Karnataka

Demography can deliver dividends if used wisely: B.L. Santosh

B.L. Santhosh speaking at the Mangaluru Lit Fest on Saturday.

B.L. Santhosh speaking at the Mangaluru Lit Fest on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: H.S. Manjunath

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Harnessing the potential depends on individual, society and government

Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santosh on Friday said making demography to pay dividends is in the hands of three people — the individual, society and the system (government), as witnessed in Japan and China.

In a dialogue with journalist, Ajith Hanumakkanavar, on “Demography - dividend or danger” on the second day of the Mangaluru Lit Fest, Mr. Santosh said it could deliver dividends if the potential is harnessed wisely, or it could be dangerous if not handled properly.

India attained the threshold of demographic advantage last year with 57% of the population in the employable age group of 15-65 years, he said.

Skill India, Make in India

Responding to a question as to whether the demography is equipped with education and health to deliver dividends, Mr. Santosh replied in the affirmative and said the only concern was in higher education where the enrolment was less with near universalisation of primary and secondary education. The Skill India and Make in India campaigns by the central government are paying results by adequately equipping the demography to deliver results.

To boost the higher education sector, the government is opening IITs, IIMs and All India Institutes of Medical Sciences with one hundred medical seats in every State despite criticism that such a move could dilute the concepts of such institutes of national fame.

Drop in infant mortality

On the health front, the infant mortality rate has been witnessing drastic reduction. On the other hand, inability of the employable population to work because of health reasons, including obesity and diabetes, is a cause for concern, he said.

The government, Mr. Santosh said has decided to open one medical college for every three Lok Sabha constituencies with 100 medical seats and 300-bed hospitals. This should address health concerns, he said.

Stating that it is the government’s responsibility to provide necessary facilities and equitable distribution of jobs, Mr. Santosh said the Centre has identified 131 districts across the country, including Raichur and Yadgir in Karnataka, that are below national average in education, health and employment. The response has been very good, he said.

Uttar Pradesh has adopted a policy where one district is encouraged to specialise one product thereby encouraging small and medium as well as ancillary industries in all the districts, Mr. Santosh said.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 10:30:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/demography-can-deliver-dividends-if-used-wisely-bl-santosh/article30125776.ece

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