21.4         ndian   onom
     the event receding, too—the opportunity must                   the per capita income levels of the three
     not be missed.                                                 countries.
     Turning point: Global demographics saw a                  (ii) India’s WA to NWA ratio is likely to peak
     turning point in 2016—for the first time since                 at 1.7, a much lower level than Brazil and
     1950, the combined WA population (age group                    China, both of which sustained a ratio
     15–59 years) of the advanced countries declined.               greater than 1.7 for at least 25 years.
     As per the projections of the UNO, for the next          (iii) India will remain close to its peak of WA
     three decades China and Russia will see their WA               and NWA ratio for a much longer period
     declining by over 20 per cent. However, India                  than other countries.
     seems to be in a demographic sweet spot with its WA        The ‘distinctive’ demographic pattern of India
     population—projected to grow by a third over the     has a cause and consequence for it—
     same period. Economic research of the last two
     decades has suggested that the higher growth rates   Cause: All these countries started the post-World
     in East Asia were driven by demographic changes.     War II era with roughly the same very high total
     Countries with large WA populations appear to        fertility rates (TFRs). In China and Korea, TFR
     benefit more (due to higher economic dynamism)       then declined rapidly to below-replacement levels
     as younger populations:                              (less than two children per female), causing the
               are more entrepreneurial (adding to        share of WA population to rise until the early
               productivity growth);                      2000s, then to fall as ageing began to set in. In
                                                          India, however, the decline in TFR has been
               tend to save more, which may also lead
                                                          much more gradual.
               to favourable competitiveness effects; and
               due to growth, they have a larger fiscal   Consequence: India should not expect to see growth
               base, fewer dependents and government      surges or growth decelerations of the magnitudes
               to support.                                experienced by the East Asian countries due to
                                                          demographic dividend—and might be able to
           Theory suggests that the specific variable
                                                          sustain high levels of growth for a longer time.
     driving the demographic dividend is the ratio
     of the working age to non-working age (NWA)          Spatial differentiation: India has a large
     population.                                          ‘heterogeneity’ among the states in their
                                                          demographic profile and evolution—there is
     inDiA’s DemogrAPhics                                 a clear divide between peninsular India (West
     India’s distinctiveness: The comparison of the       Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and
     WA/NWA ratio between 1970 and 2015 (based            Andhra Pradesh) and the hinterland states (Madhya
     on the projections of the UNO) for India, Brazil,    Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar):
     Korea and China illustrates three distinct features            The peninsular states exhibit a pattern that
     about Indian demographic profile—having                        is closer to China and Korea, with sharp
     implications for the growth outlook of India and               rises and declines in the WA population.
     its states:                                                    The difference, of course, is that the WA
           (i) India’s demographic cycle is about 10–30             ratio of most of the peninsular states will
               years behind that of the other countries.            peak at levels lower than seen in East Asia
               This indicates that India has next few               (West Bengal comes closest to Korea’s
               decades as opportunity to catch up to                peak because of its very low TFR).