One hour a day

Don’t wait any longer. Don’t believe in the myth of “one day when everything will be different.” Do what you love to do, what you are waiting to do, what you’ve been born to do,now.

Spend at least one hour a day doing whatever you simply love to do-what you deeply feel you need to do, in your heart.

At the end of the day when you go to bed you’ll acknowledge that you’ve lived your life with more courage, creativity and giving.

Demographic dividend: window of opportunity for prosperous Nepal

According to UNFPA, demographic dividend is the economic growth potential that can results from shifts in population’s age structure, mainly when the share of working age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older). Basically this is the period where country can reap utmost economic development if it could cultivate the right policy.

Most of the Asian developed country like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Honkong had invested in education, health, labor market opportunities for woman during their period of demographic dividend. Similarly Nepal needs to invest in this sector to reap the benefits of this period in future.

After 1980, there had been rapid declination in total fertility rate, population growth rate, crude death rate and significant increment in life expectancy and this led to demographic dividend. This demographic window of opportunity started from 1992 and will lasts till 2047. At present we are in 2019 and we have successfully wasted 27 years and we have now 28 years remaining. If Nepal couldn’t utilize this period then it will get older before it gets prosperous.

Population of Nepal in 2019 is estimated to be 29.85 million and if we look the population pyramid below it is clear that majority of population is working age population. Also in that pyramid we can behold the woman population occupying the majority and thus in order to reap utmost benefits government must need to invest in policy that could empower woman.

As youth are said to be the future, government must focus on investing in them so that our future remains secured. If we observe the pyramid then the majority of population is youth and they are the one who could actually help in reaping dividend. Therefore government must initiate the policy that could possibly control youth drain.

The population from o to 20 is at peak and this is particularly that phase of life where they need to be shaped correctly. This age group determines how the future of nation would look alike. Government needs greater investment in health and education targeting this age group. There is lots of evidence in the world that economic achievements are linked to educational attainment. Therefore investment in education is inevitable for economic development. Also talking about education, Nepal needs educational reform as dropout rates are increasing day by day. This existing education system might lead to demographic disaster instead of dividend.

Nepal’s working age population is around 18 million in 2019 and by 2047 it would be around 25 million. If this population is not addressed with proper policy and its implementation then this demographic bulge will be burden for economy. Furthermore it will result in outmigration and will also lead to conflict.

 The declining dependency rate is taking country to such a unique state and if this phase is utilized well then prosperity will not end up in slogan. From the graph below it is clear that after 2047 the working age population will downturn gradually leading Nepal to aged society. Nepal will transit into an ageing society by 2028 and an aged society by 2054.

Nepal has now only 28 years remaining to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend. Though it is short span of time but if appropriate policies and work plans are formulated and implemented immediately, the country could succeed in acquiring the best out of the population for the economy and its citizen.

To attain prosperous Nepal, government really needs to focus on different areas. Among many some of the most to do areas are explained below:

Education: new analysis of the demographic dividend at the International Institute for applied System Analysis suggests that in most settings the demographic dividend is an education dividend. So to reap the utmost benefits this sector should be the target area of government.

But in case of Nepal, condition of education is not being better.

In 2064 B.S there were around 1.3 million student enrolled in grade 1 and in 2076 B.S only 290 thousand students appeared in grade 12 examination. Almost 1 million students left school and these students are the working age population after 4-5 years. Will this population be productive to reap dividend? Its high time government really needs to consider about reforming education system.

Around 10% of total budget is only allocated in education sector and also this budget is not being distributed properly. Government must double the investment in education and reform the education system to attain the dividend of this demographic population.

Youth migration: economy survey shows that around 4.3 million populations are working overseas and most of them are underpaid. This survey shows that every year 500 thousand jobs need to be generated but only 50 thousand jobs are being generated and thus due to unemployment youths are migrating abroad. Though we are getting remittance as compensation but this remittance is also not being utilized in productive way. In order to beget demographic dividend government must focus on creating employment and enhancing entrepreneurship.

Woman empowerment: if we look at the pyramid above it is clear that in working age population there are more woman than men. In context of Nepal, many consider woman shouldn’t work and also there is tradition of early marriage. Government must bring and implement policy which could end such a myth. Moreover woman education must be taken under priority and also provide environment for safe working place. If woman are empowered than there would be late marriage and this would eventually lead in lengthening the demographic dividend window period.

Early childhood development: if we observe the graph above than it is clear that after 2047 there would be more aged people and this notified us that there would be more dependency ratio. Today’s children are the future working age population and they need to be more productive than their parents in order to support the substantially greater no of elderly dependent population.

Thus government must focus on children in order to safeguard the future. The major investment needs to be made in their health, nutrition and education.

In nutshell, the relevant priorities of Nepal at the current juncture should be reforming education system, focus on woman empowerment, expanding work opportunities for youth, improve maternal and child health. Moreover if government doesn’t focus on these aspects then demographic dividend will turn out to be demographic disaster. If Nepal couldn’t reap utmost benefits in this phase then it will get older before it gets prosperous.