.
      • Regional variations in the degrees and timings of fertility decline: Reports also highlight that demographic dividend is not available in all the states at the same time because Northern states are predominantly youthful whereas southern and western states are maturing.
    Steps to be taken 
    • India has just a decade’s time to realize the youth demographic dividend. So, the country should launch an Indian Youth Guarantee (IYG) program.
      • The European Union Youth Guarantee (EU-YG) launched a similar programmein 2010 at a time when youth unemployment rates were soaring above 20%.
      • In order to ensure the gainful and productive engagement of youth, the functioning of an Indian youth Guarantee (IYG) initiative as an implementing framework with legal backing could help.
    • Youth Component Planthe plan could help in allocating budgetary resources under a separate head on the lines of the Special Component Plan for the Scheduled Castes and the Tribal Sub-Plan.
    • IYG’s goalyoung people graduating from college or losing a job either find a good quality job suited to their education and experience or acquire skills required to find a job through an internship within a fixed time period.
      • The district administration and local bodies should be incorporated by IYG for more effective outcomes.
      •  Existing youth schemes and skilling infrastructure need to be merged and modernised.
    • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)has been very effective in providing rural livelihood security and social protection yet only about 4% of youth in the labour force have been impacted by it.
    Dissatisfactory status of Indian youth

    • According to the 2018 State of Working India Report the youth unemployment rate is at least 18.3% (3.47 crore youths)
    • About 30% of youth fall under the ‘neither in employment nor in education’ category and 33% of India’s skilled youth are unemployed
    • The CMIE estimated a loss of 14 crore jobs in April alone of which 2.7 crores concerned youth.
    • 50 lakh youth are expected to be entering the workforce annually.
    • Implementation of rural youth employment program alongside MGNREGA: Even though an urban youth employment program will be a new involvement, the rural youth employment should be instituted alongside MGNREGA.
    Demographic dividend can be a demographic disaster:
    • The growth benefit of a demographic dividend is not automatic. Much depends on whether the increase in working population can be trained, and enough jobs created to employ the 10 million more people who will join the labour force every year.
    • Substitute existing jobs: While digital technologies may enable the creation of new products and more productive jobs, they may also substitute existing jobs.
    • Lack of skills: India may not be able to take advantage of these opportunities, due to a low human capital base and lack of skills.
    The youth development Index 

