The Economic Survey 2019 has suggested an increase in retirement age in a phased manner, in view of the changing demography in the country. While India has a burgeoning younger population, the balance is set to change soon, especially in states that have a low birth rate. The survey says that in the 2030s, some states will "start transitioning to an ageing society".
"Policy makers need to prepare for ageing. This will need investments in health care as well as a plan for increasing the retirement age in a phased manner," the report said.
The eye-opener is the fact that the population in the under-19 age bracket has peaked and in the coming years, the number of school-going children will drop. In view of this, the report has also suggested merging or consolidating the existing schools instead of opening new ones.
"It will surprise many readers to learn that the population in the 0-19 age bracket has already peaked due to sharp declines in total fertility rates across the country," the survey report read.
"The southern states, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra now have fertility rates well below the replacement rate."
The states that traditionally have a high birth rate -- Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh -- are also experiencing significant slowdown, the report said.
From an annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent during 1971-81, the population growth has dropped to an estimated 1.3 per cent between 2011-16.
Population is now growing below 1 per cent in the southern states as well as West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam and Himachal Pradesh.