ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coping with Demographic Transition

India's demographic diversity may well offer a way out of the emerging problems of demographic transition that are besetting developed countries, like ageing and labour shortages. But this needs long-term and innovative plans and programmes for providing social security and facilitating labour mobility.

We have just completed the second survey in the series of National Family Health Surveys and most of the results have been published and widely disseminated. The initial results of the first census of the new millennium have also been published. The Sample Registration System puts out regularly the vital statistics of the country and of its various states. Demographers who have examined these statistics are beginning to feel that the major demographic problem of high fertility is on the way out. Necessary momentum has been created which our policies and programmes can now sustain and guide the transition to its desired end.

It is not unusual that when one problem is solved another pops up. This is the case with demographic transition also. The new problem that is raising its head is ageing, an inevitable consequence of fertility and mortality decline. Much is known about the extent and nature of the ageing problem. I would like to look at it from a different perspective. I would like to put forth the view that the lag in demographic transition as between geographic regions of the world, and among regions within national boundaries could help very much in coping with the problems of ageing. In the context of sustained below replacement-fertility rate in much of the developed world, the delayed demographic transition in India and several other developing countries, could make a positive contribution to the solution of the ageing problem in the developed countries.

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