News: The Population Foundation of India, a non-profit, recently commissioned a study ‘Investing in Adolescent Development’. It examines current interventions in key aspects of adolescent development in India, including physical and mental health, education and prevention of early marriage.
Who are the adolescents?
There is no universally accepted definition of adolescents. But, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of India, adolescents belong to persons aged 10−19 years.
India– It has the highest adolescents population in the world. According to the 2011 census, the country is home to over 250 million adolescents.
Globally- There are over 1.2 billion adolescents globally, which accounts for about 16% of the world’s population.
What are the findings of the study?
Earnings: It found that an additional year of education in India increased the monthly income of individuals by about 7.02% on average. Also, every rupee invested towards the completion of school education is expected to bring an economic benefit between Rs 4.50 and Rs 8.20 in terms of the future earnings of each individual.
Returns: It found significant disparity in the returns to education between males and females. Returns were higher for females. However, their average wages were lower than that of males.
Contributors: The study reveals that health and education as the important contributors to adolescent development. Early investments in these fields are more efficient in preventing the social problems than investing later on to resolve them. The report also outlined the investments required e.g., INR 8,134 Crore to address the gaps in India’s mental healthcare for adolescents, and INR 3,000 Crore per year to provide iron and folic acid tablets to school-going adolescent boys and girls and out-of-school adolescent girls.
Source: This post is based on the article “Why should India invest in its adolescent population? New study has an answer” published in the Down to Earth on 16th November 2021.