    •  The Youth Development Index (YDI) in India serves as an advisory and monitory tool for youth development and helps recognize priority areas, gaps, and alternative approaches specific to each State.
    • YDI can be revisited and deployed to play a vital role in crafting a region-specific IYG.
    • Lack of jobs combined with a demographic dividend will increase the share of the population that is dependent on the working population increasing the economic insecurity of the elderly, as there will be fewer people generating wealth.
    Why India should focus on demographic dividend?
    • Economic growthBetter economic growth brought about by increased economic activities due to a higher working-age population and lower dependent population. The demographic dividend has historically contributed up to 15 % of the overall growth in advanced economies.
    • To become a super power globally: Demographic dividend has historically contributed up to 15% of the overall growth in advanced economies. For instance, Japan was among the first major economies to experience rapid growth because of the changing population structure and emerge as an economic superpower.
    • Effective policymaking: Fine-tuning of the planning and implementation of schemes and programs by factoring in population dynamics is likely to yield greater socio-economic impact and larger benefits for people.
    • Human capital of the worldWith more than 65% of the working-age population, India will rise as an economic superpower, supplying more than half of Asia’s potential workforce over the coming decades.
    Various opportunities related to the demographic dividend in India:
    • Labour supplyThe first benefit of the young population is the increased labour supply, as more people reach working age. However, the magnitude of this benefit depends on the ability of the economy to absorb and productively employ the extra workers.
    • Capital formationAs the number of dependents decreases individuals save more. This increase in national savings rates increases the stock of capital in developing countries and provides an opportunity to create the country’s capital through investment.
    • Female Human capital: A decrease in fertility rates result in healthier women and fewer economic pressures at home. This provides an opportunity to engage more women in the workforce and enhance human capital.
    • Economic growth: Another opportunity is produced by increased domestic demand brought about by the increasing GDP per capita and the decreasing dependency ratio. This leads to demand-driven economic growth. Growth, education, better economic security, and a desire for more durable goods are the cause and consequence of young demographics.
    • InfrastructureIncreased fiscal space created by the demographic dividend enables the government to divert resources from spending on children to investing in physical and human infrastructure.
    • Skilled workforce: Most sectors of the Indian economy would require a more skilled workforce than the present. It would be both a challenge and an opportunity for India to provide its workforce with the required skill sets and knowledge to enable them to contribute substantially to its economic growth.
    • Migration:It presents some opportunities that can arise from having demographic changes, particularly the demographic dividend and interstate migration to overcome labor shortage in some parts.
    Challenges of demographic dividend in India:
    • Enhancing human capital: According to ASSOCHAM, only 20-30 % of engineers find a job suited to their skills. Thus, a low human capital base and lack of skills is a big challenge.
    • Low human development: India ranks 130 out of 189 countries in UNDP’s Human Development Index, which is shocking. Life expectancy at birth in India (68 years) is much lower than in other developing countries.
    • Informal economy: Informal nature of the economy in India is another challenge in reaping the benefits of demographic transition in India.
      • Nearly 216 million people are engaged in the agriculture sector, are in the informal economy where not only they earn lower wages, but with little social security and few days of employment in a year.
    • Jobless growth: There is a mounting concern that future growth could turn out to be jobless due to deindustrialization, de-globalization, the fourth industrial revolution, and technological progress. As per the NSSO Periodic, Labour Force Survey 2017-18, India’s labour force participation rate for the age-group 15-59 years is around 53%, that is around half of the working-age population is jobless.
    • Asymmetric demographyThe growth in the working-age ratio is likely to be concentrated in some of India’s poorest states and the demographic dividend will be fully realized only if India is able to create gainful employment opportunities for this working-age population.
    • Issue of tilted sex ratio: Declining female labour force participation: According to data from the International Labour Organization and World Bank, India’s female labor force participation rates have fallen from 34.8% in 1990 to 27% in 2013. Without women’s participation, India can’t dream of reaping the demographic dividends.
    Way Forward:
    • For states with less scope:
      • UNFPA backs a differential approach in forward-looking policymaking and program planning to join the demographic dividend opportunity in those states where the windows for opportunity are closing soon.
      • The focus in the states where the demographic dividend window is yet to open will have to be threefold such as addressing harmful practices such as child marriage, access to quality sexual and reproductive health services and family planning services to all, and provisioning of health, education, life, and vocational skills to all the young people.
    • Good governance: Effective avenues for citizen input, well-functioning institutions, respect for the rule of law, low level of corruption, respect for property rights, the sanctity of contracts, etc. are important aspects of good governance that enable the equal opportunity to all.
    • Building human capital: Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs, and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating a more inclusive society.
    • Skilling: India’s labour force needs to be empowered with the right skills for the modern economy. Government has established the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) with the overall target of skilling/ up-skilling 500 million people in India by 2022.
    • Academic-industry collaboration: Will help to synchronize modern industry demands and learning levels in academics.
    • Education: Enhancing educational levels by properly investing in primary, secondary, and higher education. India, which has almost 41% of the population below the age of 20 years, can reap the demographic dividend only if with a better education system.
    • Health: Improvement in healthcare infrastructure would ensure a higher number of productive days for the young labor-force, thus increasing the productivity of the economy. The success of schemes like Ayushman Bharat and the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) is necessary. Also, the nutrition level in women and children needs special care with effective implementation of the Integrated Child Development (ICDS) program.
    • Job Creation: The nation needs to create ten million jobs per year to absorb the addition of young people into the workforce. Promoting businesses’ interests and entrepreneurship would help in job creation to provide employment to the large labor force.
    • Urbanisation: Schemes such as Smart City Mission and AMRUT needs to be effectively and carefully implemented.
  • What is demographic dividend?

    In News: India can achieve the goal of self-reliance (atma nirbharta) by enhancing the capability of youth.

    About Demographic Dividend:
    • According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend means the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure. The change in age structure is typically brought on by a decline in fertility and mortality rates.
    • India has one of the youngest populations (62.5% of its population in the age group 15-59) in an ageing world.
    • The demographic dividend leads to an increased labour supply that will increase the production of goods and boost savings and investment on the other.
    • The first demographic dividend occurs during the demographic transition process, when the working-age population increases as a share of the total population, and the percentage of both young and old dependents decreases.
    • The second demographic dividend results from an increase in adult longevity, which causes individuals to save more in preparation for old age. This increase in savings can thus contribute to capital accumulation and economic growth.
    Major findings of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on demographic dividend:
    • Demographic dividend phase in India: Report says availability of demographic dividend in India, started in 2005-06 and will last till 2055-56 based on the following facts:
      • India’s Population structure: Close to 30% of India’s population is in the age group 0-14 years. The elderly in the 60-plus age group are still a small proportion (8%) of the country’s population. The working age group 15-59 years’ accounts for 62.5% of India’s population. The working-age population will reach the highest proportion of approximately 65% in 2036.
      • Regional variations in the degrees and timings of fertility decline: Reports also highlight that demographic dividend is not available in all the states at the same time because Northern states are predominantly youthful whereas southern and western states are maturing.