Saturday, November 16, 2013

Demographic Dividend or Population Problem - Keeping them safe...

The third thing we spoke about in managing 14% of the world's population on 2% of area, was their physical safety.
Luckily for us, the National Crime Records Bureau has put all the statistics online - from 1953 onwards!

In addition to the numbers we see on this site, and their relevant correlations with the population, economic disparity and other factors, there is one more variable that we need to consider - the incidence of reporting. We know that the state of crime is bad in India. We know that the number of undertrial cases pending in our courts is staggering. We dont even need to see the numbers to know that in spite of trying our best, we as a country do NOT have the infrastructure required to :
  1. Proactively predict and prevent crime
  2. Find the guilty after the crime has been committed
  3. Take the accused through a fair judicial process within "reasonable time" (Please note, we are not using the word "quickly" here. Just reasonable time, and even that is too much to ask for)
  4. Once there is a verdict, one way or another, there is an administration system - ensuring that prisons are places that humans can inhabit, ensuring the parole system and where relevant, the rehabilitation system.
We simply have failed on each one of these necessary and vital actions of the state.

Irrespective of what we might think is the "ideal" population for a country like India, we do know that the current population levels are far, far above that "ideal" number.

At current numbers, we are unable to provide basic citizenship amenities. Governance, though an important part of the equation, is NOT the sole culprit.

What we have here is a classic situation of too few resources and too many claimaints to those resources. Any government can only try to optimise the allocation of resources, but the challenges we put to our governments are huge. And our ask is quite simply, impossible. At these numbers, we are tearing at the seams and about to burst.

In the next post, we will discuss nother assumption that one often hears in the Demographic Dividend context - more people mean more jobs and higher income.